10 January 2014

Goose Killing Atrocity by Carter Lake

At the end of another bird survey on one of the final days of December, while riding my dependable bicycle along the north side of Levi Carter Park, a surprising and completely despicable setting was seen. The place was on the north side of Levi Carter Park, on the east side of 9th Street, at a spot where the trees were black from illegal burning only days earlier in association with discarded tires.

The newest atrocity was dead birds. There were six carcasses of the Canada Goose, thrown along the street in an apparently careless manner.

Looking closely, the underside of the big birds had bloody marks which seemed to indicate they had been shot while flying. This was only an interpretation since my personal experience has not included any sort of goose-shooting. But blood on the feathers was prominent.

Six goose carcasses were enough of a situation to elicit further consideration. The first phone call was to a biologist of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a Saturday afternoon. Then there was a followup call from the regional F.W.S. law enforcement woman, but she would not be able to visit the dead goose site as it was five hours away, and it was a weekend.

Option number two, after many minutes on the phone talking to one person or another upon contacting the Omaha Police Department, was to ensure there was a report of the event. Two officers that arrived at the reportial scene were given a map of the locale. At least Omaha law enforcement was aware of the shooting situation.

Another option which worked best was contacting the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, after bicycling to the library to find a phone number.

Eventually, a conservation officer gave attention to the situation of the dead geese. One of the agency officers dealt with the matter on a Saturday evening, December 28th. My first realization of a response was a phone call that meant many words in a discussion to guide the officer to the place where the carcasses lay. It was dark at the scene, but eventually the spot was found.

Officer Rich Berggren found the goose carcasses and did his work, there near 9th and Browne streets.

In a followup phone call, Berggren indicated that the geese were definitely killed by a shotgun blast(s).

At my request the geese carcasses were not thrown into the trash for disposal, but were thrown among a natural setting along the Platte River. Thanks to officer Berggren for doing this.

It's possible, based completely on conjecture, that someone in the neighborhood north of the lake — where numerous flights of these geese come in low as they approach the oxbow lake — thought they'd blast a shot at a flock, and then had to deal with the deadly result. Such a miscreant may not have had any license for possession, so dumped the carcasses along 9th street, at a place where trash is commonly thrown.

What a tragedy for the birds. And what a waste of life.

This is the second instance of a bird shooting at Carter lake. A resident of the city of Carter Lake, from their home on the south side of the lake, shot and killed an American Coot on October 27th. Although this event was seen as it occurred, it was not possible to determine the source of the gunfire. This event was also reported to proper authorities though no outcome is known.

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