Inwood’s North Cove Fund-Drive

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inwood’s north cove is a weak environment,
and so it still requires human support to support wildlife

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Goal : ‘boot-strap’ (rescue) a virtual, self-sustainable,
perfectly contiguous & diversified ‘NYC Sanctuary Complex’

Protected under Stewardship Authority
Inwood’s North Cove, Sherman Creek, Three Sister Coves
Internationally Protected Tidal-Estuary Fly-Way Complex requires rescue

Riverkeeper : Why We Swim in the Hudson River— Balancing Risks with Knowledge


water quality header
Why We Swim in the Hudson River—
Balancing Risks with Knowledge

greg O'Mullan swimming in the Hudson
Riverkeeper science partner Dr. Gregory O’Mullan takes a dip in the Hudson.

Recent news has focused attention on sewage contamination in the Hudson River, but the alarming headlines about a new study of antibiotic-resistant bacteria should not make us turn our backs on the Hudson.

The study, by CUNY Queens College and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in collaboration with Riverkeeper, only adds another reason that you should be well informed before enjoying river activities, using available resources like Riverkeeper’s water quality data to help you make choices about where and when to enter the water. The antibiotic-resistant bacteria were found where raw sewage is found—and Riverkeeper’s data, along with some common sense, can help you avoid contact with potentially harmful pathogens found in sewage.

“Ultimately we hope to rid the river of sewage pollution entirely, but we aren’t there yet. The cold, hard fact is the Hudson still suffers from sewage pollution, and until that changes you need to be educated before entering the water. But that doesn’t mean that you should stop recreating,” writes John Lipscomb, Riverkeeper patrol boat captain and Water Quality Program Director, in a new blog post, Swim in the Hudson River—But Swim Smart. “You wouldn’t avoid swimming on sunny days because some clouds, somewhere, produce lightning. You wouldn’t avoid swimming in a quiet sandy cove because some other water has treacherous rocks and currents. Neither should you avoid swimming where and when water tends to be free of pollution, just because pollution exists at other times or locations.”

An author of the new study, and longtime Riverkeeper science partner, Dr. Gregory O’Mullan, agreed. “Having studied the river for a number of years there are places (near CSO or wastewater treatment outfalls) and times (especially following rain) that I would avoid contact,” he said in a Q&A on the study. “But there are also lots of places where I would swim and where I have swum. Last week I swam in the river near Saugerties. It was a hot day and it felt great to get into the river.”

Riverkeeper advocates for widespread and frequent testing of the water, timely public notification of sewage discharges, forecasting to inform the public about future water conditions—and ultimately the infrastructure improvements necessary to rid our waterways of sewage altogether.

Read more on the subject:

Join NowRiverkeeper is a member-supported watchdog organization dedicated to defending the Hudson River and its tributaries and protecting the drinking water supply of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents. Contribute to this vital work, become a membertoday.

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NYC, Inwood’s North Cove Wildlife Sanctuary

FOUNDER – JAMES [ BirdMan of Inwood ] CATALDI Mr. Cataldi is a licensed by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation as a New York State Wildlife Rehabilitator, and is authorized to capture, transport, rehabilitate, and release injured displaced and orphaned New York State Wildlife, and works closely with its federal partners licensed by the department of the interior for federally protected wildlife. Mr. Cataldi has received years of training and support from the principals of the Wild Bird Fund.Former Professional Wall Street Business Career-Prior Accomplishments Authorized Technology Vendor of (Citicorp: 1985-2001); (General Electric: 91-2001); (Deutsche Bank – 98-9/11/2001) Was the first AT&T Information Systems VAR: 1981- 83 non-Bell Labs or Western Electric affiliate.Prior to the World Trade disaster: 25 years in the field, operation technology businesses, and in conducting R&D and practicing in multi disciplinary fields of finance, telecommunications and software intensive hardware systems. Accumulated extensive experience in requirements analysis, design and development, deployment and operations support including training of mission critical production systems. Acquired expertise in multiple inter disciplinary computer languages and platforms specializing in Specification Development; Expert Systems (AI); private R&D in elemental logical structures.

