Friday, July 25, 2014

Beginning of End for Culture of "Shoot, Shut-Up and Shovel?"




"Shoot, Shut-Up and Shovel" no longer acceptable as policy towards Canada geese and other American wildlife.
"Our Facebook page lit up after we aired the controversial story of almost two dozen geese killed at a La Grange city park."
.
So are the words from the Editorial staff at WHAS News 11 from Louisville, Kentucky where a few days ago, 22 geese were shot to death in a public park on apparent directives from the mayor.
.
.
Something very interesting is being observed over the past few weeks:
.
That is, the community outrage being expressed from Maine to Ohio and especially, Kentucky over clandestine goose slaughters occurring without public notification and/or input.  
.
It was eye opening to go to the WHAS (News 11) FB page and read the seemingly endless comments regarding this particular news story.  "Lit up" would seem understatement as I was personally unable to get through them all.   More than 90% of the comments were adamantly opposed to the killings and one was even from a Councilman complaining of "no notification" and input from City Council.    Fascinating stuff especially coming from what is often derisively called, "redneck (conservative) country."
.
Contrarily, when government and USDA WS conducted goose gassings at Prospect Park (New York) in 2010, there were hundreds of comments on the New York Times article pages.  But, at least half of them supported the carnage. 
.
It is not clear if this signifies we are finally making progress towards turning the tide around on government led wildlife massacres across the country or people are just "different" in New York City where we seem to want government to do everything for us, short of wiping our tushies.
.
But, for sure, general public sentiment and support for secretive USDA WS and other government sponsored goose slaughters have taken a substantial hit over the past couple of years and that has been true from the east coast to the west and north to south.  
.
Perhaps out greatest challenge now is to try and organize that public outrage into something cohesive and effective in terms of pressuring public officials and letting government leaders know that quite simply, "We're not going to take it anymore."
.
Clandestine, government-led wildlife massacres in public parks and other city properties are something no longer tolerated by a culture that likes to consider itself, civilized, transparent and humane. 
.
On the latter and extremely important note, it is past time for the American electorate to stand up and demand that something be done to limit tax funding and otherwise reign in and hold accountable for lethal and sinister actions, USDA "Wildlife Services" (APHIS). 
.
It is encouraging that some former agents and employees of this rogue agency are finally coming out and sharing their stories:
.
.
The above 30-minute film is disturbing and chilling, but the information shared, invaluable. 
.
This is not, after all, PETA railing about government cruelty to animals, but rather, professional trappers and hunters for whom, barbarity and carnage apparently have their limits.  
.
The culture of "Shoot, Shut Up and Shovel" needs to end, whether it be as motto for USDA Wildlife (Extermination) Services or deadly, clandestine actions conducted in an otherwise peaceful Kentucky park. -- PCA
.
.
.
                                              **************

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lift Off! -- The Dreaded Season of the Molt Finally Ending



