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June 24, 2011 / V A Nichols

Birmingham’s East Lake Park Canada geese captured, killed

Birmingham’s East Lake Park Canada geese captured, killed as threat to nearby airport’s planes

Published: Friday, June 24, 2011, 11:22 AM     Updated: Friday, June 24, 2011, 11:26 AM
Thomas Spencer -- The Birmingham News By Thomas Spencer — The Birmingham News
Canada geese.JPGTwo Canada geese cruise a Birmingham area pond in this file photo. (The Birmingham News/Joe Songer)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — A flock of about 250 Canada geese were rounded up Thurs­day morning from East Lake Park because they were deemed a potential hazard to aviation at the nearby Birmingham Interna­tional Airport.

Toni Herrera-Bast, a spokes­man for the Birmingham Airport Authority, said the geese were captured and killed. “They were handed to a processor who was going to take them to a United Way food bank,” she said.

Herrera-Bast said the removal was done in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serv­ice and federal aviation authori­ties.

A pair of Ross’s geese, which are rare in the state, were left at the park.

“We did round up some geese. The resident Canada geese were removed humanely and in compliance with all fed­eral state and local rules,” Her­rera­Bast said.

Canada geese are plentiful and large and have been known to cause problems for planes. It was a collision with a flock of Canada geese that brought own a US Airways jet on the Hudson River.

“They are a potential hazard,” Herrera-Bast said.

The removal project caused concern in the birding community because of the presence of the Ross’s geese.

“We were aware of the single pair of Ross geese.

They were not harassed or harmed,” Herrera-Bast said.

Herrera-Bast said the action against the Canada geese was taken only after other means were exhausted. The airport’s wildlife management program had taken measures such as disturbing the birds, shooting fireworks and planting grasses at the airport that the geese don’t like.

Though they were once in decline, Canada geese populations have rebounded to such an extent that they are now the most common waterfowl in North America. In many circumstances, they are now considered pests.

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