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Somethings's A Fowl in Moorestown

A solution to not only the Canada goose problem, but our sinking ratables as well.

I have often heard seagulls referred to as flying rats. They are scavengers that serve no purpose, except to snatch our sandwiches on the beach or, inexplicably, roam the ShopRite parking lot in search of a good number at the deli counter.

Yesterday, after almost driving into a Canada goose while mistaking it for a Smart Car, I sat in my car on Haines Drive, waiting for my heart to slow down. The goose did not have a similar reaction. It looked vacantly at my car then trundled toward a gaggle of its brethren loitering and honking near the cement Teddy Bear sculpture.

Branta Canadensis maxima is the Latin name for public enemy No. 1, the Canada goose; that waddling excrement factory that serves no other purpose than to besmirch our parks and ball fields. In Pennsylvania, there is a full-time population of more than 230,000 goose residents producing about 11,500 pounds of droppings EVERY DAY. Take a stroll onto Memorial Field or the idyllic Strawbridge Lake area and try to make it back to your car without an accumulation of goose poop on the bottom of your shoes.

Although I haven’t seen them lately, I know that at one time there were border collies patrolling Strawbridge Lake. A local resident told me that the border collies left Mo’town to work with Charlie Sheen, herding him away from danger and/or prostitutes. It doesn’t seem to be working, Lassie.

What are other towns doing to get rid of those pesky waddlers?  Downingtown, PA, tried using inflatable crocodiles in their lake. It didn’t work, although Action News was right there with cameras and a theme song entitled “The Crocodile Invasion…What YOU Need to Know.” Other towns have tried fireworks, spraying corn oil on goose eggs, rap music, a romantic dinner and dog decoys, to no avail. Oh, and the less-inviting vegetation that was planted by Strawbridge Lake to deter the geese?  Not working, people! Those fat poop-producers are here to stay, and tough-talking ex-Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo might in some small way have contributed to their burgeoning population. In the 1970s, Mayor Rizzo set aside money to feed the goose gang along the Schuylkill River. He didn’t like wise guys but loved wise geese. Geese are so intelligent that some of them have even written best sellers and served on town council!

The "live-and-let-live" faction does not want to see any involvement from the Wildlife Service, whose method of downsizing is to addle the goose eggs and gas some of the nesting geese. We here at Mason Labs have a better idea.

Ever since last year’s fatal Duck Boat accident on the Delaware River, the city has been going back and forth on the future of “Ride the Ducks” in Philadelphia. For a while there was talk of moving the boats to the Schuylkill River where, presumably, they’d meet up with Mayor Rizzo’s geese, lay a few eggs, honk a lot and anger the Boat House Rowers. A route was proposed then shot down (not by hunters) by citizens who protested that the stately Schuylkill was the wrong spot for a bunch of quacking tourists.

Despite the fact that the Ride the Ducks president, Chris Herschend, said his company had operated more than 40,000 trips in Philadelphia without incident BEFORE the fatal accident,  I don’t know why anyone would ride those silly amphibious contraptions. I can just see myself now, trying to convince a loved one to ride the Ducks.

 “Come on, sweetheart! Let’s take a quick jaunt through the narrow streets of Philly where everyone will be gawking at us and muttering derogatory expressions under their breath. After we grow weary of that, we’ll glide into the Delaware River, smack dab into the middle of a shipping lane filled with tug boats, barges and dead bodies. There will be plenty of life vests to play with onboard, since the crew will not demonstrate physically how to put them on. Instead, they will do a delightful mime presentation, using graphic hand signals picked up from old  swabbies. If the various  ship captains are  not busy having cell phone conversations or texting, we might make it back to shore in one piece. Perhaps two.”

I have several thoughts on these two fowl problems. Moorestown needs more revenue. Ratables are down, businesses are not thronging to our fair village. One idea is to move Ride the Ducks to Strawbridge Lake. There, we could demonstrate to the tourists how we throw away our money on lake dredging as we glide amongst the lily pads and alleged "less inviting" foliage. The passengers will be encouraged to solve the mystery of the red "no skating" flag that flies year round, even in August. After an exciting detour through the water filtration plant, the tour would continue to the Town Hall/Library parking lot to marvel at how such an affluent town cannot seem to move forward on a new complex. The librarians will happily pose for pictures once it has been determined that there are no outstanding fines.