Lift off!  Geese again flying and celebrating the end of the cursed season of the molt.
At long last the dreaded molting season is coming to an end and geese are once again, taking to the air.
.
I say, "dreaded molting season" because if there is one curse on Canada geese, it is that for six weeks of the year they are incapable of flight and thus become easy targets for not only USDA WS slaughters, but shootings in other parts of the country, as well as an endless barrage of negative press articles.
.
Two very recent examples of negative press articles are below:
.
.
.
The first article, "Neighbors Upset Over Killing of Geese in Public Park" is self-explanatory and unfortunately, all too common.  Two dozen geese shot to death in a Kentucky park without notification to or input from the community.  Once again, the same old excuses and fear mongering, (geese are a "health threat") and once again, a bewildered and distraught public whose complaints will be easily dismissed and blown off.
.
The second article, "Geese Honk at Lights Designed to Scare Them Away" is however, more complex and quite frankly baffling.  While geese were not targeted for slaughter in this Texas park, they have been continually subjected to harassment with laser lights and noise cannons. Town officials are perplexed with why the harassment methods "did not work to scare the geese away."  (They are apparently demanding money back from lighting company.)
.
Apparently, officials did not know and were not informed of the six week molting period in which geese cannot fly anywhere -- even if one were to hurl H-bombs at them!
.
One can only shake one's head when realizing the amount of ignorance and myths out there concerning these constantly maligned birds and the seeming unwillingness to actually do some research and learn basic biology.
.
Another myth that prevails despite overwhelming evidence against it is the contention that geese "stay in a location because people feed them."
.
There is no doubt that (like humans and other animals) geese greatly enjoy treats that are offered to them by occasional humans. Add to that, their general sociability and trust with humans and it might appear that (especially during the molt) geese are "overstaying their welcome" because of human feeders. 
.
But, the fact is that geese are not now nor have they ever been, dependent upon humans for food.
.
As mostly vegetarians, geese have to consume large amounts of plant and aquatic foods to survive.  They literally eat throughout most of the day (except when nesting or "hunkering down" through particularly severe weather). Unless humans were feeding them 24/7 or a goose is injured and flightless, there is little way for geese to become entirely dependent upon humans for their sustenance and survival.
.
Yet, there are many communities that wrongly believe that it is human feeders who are responsible for an alleged "overpopulation" of geese and that all that is necessary to "manage" goose population is to criminalize the feeding of them.
.
But, "No Feeding" policies have little if any impact at all upon goose populations and when these inevitably fail, too many communities (such as Mill Creek Park in Ohio) contract with USDA WS for goose slaughter. Controlled kill conducted on Canada geese at Mill Creek Park | WKBN.com
.
As the evidence shows time and time again (as it has in Central Park, NYC) the methods that effectively work to limit and contain goose populations are, habitat modification, harassment with Border Collies, egg addling and some presence of natural egg predators, such as raccoons.  (Anyone reading this blog on a regular basis will know I have personally complained about these policies in fact, working too well in CP causing fear that our Central Park resident goose population might be eliminated entirely within ten years due to attrition of aging geese.)
.
The bottom line to all this is that (whether fed or not by humans), when the dreaded molt season finally ends and geese regain their flight feathers, most of them are happily off to the skies and new challenges awaiting them according to their biological clock and drives.
.
In fact, yesterday morning when going to the Reservoir in Central Park, at least half of the 25 geese there during the molt had apparently packed their newly feathered wings and taken off. Whether that was to simply "pond hop" and test out their wings or actually leave Central Park for the remainder of the summer is not yet known, but for sure, some are starting to leave the molt location now. Some geese may temporarily return, but most won't -- until next year.
.
In summary, the geese can finally enjoy a few weeks out of the year of relative peace and serenity.  USDA WS goose slaughters are temporarily ended.  The whining and hysterical articles about "goose poop" and "health threats" will begin to abate.  And in most locations, harassment has yet to begin again.
.
But, rest assured the respite is only very temporary.
.
Next month, (August), "early goose hunting seasons" begin in many locations.  Stayed tuned for all the "fun" outdoors columns on those.
.
And finally, pity the geese that they have so few weeks out of the entire year to actually relax and catch their breaths. 
.
But thankfully, these upcoming few weeks are among them. -- PCA
.
.
.
                                                 *************

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Modern Goose Family -- A Seeming Anomaly


Remy, learning hard and fast, the lessons of life.
Alone and dazed on water after hard fall, Remy had to tough it out.  
Remy once again, reunited with parents -- at least for time being.
Hansel and Greta with Remy in background. "We don't have to share our parental secrets with you! We know what we're doing!"
Dinnertime.