Cataldi performed extensive work involving quantitative analytical modeling of financials/ sensitivities (origination, valuation, corporate forecasting, and operational risk management). Involved in all aspects of the product development life cycle (waterfall, modified waterfall and MIT RAD and Microsoft RAD), with enhanced expertise in risk management (theory and practice).

Highlights Correspondence; meetings and project development with/ for a new Mr. Ken Williamson, head of NASA’s 3,600 Software Engineers At the Marshal Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Al. (Advanced Stealth Anomalies Detection Models) -1993- and Formal Invitations from the senior advisor for high performance communications and computers for the White House (Clinton Administration: Dr. Levy) to speak on proprietary fractal software models based on advanced stochastic quantum geometry: theory and problem application -1992. Conducted extensive work in Mathematical Methods of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems and in developing and refining business planning, long-term strategic planning, short-term tactical implementation, business process re-engineering, risk mitigation.

Manhattan WetLands & WildLife Association
North Cove, Sherman Creek, & “Three Sister Coves”
Stewardship – Science – Rehabilitation – Restoration – Education  

International-Flyway Tidal-Estuary Restoration
Four-Cove Complex on Harlem River, NYC, NY, USA
U.S. EPA Endorses Steward : James A. Cataldi “Birdman of Inwood”

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INCove Status – 07-21-2013


INCove Status – 07-21-2013

Must Cats Die So Birds Can Live?


Must Cats Die So Birds Can Live?

Inside an animal-lover civil war.

By Jessica Pressler
Published Jun 9, 2013

Illustration by Bigshot Toyworks

All winter, Peter Marra’s children had been pestering him to get a cat. It was ironic, he thought as he walked up the snowy path to his modern farmhouse in Takoma Park, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. Especially now, when the country’s cat lobby had him pegged as the Josef Mengele of felines. In his years as a research scientist at the Smithsonian Zoo’s Migratory Bird Center, Marra had produced many studies on different threats to bird life, like glass buildings and wind turbines, but none received as much attention as those featuring cats. Since its publication in the January issue of the journalNature Communications, his team’s paper, “The Impact of Free-Ranging Domestic Cats on Wildlife of the United States,” which placed the number of birds felled by felines at 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion per year, had been picked up by most major media outlets, including the New York Times. Marra was proud, although when he saw the front-page headline, “That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think,” accompanied by a photo of a tabby with its jaws clenched around the neck of a rabbit, he braced himself for an onslaught.

Sure enough, the reaction from Alley Cat Allies, the country’s most powerful cat group, was swift and furious. “This study is part of a continuing propaganda campaign to vilify cats,” railed the group’s president, Becky Robinson, in a press release that, to the Smithsonian’s intense displeasure, made use of an incident in which one of Marra’s researchers was accused of cat poisoning to bolster a long-running claim that his group’s work was “a veiled promotion by bird advocates to ramp up the mass killing of outdoor cats.”

Within hours, comments on the Times’ website numbered in the thousands. There were the unabashedly ignorant: “I’m sorry. I must have missed the news flash that we’re having a shortage of birds.” The crazies: “My best friend is a CAT. How dare you suggest that CATS are killers.” The conspiracy theorists: “This stinks of anti-cat sentiment.” And the truthers: “If this is so, where are the close to 15 billion eviscerated carcasses?”

All day, hate mail had been pouring in, and as Marra opened the door, he glanced cautiously over his shoulder. “You cat-murdering bastard,” a late-night caller told the author of a similar study. “We’ve got you in our sights.”

Inside, his children were watching television. “Daddy, look at the cute kitty,” his daughter said, twisting toward him as a kitten appeared onscreen, playfully batting at something with its paws. Ah, yes, America’s favorite pet.

People love cats. Always have. The remains of Felis catus, small carnivorous mammals descended from Near Eastern wildcats, have been found in 10,000-year-old Cypriot graves and mummified by the Egyptians, who worshipped them. They’ve been the subject of poetry by fourteenth-century Thai monks, Victorian etchings, and many an Internet meme. At first, people kept cats around for their hunting skills—the ancient Greeks used them to police grain silos for vermin the same way New York City bodegas use them to keep mice away from the cornflakes. But mostly, it was because they’re cute. Cats have those aw-inspiring pedomorphic qualities—big eyes, round foreheads, snubby noses—that trigger a nurturing instinct in humans, and they can convey an almost human intelligence, as anyone who has ever found themselves in a staring contest with one can attest. Still, for every person who sees mute understanding in a cat’s eyes, another finds them creepy. Cats are strangely polarizing beasts, as capable of inspiring hatred as love. Those who dislike them see them as sneaky, moody, manipulative, even off-puttingly feminine. But to the majority, cats are beloved. Currently, nearly 90 million occupy roughly one third of American homes, and while modern cat owners might not use the word worship regarding their pets, there are signs that we are again living in an age of cat deification, the most obvious being that we allow them to poop in boxes inside of our homes.

