Goslings in Prospect Park, filmed by Seth Kaplan
According to everyone’s favorite, the New York Times, 400 Canada geese* that lived in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park were euthanized last Thursday. I am not kidding! They GASSED them! Sick! Then people going to the park were like, WTF happened to the geese? Finally the city was like, we totally killed 400 of them and didn’t tell you. Why did they kill them? Because they are worried the geese will fly into engines and crash planes. All the fear comes from a plane that had to land in the Hudson because of geese in January 2009. But guess what! THOSE geese were not any of the resident geese! According to local teacher and my new favorite person, Seth Kaplan: “It’s really important to remember that the Canada geese that collided with Flight 1549 were tested by researchers at the Smithsonian and they were not populations that lived in our area,” and they say most of the Prospect Park geese are probably residents. Apparently there are two types of the Canada geese: ones that fly north for the summer and ones that are permanent city-folk, but they can’t really tell them apart. So they just kill them all.
Because I am a genius scientist, I did some research on “bird strikes”—that’s what they call it when a bird hits a plane. That makes it sound like some Disney movie about a rag-tag team of military birds. Slate has a great article about “Everything you need to know about bird strikes, water landings, and other airplane emergencies.” They say that generally, nothing happens when a bird hits a plane. According to birdstrike.org, “Over 9,000 bird and other wildlife strikes were reported for USA civil aircraft in 2009,” of which 31 percent were geese.
[Megan Rascal note: I had to edit this whole part because I totally fucked up the data analysis! My bad] There were 9,000 wildlife strikes but an actual crash from a bird strike is very rare. Since 1955, there have been 54 crashes due to bird strikes. So in one year there were 2,790 bird strikes by geese, but in 55 years, there were only 54 crashes (due to bird strikes in general, not just geese).
I don’t want anyone to die from bird strikes, but why are birds so high on the list of priorities when it comes to airplane safety? There are also other things they can do besides gassing 400 geese. One theory for an increasing number of bird strikes is that planes are quieter than they use to be; they should make planes really loud! There are also other methods to reducing the goose population, like not allowing all the goose eggs to hatch. They can find the eggs and paint them with corn oil, which stops the eggs from hatching. Gassing 400 geese just seems like the last solution on earth! I know geese are mean, but they have a right to live in peace.
*Did you know it’s Canada geese and not Canadian geese? Blow my mind why don’t you!