The common adage goes, "Be careful of what you wish for. You might get it."
.
Concerned about the sharply declining resident goose population in Central Park over the past five years, in addition to aggressive goose harassment and egg destruction policies, I worried that there would be no geese at CP within 5 to 10 years. Put simply, new goslings were not being allowed to hatch to replace those geese lost to attrition in the near future.
.
It was however, pleasing and very exciting to note that despite the odds against it, three tiny goslings hatched at the Jackie Onassis Reservoir in early June!
.
But, right from the start, there was something very "different" about the particular goose family -- an anomaly, so to speak .
.
For one matter, the parent geese, ("Hansel and Greta") had the little ones swimming virtually the entire circumference of the mile and a quarter Reservoir within hours of their hatching and covering every nook and cranny amongst the jagged rocks surrounding it.
.
Even more striking than the physical workout the newly hatched (and exhausted) babies were being subjected to, was the fact, the family did not swim in typical goose formation (straight line with one parent leading and the other anchoring the back with goslings in protected middle.)  Rather, these parents simply took off on their own and the hatchlings were forced to follow, often trailing behind or wandering far off from the free-wheeling and seemingly "lackadaisical" parents.  

I and other goose watchers worried constantly over the seeming lack of vigilance and protection the three goose babies were getting from their parents. It was typical to frequently see Hansel and Greta with only one or two goslings and have to search for the missing other(s).
.
One evening, one of the tiny goslings even strayed so far from the family as to end up spending the night tagging along with another goose flock on the water. Fortunately, the next morning he was reunited back with the family, though it isn't clear if the unrelated goose flock led and dropped him off on the parents (with stern message) or Hansel and Greta actually sought him out. 
.
Under these strange and unusual circumstances, it should have come as no surprise that we sadly lost two of the three goslings within a month of their hatching -- one of them within the last two weeks.
.
Since then, I have worried about the lone, surviving gosling, "Remy."
.
Poor Remy.  Now alone with no other siblings or even goslings on the entire watercourse, she has to try and make her way in an entirely adult world that is not always so attentive and caring towards her.
.
As for Remy's parents, they have seemingly made few sacrifices to accommodate for the fact they still have a little one to look after and protect. When the mood strikes, they go and it is Remy's responsibility to follow and try to keep up. While Hansel has always demonstrated devotion and fierce protection towards his mate, Greta, his devotion towards his one surviving baby is far more questionable and mysterious.
.
At no time has this parental, "whatever will be, will be" attitude towards their offspring been more pronounced than the last week.
.
Earlier, we had several rain storms in NYC which presumably left the rocks wet and slippery. 
.
Though somewhat common to see one of the geese or goslings take a tumble on the rocks, they usually pick themselves up immediately and appear to be more embarrassed than actually hurt.
.
But, while running across rocks, Remy slipped and tumbled, head first, somersaulting backwards at least three times before finally landing hard in the water.
.
My heart leapt to throat when witnessing such a hard fall for the little one, but she appeared to have no serious or visible injury.
.
But, Remy was definitely stunned and shaken up.
.
For a long time, Remy remained alone in the water seemingly dazed and listless, barely moving.