While people are clearly committed to their cats, it’s not always clear that cats feel the same way. While they may be coerced into wearing a baby bonnet or playing the piano, they generally defy direction—hence the expression “herding cats.” They tend to give the impression of having their own lives, and because cats, unlike dogs, aren’t required to be licensed or leashed, many owners indulge them, allowing them to come and go as they please.

Perhaps because the sight of a cat slinking around on its own is so common, a surprising number of cat owners feel free to abandon them when they become a burden. At the end of each semester, college towns regularly see an uptick in the number of cats on the streets, and economically depressed areas are literally crawling with them. “After the housing market dropped, we found a lot of abandoned cats,” says Ken Ross of the SPCA in Putnam County, which is currently struggling with a large population of feral cats. Ferals are the homeless of the feline population, the down-and-out counterparts to the purebreds peering out from behind lace curtains. Wild and unsocialized, they survive by their wits and the kindness of strangers.

I am the Birdman of Inwood


My name is James Cataldi.   I am the founder and executive director of MWAWA, and the principal licensed wildlife rehabilator for northern manhattan. As well, the principal steward of North Cove on the Harlem River in Inwood ….(Sherman Creek area)   A parks wildlife rehab resource and ecological advocate / internship educator… pursuing a balance of open green spaces, and wetlands in Northern Manhattan (with full public access) along side responsible urban development.

Birdman of Inwood’s 1st Post


As northern manhattan is not gridded, we have a lot of open and green spaces left. And northern manhattan on the Harlem River has the last remaining estuarial inlets on the island. 

These inlets service a critical role in this estuary even though situated in one of the largest cities in the world.  And a lot of hidden wildlife, under our feet.”.  Northern Manhattan is a green apple Inside the red apple.

Questions….for context 

Is northern manhattan, and it’s river shorelines, a critical part of the larger estuarial system, with over 330 migrating birds, multigenerational insects and river/ocean life which rely on the estuary and its cloistered inlets, for at least part of their life cycle?   

What is our Hudson and Harlem Estuary System, and how does Northern Manhattan play a role?

Are estuaries important? And specificly, the local shores in northern manhattan, and how does Inwood Hill Old Growth Forest play a role, beyond park visitor’s enjoyment?

Are they at risk? Especially our inlets in northern manhattan?    
Why is this important today and for future generations, and are they an un replaceable rare environmental resource?  Once lost ….lost for ever……

Are estuarial natural habitats like wetlands more important than other urban green and open spaces not associated with our estuaries?  In Northern Manhattan…..

Can one fully see the importance of and benefit of our local northern manhattan ecological habitats; and wildlife with out putting in place our part of the larger national natural habitat treasure?

That Must Be Rita Nursing Swan on NYC’s Upper West Side


That Must Be Rita Nursing Swan on NYC’s Upper West Side

By Mike Di Paola – Jul 7, 2013 11:01 PM CT

The swan was found in March, grounded and very ill, in a Brooklyn parking lot.

“Lead poisoning,” said Rita McMahon, the wildlife rehabilitator who opened the Wild Bird Fund Center last year on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “She was off the charts with lead poisoning and just a skeleton when she came in, about half the weight she should be.”

