Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quintessentially Madison

Late this morning (11:30), if all goes to schedule, there will be one of the more unique protests at the State Capitol, followed by a parade (procession?) to the City-County Building a few blocks away, where the assemblage will rail against our (new/old) Mayor, for not stopping the slaughter.

The protest will begin as a memorial service for the hundreds of geese recently killed in our city’s parks, presumably now being served as goose-burgers to the homeless.

The protest is sponsored by the Alliance for Animals, a Madison group which noted in an e-mail to the media “We will stand together as a tribute to the wild Canada geese and goslings that were rounded up and slaughtered.”

At least they didn’t refer to them as “Canadian geese”, as so many local media outlets incorrectly have. They’re not Canadians. They’re Canada geese.

They’re also the “fallen fowl”, victims of a “bird bloodbath”, the object of countless puns unleashed by the aforesaid local media while reporting on the latest round of goose eliminations. The geese living near the runways at the airport were dispatched some time ago, after considerable ado about whether or not they really did pose a risk to aviation. In the end, fearing a “Miracle on Monona” scenario, local authorities did away with the geese.

More recently, a couple hundred of the critters, which insisted on unmitigated bowel-fowling in the parks, were rounded up (caged)in Brittingham, Vilas, and Olin-Turville Parks late in June and taken to a meat processor to be turned into gooseburgers for local food pantries. It is for these most recent victims that today’s memorial service/protest is being held.

It brings to mind a line credited to W. C. Fields: “If you birds can’t learn to sh#t green, get off my lawn!”


  1. For a moment, I thought your pic was memorializing Lefties.

    Lotsa similarities: herd, shit-all-over-anything, noisy and intrusive, .......

  2. Tim ... the "dad" person is a loathsome, obnoxious troll. He degrades your weblog.

  3. W.C. Fields obviously wasn't talking about geese. They DO shit green, which makes their fowl droppings (pun intended) tricky for park-goers to avoid.

  4. Jill ... I guess the stuff is kind of green. The version of the W.C. Fields tale I heard has him wielding a golf club as he chased the neighbor's swans.

    Another version has him shooting them. Imagine ol' Dukenfeld, fueled by a quart of gin, plinking birds with a firearm. Scary. The whole thing may be apocryphal, but it is a good story.

    NYC recently undertook a similar de-goosing project with the stated intention of making the skies safer for airliners. History suggests there's something to that concern.

    But mostly the birds, grossly overfed by goose-huggers armed with stale bread (leftovers went to harbor botulism or feed the rats), had become a nuisance and a health hazard. You couldn't walk through any park without buttering your soles with their extrusions. You certainly would not want to give free rein to a toddler in those areas.

    The removals raised a lot of honking from the goose lobby, but the improvement in the parks experieice is considerable.

  5. Colonel,

    That photo reminded me of one taken by the U.S. Biological Survey of dead prairie dogs arranged to spell out "U. S. Biological Survey". It was mentioned in a book by Randal O'Toole in an essay concerning the conflicting environmental aims of different federal agencies. I wrote about it here:

    From O'Toole's book:

    "When the Endangered Species Act was passed, one of the first species listed as endangered was the black-footed ferret, which the Fish and Wildlife Service caled 'the rarest mammal in North America.' It was endangered because it depended entirely on prairie dogs for both food and -- because it lived in abandoned prairie dog dens -- shelter. The Fish and Wildlife Service was fully aware of the ferret's dependence on prairie dogs, yet for more than a decade after passage of the Endangered Species Act, the agency continued to poison thousands of prairie dogs each year. As a result, the ferret nearly went extinct."

    The whole government could be placed under the direction of a new Department: The Department of Unintended Consequences.

    The Town Crank

  6. I agree with the other anonymous commentator about Dad's contibutions to this blog. I don't mind thoughtful conservative voices like Steve's, but Dad's posts drag your blog into a more predictable, less interesting arena. On the other hand, it's not that big a deal to me. Maybe having a blog means putting up with not-always-relevant comments from the peanut gallery.