Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wild Goose Chase

As one of our private correspondents tells us today, trying to pin down what happened in Gulf Breeze last Wednesday evening when over a hundred Canadian geese and ducks were 'disappeared' is as tough as finding out who really has been running the country over the past six years. (Hint: It's Dick Cheney.)

Following up yesterday's post, we can report today that according to one Tiger Point Golf Course manager, the 'disappearance' of the geese and ducks was the work of "the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services." It should be emphasized that this claim, for the moment, is unconfirmed. We aren't even sure there is an agency called "Wildlife Services," much less than it was responsible for "everything that happened out there," as club manager Aaron Williams told our informant. Just as likely, he may have meant the U.S.D.A. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

In any event, Williams apparently says that the club called the U.S. Department of Agriculture and that federal agency sent a "biologist" to inspect fowl inhabitants of the course. The problem, as perceived by Tiger Point Golf & Country Club, was that the birds "were defecating on the course and the greens."

The club manager did confirm that los desaparidos were "migratory birds" -- Canadian geese and migratory ducks. However, he said, human residents living adjacent to the course in recent months had taken to feeding the birds. "They wouldn't leave like they're supposed to," Williams complained of the birds. "They aren't really migratory anymore."

If the disappearance was engineered by the feds, and if there is a U.S.D.A agency known as "Agriculture Wildlife Services," and if that agency reclassified the Tiger Point Golf Club geese and ducks as non-migratory, there is no known record of such a federal action. Which is no more reassuring than the state system in Florida which, as we learned yesterday, licenses trappers and then doesn't haven't a clue what they do.

There were quite a few eye witnesses to the mass 'disappearance' of the geese and ducks, many of them living along Hole 15 of the Tiger Point's East Course. This much is confirmed by multiple sources: the fatal action began Wednesday evening, June 20, around 5:30 pm and lasted until dark. Two trucks predominantly white in color rolled up. One or more men laid a trail of doped-up food for the birds. (Some say they had been doing this for a week or more as a way to condition them.) The birds followed the food trail to a temporary corral set up near the 15th green. The tranquilized geese and ducks offered no resistance as they then were herded into the corral and, later, a truck.

Many suspect that inside one of the trucks the geese were gassed, not "relocated" as the club has been telling angry residents. Some among the eye witnesses claim to have seen at least one goose killed outright as it tried to escape. At least one resident reportedly took photos of the episode as it happened.

According to one official we spoke with today at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Panama City, killing migratory birds is not lawful. "But what if someone in the U.S.D.A reclassified the birds as "defacating" or "lazy" birds who were "retired" from migrating?" we asked.

"There is no such classification," was the reply. "A migratory bird is a migratory bird. They don't have to keep to a flight schedule."

2 comments:

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Bryan said...

We were plagued by Muscovy ducks a few years back. Muscovy ducks are native to Central and South America and are considered domesticated fowl in the US.

The town contacted every agency imaginable to get rid of them, and so did I. I'm well aware of how the system works. There is no Federal agency that will relocate ducks or geese. They will classify them, so that you know whether they can be removed, but they won't take any other action.

We had to get a Federal certification that the Muscovy duck wasn't migratory before anyone would do anything.

There is no legal way of moving migratory waterfowl. Anyone who kills migratory waterfowl without the proper hunting license and Federal stamp is in trouble. This is not waterfowl season in Florida, and the use of drugs is prohibited.

Someone is in a lot of trouble with both the state and Federal governments.