Residents living close to Yeadon Tarn, near Leeds, were upset after learning of the cull of about 10 Canada Geese, understood to have taken place last week.
Valerie Cotton, from Horsforth, who was denied access to the tarn while the cull took place, said: “What have the wildlife done wrong? A lot of people are very upset, people around the town take their children to go and feed the geese around there.”
Sharon Garbutt, 58, from Yeadon, described the cull as “barbaric.”
It is understood that the area was cordoned off at about 5am last Thursday while the geese were killed. The site was then cleared and officials left soon afterwards.
A joint statement from Leeds Bradford International Airport, the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) and Leeds City Council said: “This flock of Canada Geese poses a significant risk to the aircraft flying in and out of Leeds Bradford International Airport.
“Up to 100 Canada Geese have been recorded regularly crossing the runway as they fly to and from Yeadon Tarn. Leeds Bradford International Airport is duty-bound to provide a safe operating environment for aircraft and is required to demonstrate to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that it is managing the risk from Canada Geese.
“It is for the reasons of preserving air safety that control of these Canada Geese on Yeadon Tarn has been initiated.
“The control was carried out within the constraints of UK law and Natural England General Licence for preserving air safety and is the only viable option and the most humane way of alleviating the immediate risk.”