WELLESLEY ISLAND — Federal wildlife officials have removed and euthanized about 120 Canada geese from two recreational areas on the island in recent weeks, though the origin of the request for their services could not be specified.
In the early hours of June 20, officials with U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Service conducted the clearing, with department staff floating on the water in kayaks and corralling the birds from the water into large nets.
The birds were put in poultry crates and taken to a food processor in the western part of the state. The processed meat then was donated to food pantries.
Officials timed the roundup with the birds' two- to four-week molting season, when the lack of feathers prevents them from flying away.
A spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed the DEC was contacted before the roundup took place.
Allen L. Gosser, assistant state director for the USDA Wildlife Service's New York office, declined to indicate who had requested its assistance, identifying the complainant only as a property owner on the island. He said naming the person or entities requesting the service could lead to harassment.
Mr. Gosser said the department had permits to complete the work from both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees emissions into Lake Ontario. Canada geese can produce a pound of waste per day.
The birds have drawn scrutiny from wildlife officials in the past because they have a record of damaging property and interrupting operations at airports.
Mr. Gosser said the department's biologists first survey areas to determine whether the geese should be removed.
“If that can be done in one day, then the next day the Canada geese can be removed,” he said.
Department biologists also check previous actions to clear the geese along with nonlethal ways to displace them, such as growing longer grass or the use of pyrotechnics. He estimated that 85 percent of the department's actions were nonlethal.
He said that because the department's actions were focused at specific portions of the island where it had permission from property owners, it did not provide notice to island residents. Carol Bannerman, a department spokeswoman, said the goal in those instances was to have as few people around as possible.
“We do try to keep the area fairly calm,” she said.