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2010 Wilson Hill Goose Drive

The 2010 Goose Drive


Canoes staged at the marsh and ready for the Goose Drive, but first we must eat.

People  either smile with interest, or with worry about their safety, when I tell them I volunteer as a goose wrangler in the summers.  If it’s the last group, and they have not gotten too far to hear me before I can tell them the details, they will warm to the idea quickly.  In the end both groups will spend a good deal of time bending my ear about their outdoor experiences and their thoughts on conservation.

The Wilson Hill Goose Drive has been going on for 46 years.  It began in 1964 and is orchestrated by the New York DEC.  Back in the 1960s some rather smart DEC people got the idea that using volunteers to help with their banding program would save time, money, and give them some really great stories to tell back at the office during the winter.  (Remember the capsized canoe event of ’77, Harry?)

In that time the goose drives have banded generations of geese, introduced young kids to the idea of conservation, and have done much for the wetland conservation efforts of Wilson Hill.  This year the drive wrangled and banded 445 geese.  This is a small number compared to the record of 1,900 that was set back in the 1980s.

The date for the Goose Drive varies, but it usually is around the end of June.  It occurs at a time when the geese have lost their flight feathers.  It works by having people on shore and in the marsh drive the geese into holding pens hidden at one side of Wilson Hill.  The entire drive takes roughly 2 hours.  After that comes a well deserved lunch for the volunteers followed by the banding of the geese.  Banding time varies depending on the number of geese and the number of volunteers.

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