C.A.S.H. Courier - Spring / Summer - 2001

When the Expression "For the Birds" Has a Positive Connotation
A New York State Highway Department / Wildlife Watch Project

Wildlife Watch was contacted by Al White (photo below) who had seen an entire Canada goose family killed during the spring of 2000. Seeking help to prevent that from recurring, he called the Town of New Paltz for help. They told him that they had no jurisdiction over the State-owned road. Al then called Wildlife Watch. This spring, Wildlife Watch and Al held meetings with the NYS Highway Dept. asking them to allow us to protect Canada geese with 4,000 linear feet of fencing along Route 299 in New Paltz, NY. The road was built along a wetland where Canada geese naturally wanted to have nests and raise their young. We told them of the hazard to humans when geese cross the roads, the fact that drivers jam on their brakes or swerve to avoid hitting the geese. Besides, it was simply humane to keep them from getting killed. They agreed for ALL of those reasons. Al’s excellent carpentry skills led to a demonstration of the prototype below and the decision-makers agreed to give it a try. We thank them for sending out surveyors to flag post positions so that they could be sunk into the ground without disturbing gas lines and the fiber optic cable. They also provided the posts! We had to come up with the fencing and the labor. Al, Student Coalition for Animal Rights at SUNY New Paltz, Al’s garden club, and so many others did the hours and hours of work that made this possible. A special thank you to Al White for his high energy and sheer strength to see this through. After several weekends, the fence was up. All too soon we realized that the babies were darting under the lines, so we added a third line 4 inches from the ground. Then we saw them "duck" under and jump over the lines, so we added deer netting leaving a couple of inches from the ground to let turtles cross.

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Al White demonstrating the prototype to the Highway Dept.

Then we saw the adults lift up over the fence altogether, but the babies couldn’t follow so the adults flew back to the other side. Then we saw families in front of the fencing! We had to end the line by angling it back along the tree line. Over the weeks, the fence was modified to provide more and more protection. Although the fence was not 100% fool proof, far fewer geese were killed this year and no goslings were killed.

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Greg Bernardi of SCAR doing a super job of stringing the wire

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Adult geese demonstrating where to stand in relation to the fence (behind it!).

They were with several babies hidden in the grass.

Return to Cash Courier Spring/Summer 2001 Issue

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