.
Her parents (true to form) paid no mind to the event and simply continued grazing on the rocks with other geese as if nothing happened.
.
The scene reminded me of how two formerly nesting geese appeared on the water shortly before they died and I truly thought I was seeing the last of our precious little Remy.
.
But, of course there was no way to rescue Remy at the fenced-in Reservoir and I could not be certain she was actually in mortal danger or even seriously hurt.
.
And so, I decided to go home and return later in the day to check on Remy.
.
I returned to the Reservoir about 6 PM that day totally prepared for the worst. I would either not see Remy at all or would see her small, lifeless body floating on the water.
.
But, shock of shocks, Remy was again swimming a few feet behind her parents and appeared to be perfectly fine and healthy as if nothing had happened! 
.
Once again, Remy confidently bounded upon the rocks with her parents to graze, all memory of past trauma seemingly behind her. I could even imagine Remy's self-focused, "modern" parents looking up and laughing at me. "See?  What were you worried about? We knew she'd be OK. If she makes it, she makes it. If not, well, it wasn't meant to be.  She has to learn life the hard way!  We don't baby our kids!"
.
Last night too, I did not see the family at all when first going around the Reservoir and was once again convinced that we had lost our last precious gosling.
.
But, then Hansel and Greta finally showed with Remy trailing a few feet behind.
.
By that time, I was past my nineteenth nervous breakdown with this particular goose family which, from day one has never been "typical."
.
Now, with the molting season soon to end and adult geese to regain their flight feathers, I worry if Hansel and Greta will simply take off with the other geese, leaving poor flightless Remy behind to "learn life the hard way?"  After all, self sacrifice (for the sake of their kids) doesn't seem to be these parents thing.
.
Of all the nesting geese at Central Park this year who either died or whose eggs were oiled and failed to hatch, how ironic was it that these two actually nested successfully? 
.
Or, was it really so ironic at all?
.
One wonders if there is reason for this miracle hatching, other than luck and/or randomness? Moreover, what could account for this seeming change in "normal" parental goose behavior?  Are Hansel and Greta simply "bad" or youthful, inexperienced goose parents?  Or, is this change in parental style some kind of peculiar adaptation to the stresses that most geese have to endure these days from hunting pressures, to cullings, to harassment and egg destruction?
.
Could it be that some "modern" goose parents now surmise that their goslings have to learn toughness and independence from day one in order to ultimately survive?  Are they willing to lose most of their offspring in order to insure that the ones who do survive are capable of withstanding anything, including near parental detachment? 
.
I don't personally know the answers to any of the above questions as nothing observed in this particular goose family resembles that previously observed and reported in others.
.
But, I do know that what was wished for and actually occurred, turned out to be nothing of what was actually anticipated or expected.
.
Rather, this "modern" goose family has mostly served to raise an infinite number of questions that could only be answered by observations of and comparisons to others.
.
For the moment, Hansel and Greta are keeping their secrets and keeping this one perplexed goose watcher guessing and worried for their one surviving baby.
.
If Remy makes it to adulthood, that will be the real miracle as she will have survived everything, including parental detachment. -- PCA
.
.
.
                                              ***********

