Local News

Geese removed from Durham neighborhood

Posted July 19, 2011

— Sanitation and safety concerns prompted a Durham housing association to ask the federal government to remove wild geese from a neighborhood lake where the birds made a home.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday euthanized 20 of the approximately 100 animals in the Woodlake subdivision in southwest Durham after residents complained their neighborhood had become overpopulated.

The Canada geese were a nuisance, residents say, leaving feces in yards, walking trails, lakes and other public areas, including the neighborhood pool.

According to the USDA, a goose can produce up to a half-pound of waste a day.

In some instances, the territorial animals have also become violent, charging at children and pets.

"I knew they were here, but they have multiplied so much that I think that's the problem," said Charlotte Maynor, a 16-year resident of the Woodlake neighborhood.

Because the geese are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Act, the Woodlake Housing Association had to get a permit from the USDA to have the birds euthanized.

Geese removed from Durham neighborhood Geese removed from Durham neighborhood

John Stone, president of Community Association Services, which manages the Woodlake Homeowners Association, says the goal is not to eliminate the geese entirely but to control the population.

"Health and safety issues were foremost in the board's decision," he said in a statement. "Please understand that this program addresses overpopulation, not elimination."

Still, some people who live in the area are upset that the geese were killed.

"I refuse to believe that all of these people know that their complaint got these animals killed," said Denise Reaves, who walks her dog around the neighborhood lake every morning. "I feel like if at least a third of them are upset about it, then maybe it won't happen again."

Contacting the USDA was a last resort.

The neighborhood previously tried to plant tall grass around the lake to block the geese from entering yards.

It also urged residents not to feed the animals, since feeding them can encourage them to stay around.

Another action was treating geese eggs in the spring to keep them from hatching.

The USDA says that as of 2006, there were 97,000 Canada geese in the state.

The population has increased exponentially over the past 40 years. In 1970, there were approximately 250,000 resident Canada geese in the U.S. By 2010, that number jumped to 3.5 million.


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  • here2defend Jul 22, 2011

    I walk daily among geese/goslings and never encountered an attack. When threatened, their honk/hiss is worse than their bite. Geese are probably the most human like and intelligent birds on this earth. Anyone afraid of geese is probably afraid of his/her own shadow. Geese will be threatened by dogs and kids so responsible parents/dogowners will keep kids and dogs at a distance. The geese are federally protected birds so anyone intentionally injuring these birds without the proper permits is liable for major penalties. And I strongly urge anyone who witness such mean spirited incident to report it. Unfortunately man made wetlands are becoming a deathtrap for geese. If you don't like waterbirds you shouldn't live near the water. A solution to the "dirt" problem would be to drain all man made wetlands and to prohibit future development. Don't expect man made wetland developments to be sterilized environments. People who don't like waterbirds shouldn't live near the water.

  • here2defend Jul 21, 2011

    Did the HOA get the proper permits and if so who paid for the killings? If this was at taxpayer expense, I don't want my tax dollars supporting wildlife abuse.
    There is no more justification for this killing, than there is to kill dogs/puppies that defecate on the grounds. The HOA succeeded in demonizing these geese just as Hitler succeeded in demonizing the Jews.Where is the sanity here? This just doesn't pass the sanity test. Geese are supposed to be federally protected birds.
    The point is that this goose family of 20 would have flown away in just a few days when the goslings would have matured and the adults would have grown back their "flying wings". Wildlife officials should have known this basic fact. Instead of waiting for them to fly away in a few days, they "mean spirited" them into the gas chamber after drugging them. Go figure? Is the fox watching the chicken coup? To understand goose behavior rent the DVD "Fly Away Home" - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116329/

  • bmg379 Jul 21, 2011

    Geese protect their young better than alot of people parents do,the ones near chic fil a on capital had a bunch of babies around march and were ushering them out of the road when they walked toward it.

  • ncbobby Jul 21, 2011

    For all those that disagree with this action, I would like to see your comments if you, your pet, or your child has ever been charged by one of these birds. If walking within 20 to 30 feet of these birds is met with hissing, spitting, and charging recently.
    I live in this community and enjoy seeing some of these birds along with the heron and the ducks. However, they were out of control this year. There were dozens of new geese born that have grown up this summer compounding the problem. I disagree with the killing but a few found their end recently at the hands of vehicles. Something had to give.
    This is not a high society subdivision. It is a normal, middle class neighborhood. I am glad to be a part of an association that actually does something rather than collect dues with little return.

  • BreBoy Jul 20, 2011

    They are pretty, until you see one attack a family member or friend whose only wrong doing was going to her car to leave work. She was at least 25 feet from the nest. Until you've seen them in action, you don't understand. I didn't. In this case the person knew the nest was there and was making a loop around the nest instead of walking by the nest to get in her car. Apparently, father to be didn't think 25 feet was far enough away. (At least he was doing more to protect his kids than some human parents around here do.) Goose #2 isn't sanitary either, and they do #2 a lot! It is known to carry e.coli and salmonella and possibly other bacteria. For these reasons, the population has to be managed. Would be nice though if they could be used to feed some hungry folks. Good eating, I understand.

  • kayakradar Jul 20, 2011

    Ken is right. If the geese are euthanized, they should go to some good use. It's not published in the news too often, but in this economy there are a lot of people who would welcome a nice free range, organic, goose dinner. Relocating geese only works in Disney movies.

  • John Sawtooth Jul 20, 2011

    Well, if we do *nothing* to reduce the non-migrating Canada goose populations, it *will* get fixed - most likely by coyotes.

    That should be a bunch of fun. You can't kill off coyotes, all you can do is remove their food source so they go away. Any idea how many suburban food sources a group of coyotes can find ? 8-)

    What we have now is non-native, non-migrating geese who are often in man-made green spaces. Sure, I think they're pretty too, but that doesn't make them sanitary, or a good part of their ecological habitat.

    By one method or another, their population must be managed. The longer we allow unbalanced things like this to linger, the more terrible the eventual correction will be.

  • bandl32 Jul 20, 2011

    Hurray! Now that no more geese are being killed, it would be great to know that they are being fed contraceptives in their food to help thin out the population. This is something to think of when it comes to deer, doves, boars, etc. Pass the thought on to USDA. Thanks

  • MrX-- Jul 20, 2011

    These animals are in no way endangered. The Wiki page on them lists them as of "least concern." It should be legal to have them removed without any sort of permit at all.

    As far as people not wanting people to get rid of the pests, I suspect those same people would have no problem with killing animals that were causing them endless headaches. Imagine if pigeons started sleeping on your car every night and leaving lots of droppings, I suspect you would be all for some sort of population control for the offenders.

    Canadian geese are becoming like pigeons were a few years ago in downtown Raleigh.

  • NC_Full-O-Bigots Jul 20, 2011

    If you are going to kill the geese, at least bring them to the Durham homeless shelter and have a goose feast for them. YUM!