Wild Bird Fund Center cofounder Rita McMahon with a swan. The bird had been rescued from a Brooklyn parking lot, a victim of lead poisoning. Photographer: Mike Di Paola/Bloomberg

A yellow-bellied sapsucker recuperating at the Wild Bird Fund Center. After treatments of vitamin K, mealworms, and maple syrup, the bird was released in Central Park. Photographer: Mike Di Paola/Bloomberg

Wildlife rehabilators gavage-feeding a pigeon at the Wild Bird Center. There are usually 60 or 70 injured or sick birds and other animals at the city’s only wildlife rehab center. Photographer: Mike Di Paola/Bloomberg

Wild Bird Fund Center cofounder Rita McMahon with a squirrel house. “We get squirrels, woodchucks, opossum, and the rare chipmunk or turtle,” she says. Photographer: Mike Di Paola/Bloomberg

The swan underwent chelation for the lead, followed by antibiotics for swollen joints. If she had gotten strong enough she would have been released in the wild. Because of the lead poisoning, however, the swan couldn’t stand up.

Being grounded badly damaged the bird’s keel, the large bone on its underside. McMahon and her staff treated her for almost two months, even attempting to surgically repair the damage, but “we could not win the battle against infection,” McMahon said. She had to euthanize the regal bird in May.

The Wild Bird Fund has the only wildlife rescue center in New York City. On a recent visit, there were about 70 birds under care in the converted storefront and basement, including a Brant goose with a fractured leg, an ailing ring-billed gull, and many, many mallard ducks.

As the weather gets warmer more injured birds will be taken in, largely because more people are outdoors with more opportunity to see them.

Kate Winslet

Actress Kate Winslet brought in a pair of mourning doves that had been under hawk attack outside her penthouse. Jazz singer Nellie McKay often stops in at the center with an injured bird. “A very sweet person,” McMahon said.

Most of the animals here are sick or hurt, but occasionally healthy specimens need saving. A teenage girl who volunteers at the center rescued two birds — a muscovy duck and a chicken — from a live poultry market in Harlem. She purchased their death-row reprieves for $30 apiece. Both birds are now living happily ever after in more bucolic settings.

McMahon took me downstairs, where two rehabbers were gavage-feeding a pigeon through a plastic tube. Some of the more mobile pigeons got a workout flying about the room.

McMahon plucked a tiny yellow-bellied sapsucker from its cage. “He had a collision with a car, I believe. Blood was pouring out of its ear. A little vitamin K, mealworms and maple syrup and he was ready to go.” (The bird was released the next day in nearby Central Park.)

Although the clinic treats mostly birds, it will handle almost any type of patient. “We get squirrels, woodchucks, opossum and the rare chipmunk or turtle,” McMahon said. Not long ago someone brought in an abandoned fish — a large red pacu that had been left on a street corner in a bucket. “Lucky for him we have a waterfowl tank. He was in heaven.”

Lap Pool

The day of my visit, that tank was being used as a lap pool by the gull. The eight-by-three-foot structure has a ramp at one end used to facilitate waddling in and out.

A new bat room is almost ready to begin taking in chiropteran patients. Bats brought to the center this year may well have been climate-change victims, as unusually warm winter days wake the creatures from hibernation, then subsequent cold weather sends them into a sickly torpor and they require treatment or will die.

The new center gets substantial pro bono support in medical services from two veterinary hospitals across the street, Animal General and the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine.

Still, it costs about $330,000 a year to run, most of which is in rent. There are a few big-money donors and occasional fundraising events, but the clinic relies on individual donations.

Old Boyfriend

“The main thing that supports us are the people who walk through that door with an injured bird,” McMahon said. Good Samaritans who care enough to tote an injured pigeon will also be the kind of people who donate. “It could be $5 or $500,” she says.

“The greatest fun for me was when a high-school boyfriend I haven’t seen since 1969 donated. He saw some article about us and said, ‘That must be Rita.’”

Animal lovers can donate at the Wild Bird Fund website, where one can also consult informative articles such as “How to Rescue a Bird That Has Hit a Window” or “I Found a Baby Bird – – Now What?”

The center conducts guided walks in the park and frequent seminars at the American Museum of Natural History.

Donations to the Wild Bird Fund Center can be made at Information: +1-646-306-2862.

(Mike Di Paola writes on preservation and the environment for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include James S. Russell on architecture, John Mariani on wine.

To contact the writer of this column: Mike Di Paola at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York




The United States Department of Agriculture rounded up and killed more than 260 geese from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last week, which federal officials said was an effort to decrease the number of birds striking planes but which animal-rights advocates said is an unnecessary slaughtering of the geese that tried to take refuge while molting in the national park.