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Definition of "Some" -- Wildlife Services' Angers the Heartland



Though Wildlife Services claimed that it was going to capture and gas "some" of the geese at Ohio's Mill Creek Park, it shoved entire goose families into gas chambers resulting in more than 90% of the park's resident goose population wiped out.  

As a nation frequently described as "red state, blue state" due to polarizing political views, one thing that appears to unite much of the country, regardless of liberal or conservative persuasion is grief and outrage over USDA (APHIS) wildlife slaughters.   

.

The latest community to experience the "shock and awe" of Wildlife Services' brutal goose roundups and gassings is Youngstown, Ohio where on June 26th, agents from WS swooped into Mill Creek Park (which is part of Metro Park's more than 4,000 acres) to capture and gas nearly all of its Canada geese and goslings (total of 238).
.
.
.
(Distraught community members have since set up a Facebook page to (13) Save the Wildlife in Mill Creek Park which in only a couple of weeks, has garnered 1700 supporters.)
.
Killing of goslings is particularly peculiar in this case because park officials claim to have destroyed eggs and used other means to contain goose population.  Were that so, why were there goslings at all? 
.
No explanation is given for separating the goslings from their parents and then shoving entire families into gas chambers, despite assurances in a WS press release and newspaper article that only "some" geese would be killed.
.
.
.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) official, Laura Graber (who issued permit for the kill) originally projected that  75 geese would be captured and gassed. (Big difference between 75 and 238.) Graber later expressed "surprise" at the number of geese WS actually killed, adding, "But, its whatever is here on day of roundup that gets removed."
.
WS doesn't usually operate on the premise and plan of "whatever."  (It would be interesting to see the actual goose killing contract that was signed between USDA WS and ODNR.)  Rather, WS is usually quite precise in both, its estimation of goose numbers and how many they intend to kill. This is usually necessary to know how many corrals and crates to bring.
.
According to the article below, sections of the park were closed off for 12 hours on June 26th and WS showed up at 4:45 am.  While cameras were allowed at the "staging area" and show geese rounded up and corralled, they were not allowed at the gassing site.  (So how does media claim "euthanasia" if barred from actually witnessing?)   One has to wonder what about this particular goose kill was "controlled" other than keeping media and  pedestrians away from the actual killing process and keeping the general public in the dark about plans for a goose killing at all. (i.e. public notification and input.)  
.
.
Rather, it seems that when WS goes on its wildlife killing sprees, it doesn't know when to stop -- even when giving seeming assurances to community officials and announcing in press releases, otherwise.
.
As debate in the 90's might have been over what the definition of "is" is, debate in this particular debacle might be over what the definition of "some" is.
.
More than 90% of the geese being killed in an area doesn't seem to represent, "some."  Nor does "whatever is there" signify some as much as it represents eradication.  
.
So, as still another community grapples with the distortions, obfuscations, euphemisms and unwanted wildlife massacres of USDA WS (in conjunction with park officials), one thing is becoming abundantly clear:
.
Whether old, young, Republican, Democrat, male or female, people from one coast to the other (including the heartland) are experiencing the lethal and extreme reaches of USDA Wildlife Services and seeming to express in unison and one voice, their extreme displeasure with and dislike of it.
.
Certainly, there is no natural predator in nature that would swoop into a location and virtually wipe out all of an existing species.
.
"Some" is never or nearly all (except apparently, in Wildlife Services' definition). -- PCA
.
.
.
                                            **********
                                                                 **************

Monday, July 14, 2014

One Big Gym and Stage -- Bring It On, Central Park!



Duck weed covered Turtle Pond this morning at Central Park. But, where are the ducks?
It was just announced on the Central Park Facebook page (102) Central Park that due to predicted rain storms tonight, the scheduled concert at The Great Lawn is canceled.
.
The concert was was supposed to be accompanied by fireworks.  (Apparently, there was another concert and fireworks on July 11th -- a few days ago).
.
In comment, I asked if the Conservancy ever considers the stressful and frightening impacts of exploding fireworks on the park's wildlife?
.
Apparently not, as fireworks displays are quite common in Central Park. -- Screw the wildlife presumably.
.
Also from the same Central Park, Facebook page:
.
"Professional trainers utilize the most beautiful gym in the world, Central Park, and help you to achieve your fitness goals."
.
I thanked Central Park for finally acknowledging that the park is mostly, one big gym. Some of us were dumb enough to believe it to be a place of nature and tranquility.
.
It has been stunning to walk through Central Park in recent months and notice, what seems the disappearance of virtually all of the park's former ducks and geese.
.
Particularly baffling are duck weed covered lakes and ponds (such as Harlem Meer and Turtle Pond) with barely any ducks on them.
.
But, perhaps one should not be stunned at all.
.
Though not visiting the Central Park, Facebook page on a regular basis, the few times one does, it is filled with all kinds of entertainment, fishing, and sporting event promotions, occasionally mixed with a few photos of flowers.
.
One might think it the web site for Coney Island or the New York City Sports Club. I can't wait for the announcement of hot dog eating contests or the construction of a giant roller coaster or sports arena.  What could be better, after all, than to have the Super Bowl at Central Park?   Just think of the crowds it could pull in then!
.
Unfortunately, all of these things don't appear to be attractants for water birds or wildlife.
.
Exploding fireworks particularly freak out any birds who can still fly and get away as fast as possible.
.
So, it seems most just avoid coming to Central Park in the first place.
.
But, perhaps the real problem is me.   I am the odd one out. The grumpy "curmudgeon" who doesn't get off on 24/7 entertainment or running 7 marathons in 7 days or dodging between speeding runners and cyclists while trying to cross the East Park Drive (which is actually a sporting event in itself). 
.
How dare I after all, go to a park expecting to find nature and tranquility?
.
Bring on the Super Bowl, Central Park!  Or, World Series or World Cup or Tour de America or maybe even World War Three!  Yeah, lets have it all out on one big stage! 
.
How is that for real fireworks?
.
The more the merrier, as they say.  -- PCA
.
.
.
                                            ***********     