But wait! There’s more! Let’s turn our overabundance of geese into part of the Ride the Ducks experience!  As we glide along Haines Drive, the tourists will have all kinds of close encounters with the geese. Children will have a chance to run from the vehicle to the tot lot. Those that make it back with clean shoes will get a prize (a hazmat suit). Another fun  activity would be "free pillow stuffing." The tourists would be motored to  a nesting area, where they would gather as many feathers as they wanted, to make a souvenir of their fabulous trip to Moorestown.

So you see, I’ve managed to kill two birds with one stone…figuratively speaking. If you’d like in on the ground floor of this incredible plan, please send cash in any denomination to me, care of Patch. I promise not to goose you.

Rollie. A. Nosam May 01, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Dear Patty A: In an effort to find common ground and come together as a community, a nation, and as Canadian Goose lovers, I would like to personally invite you to the 24th "International Child Labor and Canadian Goose Cook-Off Festival" (ICLCGCOF) here in Moorestown, NJ (town motto: "Nice town, Friendly people, Great Goose Burgers!"). It's a wonderful weekend of love, hard work and great food. Starting with the local custom of char-broiling Canadian Goose you will find these birds are tasty treats especially when doused with helpings of taco sauce! Canadian Goose Tartare is a South Jersey specialty as well, and we would love to have you sample some along with Canadian Goose Foot, a somewhat gamier but delightfully chewy snack that some liken to a Slim Jim or birdie taffy. We are proud to bring children to town from around the globe. We teach them to cook Canadian Goose (you know the saying: "Give a man a Canadian Goose, he'll eat for an hour; teach a man to char-broil Canadian Goose and he'll start a riot!"), and we quadruple whatever income they're making back home, giving them state-of-the-art equipment to make: Canadian Goose Feather throws, shoes and hats! It's a sight to see as the good people of Moorestown sport the handiwork of a truly international conglomerate of well-paid and well-fed future Canadian Goose connoisseurs, walking about eating Canadian Goose Burgers and Feet. Best wishes! And as we like to say here in Moorestown, Wanna get loose? Eat a goose!
Patty A May 01, 2011 at 10:35 PM
@ Rollie: "Wanna get loose. Eat a goose," eh? I didn't know that eating goose gives people diarrhea. Hope you have Port-A-Johns nearby. Things could get messy and real stinky at the cook-off festival. Thanks for the invite, but I'll take a pass on it. Human adult diapers ain't my thing -- but I'll be happy to send some to Moorestown. Sounds like you guys will need the diapers, big time.
John Thomas May 06, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Holy-Cow...First there's Patty A...then Marion Ambler and now A Steinberger. How many more of there are you who copy and paste your unsubstantiated statistics, facts that some house-wife in NYC who hasn't seen grass in 20 years made up and (as I've confirmed with REAL people) references to "experts" that don't exist. You can imagine my surprise when I see that you live in NY CITY....Don't tell the people who actually live in areas that has grass, trees, water (that is not sewer water) and animals (that aren't in a zoo) about the problems we face. Tell you what...when we need to know about the problems with rats, cockroaches and living in your own feces we'll let you know...otherwise keep your ignorant views to yourselves.
Marion Ambler May 07, 2011 at 12:11 AM
John Thomas, what do you call 'unsubstantiated' statistics? The quotes I gave were what some of the most respected sources including the Center for Disease Control had to say about Canada geese and the health threat, or more accurately, lack of health threat posed by Canada geese. FYI - I live in Vancouver, BC we have lots of water including some of the best drinking water in North America and great beaches, a great airport, mountains, lots of grass, parks, and green spaces, .....and Canada geese. I also grew up in a farming community in the prairies. I am not sure exactly what you found so ignorant about my comments or what sense your own made.
Patty A May 07, 2011 at 03:00 AM
@ John Thomas: Well, now I really believe there is something in the water at Mooretown -- and its not goose poop. "Rats, cockroaches and living in your own feces?" You really should not project your own lifestyle upon others. Perhaps I really should have sent you guys the adult diapers.

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