The USDA began removing, and killing, geese in city parks beginning in 2009, after a U.S. Airways jet had to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River when it struck a flock of Canada geese and lost engine power. Last year was the first time the government agency began killing geese from Jamaica Bay, primarily because the National Parks Service had asked the USDA to conduct a supplemental environmental impact statement before it removed birds from the area.

“The reason it’s being done is primarily for the protection of aviation passengers and property due to the risk and hazard of goose strikes at airports there,” said Carol Bannerman, a USDA spokeswoman.

But David Karopkin, the founder and director of GoosewatchNYC – which has documented the removal of hundreds of geese from throughout the city, including the most recent incident at Jamaica Bay – said government officials do not have to kill birds in order to deter bird strikes.

“The culling of the geese is wrong, unethical, and, despite any assurances by officials, it’s cruel and inhumane,” Karopkin said. “We are continuing to uncover the fact that the justifications that are put forth for these killings don’t meet a litmus test of common sense, let alone science.”

Instead of rounding up the geese and killing them, Karopkin said officials should focus their efforts on landscape modification, chasing the birds from the area using dogs, or managing the population with egg oiling.

“Every time they kill a large number of geese, it’s a matter of weeks before it’s repopulated,” Karopkin said. “The geese that were there during the molting period were not there in May… We’ve been patrolling Jamaica Bay for a year, and in May we found barely a couple dozen geese. In June there were a couple hundred because they were there to get through the molting period.”

The molting period is when Canada geese will spend eight to 10 weeks shedding their outer wing feathers and growing new ones, during which time they cannot fly.

Bannerman said “there is potential” for egg oiling in Jamaica Bay, and added that, “in general, wildlife services chases away 90 percent of the Canada geese they encounter” – meaning the birds are not killed but driven from an area with tactics like pyrotechnics and loud sounds.

The spokeswoman also noted the geese population in the city has dropped since it began removing and slaughtering the birds in 2009. She said the USDA killed 290 geese from New York City in 2012 – 285 fewer than in 2011. She also stressed that the number of Canada geese has risen dramatically in recent decades, increasing from about 250,000 in the continental U.S. in 1970 to approximately 3.5 million in 2012 – the result of what she called a “conservation success story.”

“Geese were limited in numbers, and wildlife managers said, ‘We don’t want them to disappear,’ so they’d move them to new areas,” Bannerman said. “Once they moved them, and the geese had a next and the goslings hatched, they became faithful to that area. Especialy in city areas, where there’s no hunting and limited predation, they were able to grow at a rate of about 10 percent a year.”

Two of the geese removed by the USDA and transported to their subsequent slaughter. Photo Courtesy of Goosewatch NYC

Two of the geese removed by the USDA and transported to their subsequent slaughter. Photo Courtesy of Goosewatch NYC

The Canada geese population in New York has mirrored the national trend, and there are about 250,000 of the birds in the state now. Federal officials argue the birds pose an increasing threat to aircraft, and, according to federal statistics, Canada geese have caused 28 plane strikes between 1990 and 2013.

Ken Paskar, a pilot, former Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team Lead Representative, and president of Friends of LaGuardia Airport, also disagreed with the USDA that killing geese was the best way to reduce the chance of bird strikes.

“The experts and data do not support the killing of Canada geese as a solution to our area bird strike problems,” Paskar said in a prepared statement. “Friends of LaGuardia Airport’s first priority is safety, and we oppose the slaughtering of Canada geese in the name of air safety – because the real threat to air travel does not come from the geese, but from the city of New York.”

Paskar went on to cite the city’s current construction of solid waste transfer transfer stations in College Point and on East 91st Street in Manhattan as two major concerns for air travelers.

“This is a critical and extremely dangerous safety issue,” Paskar said. “The transfer stations are essentially food sources which have the potential to attract thousands of birds within the five-mile area around LaGuardia Airport.”

According to a joint study by the FAA and the USDA in August 2012, less than 5 percent of bird strikes at LaGuardia Airport were caused by Canada geese. Meanwhile, 85 percent of bird strikes were a result of gulls, blackbirds, starlings, and other birds – all of which Paskar said will be attracted to the waste transfer stations.

“One can make the area around airports less attractive to birds using falconry, pyrotechnics and other measures,” he said. “Killing animals when other more effective and humane methods are available is unconscionable.”