Sunday, July 13, 2014

And Then There Was One


   Both of her siblings now lost, Remy survives to face an uncertain future.
Remy, with her parents this morning at the Jackie Onassis Reservoir in Central Park.
Sometimes, even when we perceive of ourselves as generally perceptive and aware, something happens out of the blue, that we just didn't see coming at all.
.
Such has occurred over the past few days. 
.
Two nights ago, I received a phone call from fellow goose observer, Nita. 
.
"Patty, I'm here at the Reservoir for nearly an hour and am only seeing one gosling!"
.
"Well, have your walked around the entire Reservoir?" I asked skeptically.  "You know how these two goslings like to wander off."
.
"No, I have a bad knee. But, the family is usually here on the East Side and I only see the parents and one gosling."
.
"Nita, I'm sure the gosling has simply strayed again. Maybe he is with one of the other goose flocks. It wouldn't be the first time that has happened. I'm coming over in about a half hour and will check the rest of the Reservoir.  Don't worry.  I'm sure he is fine!"
.
I realized I had sounded a bit harsh to my friend and regretted that. I was trying to be consoling, but the news that we might have lost another gosling was worrisome and unwelcomed. -- Something I did not want to even contemplate, much less have to realize.
.
I arrived at the Reservoir shortly before 8 PM and met Nita and another concerned goose watcher, Edward.  Both were looking down upon the goose family on the water that was then missing still another gosling. 
.
"No sign of our wandering baby yet?" I asked.
.
"No, not at all," came the reply from both Nita and Edward with the latter adding that he had just walked around the Reservoir and had seen nothing.
.
"Well, perhaps he is resting or wandering among some of the tall brush on the rocks. The plants are so high, it could be easy to miss him. I'll walk around before it gets dark and get back to you."
.
I simply could not conceive of anything bad happening to either of the goslings. They had rapidly grown over the past few weeks and were very quick, both on the rocks and in the water.  The missing gosling just had to be somewhere along the mile and quarter stretch of the Reservoir.  I was sure I would find him!
.
But, more than a half hour later and after searching seemingly every nook and cranny along the mile and quarter route, I too, had come up with nothing.
.
It was like the gosling had just disappeared into thin air.
.
I met up with Nita and Edward again and shared the disappointment.
.
"What do you think might have happened?" I asked, feeling totally mystified.
.
Edward theorized that perhaps a raccoon attacked and killed the gosling, but I had doubts about that.
.
"I think if raccoons were a real threat, the ducks would not so freely walk among them," I pondered. "And the goslings are almost as big as mallards now."
.
But Edward said he saw a raccoon jump the back of an adult goose and was somewhat convinced of their aggression.
.
Aware that there is a protective mother raccoon with four babies in the area, its possible a mama raccoon might perceive an adult goose as "threat," but I still couldn't perceive a raccoon attacking a half grown gosling.  It didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
.
But, the fact was, I had no explanation for the vanished gosling so almost anything was possible -- Snapping Turtle. Hawk. Raccoon, take your pick.
.
But, I still preferred to think that "Rover" (my name for the bigger of the two goslings then missing) had simply wandered off (again) and would mysteriously turn up as he always did in the past.
.
As the sun had already set and the three of us were then looking at what was a very peaceful and lovely scene of a number of ducks, geese and one gosling swimming on the tranquil water, it was simply impossible to think that anything bad could happen at what was really, the safest place for water birds in all of Central Park (or perhaps even New York City in its entirety).  
.
Nita, Edward and I all vowed not to give up hope.  I assured them I would return to the Reservoir early the next morning and get back to them with any news. 
.
Not wanting to believe what I was actually seeing, I convinced myself that Rover would again be found the next day, safe and sound with the family.
.
But, that did not happen either yesterday morning or today.
.
There is no question now that Rover is gone -- just like the third gosling who similarly vanished when only a couple of weeks old.
