Airplanes are winning out over geese in a territorial battle near Iowa’s largest airport. The Department of Natural Resources says it’s removing a flock of Canadian geese that has been steadily growing in size at the ponds near the Des Moines Waterworks. Those ponds are not far from the Des Moines International Airport — and D-N-R wildlife biologist Bill Bunger says that creates problems. He says when they move in the fall they tend to criss-cross across the airport and later in the fall they tend to attract other birds who’re migrating and that creates a bigger problem. Bunger says they’ve tried to relocate the geese — taking them as far as 100 miles away — but he says they always come back. He says they want to get rid of the long-neck brown birds before the worst happens and they cause one of the big silver jet-powered birds to go down. He says the airport has had issues over the years with some minor strikes and several near misses over the years. Bunger says there’ll likely eventually be new geese that nest in the ponds, but he says they can deal with those. He says they can use some other means to keep the nesting down. He says they’re not trying to eliminate the birds, but he says they want to keep the populations down in a one mile to two mile radius near the airport. What’s the fate of the geese? They’ll be cooked — literally. He says the birds will be butchered and processed and the meat given to a food bank. Bunger says they had several discussions and decided removing the geese was the only way to address the problem. He says getting rid of these 200 some geese won’t have a major impact on the overall population of the birds.

Radio Iowa