By Anna Gustafson

Birdwatching News – The New York Times



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A 24-Hour Race for Sightings
A 24-Hour Race for Sightings

In the World Series of Birding, about 100 teams fan out across New Jersey to see as many species as they can.

May 5, 2013, Sunday

What Do the Birders Know?
What Do the Birders Know?

How a common hobby can reveal uncomfortable truths about our world.

April 21, 2013, Sunday

Watchman at the Water’s Edge

Bird life continues at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge after Hurricane Sandy.

March 23, 2013, Saturday

Ranchers Find Hope in Flightless Bird’s Fat
Ranchers Find Hope in Flightless Bird’s Fat

Emu oil, which comes from a block of fat that covers most of the bird’s body, has proved a boon for ranchers in an industry struggling with decline.

February 8, 2013, Friday

In a Minnesota Bog, a Festival of Birds
In a Minnesota Bog, a Festival of Birds

Amid tiny towns and deserted dwellings sits a world-class birding site, the Sax-Zim Bog, where people from around the world travel to glimpse hard-to-spot species.

January 20, 2013, Sunday

The Birds and Birders of Central Park

A documentary featuring the birds and bird watchers of Central Park makes its theatrical debut this Friday in New York.

January 15, 2013, Tuesday

Every Bird Counts, but Some Make the Heart Beat Faster

Roaming with binoculars, a participant in the annual Christmas Bird Count longs to glimpse a certain sparrow.

December 26, 2012, Wednesday

After Audubon, an Artist of the Park
After Audubon, an Artist of the Park

Lee Rogers, who is homeless, sells her detailed watercolors of birds in Central Park.

December 23, 2012, Sunday

Scanning the Central Park Sky With Jonathan Franzen

Mr. Franzen was one of four birders who gave a brief tour of the park on Tuesday.

June 27, 2012, Wednesday

Nature: Now Showing on TV

ONE morning some birder pals and I spend an hour at Sapsucker Woods in Ithaca, N.Y., watching two great blue herons feed their five rowdy chicks. It’s a perfect setting for nesting herons, with an oak-snag overhanging a plush green pond, shallows to hunt in and a living larder of small fish and frogs. Only weeks old, the chicks are mainly fluff and appetite. As mom and dad run relays, the chicks clack wildly like wooden castanets, beaks flying, pecking like speed typists. Sibling rivalry is…

June 24, 2012, Sunday

Science and Truth: We’re All in It Together
Science and Truth: We’re All in It Together

Internet-based crowdsourcing has come to determine the course of scientific research.

May 05, 2012, Saturday

So Much Life on a Little Patch of Earth
So Much Life on a Little Patch of Earth

Rare life forms can sometimes show up on your doorstep, as a family in Washington found. But even the mundane and everyday species can be just as enchanting.

April 24, 2012, Tuesday

Counting Species on a Little Patch of Earth
Counting Species on a Little Patch of Earth

Rare life forms can sometimes show up on your doorstep, as a family in Washington found. But even the mundane and everyday species can be just as enchanting.

April 24, 2012, Tuesday

An Albatross’s Flight from Extinction’s Edge

Remarkable signs of recovery for an albatross species that was once nearly extinguished by human and natural forces.

April 20, 2012, Friday

Rat Poison Is Found in Bodies of 3 Dead Hawks
Rat Poison Is Found in Bodies of 3 Dead Hawks

Exactly where the three red-tailed hawks, found dead in or around Central Park, ingested the chemicals has not been determined.

April 12, 2012, Thursday


Birdwatching News – The New York Times…/b/birds/birdwatching/index.html


News about birdwatching. Commentary and archival information about Birdwatching from The New York Times.

Mayor Bloomberg and Sen. Gillibrand: End the War on NYC’s Canada Geese


Petitioning The President of the United States

Mayor Bloomberg and Sen. Gillibrand: End the War on NYC’s Canada Geese

Petition by GooseWatch NYC
 Mayor Bloomberg and Sen. Gillibrand: End the War on NYC's Canada Geese

Since the landing of US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January of 2009, the City of New York has contracted with USDA Wildlife Services for hundreds of thousands of dollars to round up and slaughter thousands of Canada geese and goslings from New York City’s parks. Last summer, Sen. Gillibrand introduced federal legislation which led to the roundup and slaughter of 751 Canada geese at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. These slaughters are inhumane and an ineffective waste of taxpayer dollars.

Canada geese are beautiful, intelligent birds who mate for life, fiercely protect their eggs and young, and display loyalty for other members of their flock. The methods that USDA Wildlife Services uses to kill geese are broadly understood to be grossly inhumane – during the hottest months of the year flightless geese and goslings are corralled, packed into turkey crates and transported to slaughterhouses or gas chambers; to do so in a wildlife refuge is completely unacceptable, violating the essential concept of a refuge.

Killing Canada geese in the name of air safety is inherently flawed. Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Gillibrand claim that killing geese prevents bird strikes, but all leading bird strike scientists disagree. Many major cities around the world are keeping airports safe from potential bird strikes without resorting to lethal methods. Aviation experts have reiterated that a cull will not make the skies safer for flying. “The consensus among wildlife experts appears to be that a goose cull won’t really do much to reduce the likelihood of bird strikes, especially since there are dozens of birds that use the [Jamaica Bay] preserve,” Russ Niles, editor-in-chief of wrote in a May 6 editorial. “I have not seen where [culling] has been effective as a long-term solution,” said Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board under the Clinton administration. Ron Merritt, a biologist and former Chief for the Air Force’s Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard Team agrees, adding, “Killing 1,000 geese really isn’t going to do anything. If you kill them, nature will fill that vacuum and a new species will pop up in its place.” Environmentalists know the golden rule of ecosystems: if one species is removed, another species will take over.

Research shows that the most effective programs use long-term, non-lethal strategies that reduce or remove the physical conditions that attract particular species to an airport. Birds can be kept out of the pathways of aircraft by employing proven radar detection systems and dissuasive tactics. Habitat modification is also being used successfully to discourage populations of geese from colonizing. Geese numbers can be humanely reduced using proven methods developed especially for use in Canada geese.

The USDA Canada goose slaughters are conducted without community notification, transparency, or accountability. The roundups of Canada geese are financed by taxpayers and conducted by a federal agency in city parks, which are public spaces. The public has a right to transparency of governmental operations, and at a minimum, to view video documentation of the treatment of Canada geese during the roundups in order judge for themselves whether they support these extreme measures.

GooseWatch NYC was formed in 2011 in response to the roundup and killing of Canada geese in New York City parks that started in 2009. Recently, the organization has assisted with grassroots efforts in ScarsdaleMamoroneck and North Hempstead, where the planned killing of geese was called off. For more information, please visit

The President of the United States
The U.S. Senate
The U.S. House of Representatives
The NY State Senate
The NY State House
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York
Sen. Charles Schumer, New York
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Dave Avrin, National Park Service
Secretary Tom Vilsack, United States Dept. of Agriculture
Eric Schneiderman, New York State Attorney General
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Christine C. Quinn, New York City Council Speaker
Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President
John Liu, NYC Comptroller
Bill DeBlasio, NYC Public Advocate
William Thompson, Jr.
Martin Lowney, USDA
Inspector General, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Farrell Sklerov, New York City Department of Environmental Protection
Patrick J. Foye, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Melissa Mark-Viverito, NYC Councilmember
Mark Weprin, NYC Councilmember
Jimmy Van Bramer, NYC Councilmember
Peter F. Vallone, Jr., NYC Councilmember
James Vacca, NYC Councilmember
Eric Ulrich, NYC Councilmember
James S. Oddo, NYC Councilmember
Stephen Levin, NYC Councilmember
Brad Lander, NYC Councilmember
Karen Koslowitz, NYC Councilmember
Peter Koo, NYC Councilmember
Letitia James, NYC Councilmember
Vincent J. Gentile, NYC Councilmember
Sally Jewell, Secretary of the US Dept. of the Interior
Inez Dickens, NYC Councilmember
I am writing to express my opposition to the killing of geese in New York City by USDA Wildlife Services, and request your support.Canada geese are beautiful, intelligent birds who mate for life, fiercely protect their eggs and young, and display loyalty for other members of their flock. USDA agents will capture vulnerable geese during the summer molt, when they can’t fly, separate parents…