.
That was, however, more understandable when the little ones were so tiny and vulnerable.  Much harder to fathom now when the two surviving goslings were seemingly past the most dangerous point in their lives.  Both had adapted so well to any threats in their environment and were quick to dive under the water or flee from rocks when perceiving any real or potential danger.  
.
So, what could have changed now?  It's a complete and baffling mystery there is no ready explanation for.
.
Walking around the Reservoir this morning, I thought of how "different" this particular goose family was and is from others I had witnessed in the past and even the other goose family currently at the Boat Lake of whom Liliana describes, "Tighter than a rubber band!"  The two goslings (only a couple of weeks old) and their extremely protective, watchful parents are according to Liliana, never more than a couple of feet apart.
.
But, from practically the day they hatched, all three Reservoir goslings had tendency to wander far from their parents and freely explore to their own adventures. 
.
Now, for two of the three babies, their sense of independence and curiosity has apparently cost their lives.
.
I feel particularly concerned for "Remy" the now one surviving gosling of the three. Not only has Remy lost her two siblings, but there are no other goslings at the Reservoir among the total of 25 geese. She quite literally has no one go grow up with.
.
That could become a critical factor in Remy's overall survival next spring when the parents again seek to nest and "push the kids from the nest."  Usually, the yearling siblings stay with each other during the spring and molting seasons.   But, who will Remy flock with next spring, assuming she survives till then? That is an unanswerable question.
.
When the "miracle" goslings first hatched, I felt relief that the future for resident Canada geese at Central Park was at least somewhat assured with the birth of new life to later replace those resident geese lost to attrition and old age in the coming years. 
.
But, with aggressive goose harassment and egg addling practices conducted at Central Park, along with the now loss of two out of three goslings at the Reservoir, such assurance is not guaranteed.
.
All hope for the future now flatly rests with the two surviving goslings at the Boat Lake and the pitiful "loner" gosling, Remy, whose chances for overall survival are now greatly diminished.
.
Over recent years, I have become more than aware of our city's relentless and seemingly vicious and non-sensical, "War on resident Canada geese."  I further thought myself more than perceptive and anticipatory of all the bad things that could possibly happen to geese in our city, from USDA WS goose massacres to whitewash news articles, to seemingly non-stop harassment and egg destruction.
.
However, to quote a line from a James Taylor song, "But, I always thought I would see you again."
.
Yes, I always thought I would see little Rover again and again and again.
.
I could simply not perceive of anything bad happening to the few little goslings for whom the entire future of resident Canada geese in the crown jewel of city parks lays.
.
Sometimes, just when you think yourself aware and anticipatory of almost anything bad, something happens that just completely rocks your world and shows how naive you really are.
.
Snapping Turtle? Hawk? Raccoon?
.
In a world of so much human-caused grief, who would after all, think that it might be a part of nature itself that ultimately takes out one of its own?
.
It was the one factor I never considered, but am forced to now.
.
But, even scarier than that thought is the question of whether we will one day be looking at Central Park and realizing that we are down to the last resident goose?
.
"And then there was one," indeed.   -- PCA
.
.
.
                                                  *************
                                                                 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Central Park Goose Rescued; Treated for Lead Poisoning


Ranger as she appeared last week at Central Park's Boat Lake. Now sickly and being treated for lead poisoning at the Wild Bird Fund in New York City. Her prognosis is guarded.  
Yesterday, one of the geese at the Central Park Boat Lake appeared ill, underweight and lethargic and was rescued by an observant park goer.  Liliana handed the goose over to a park ranger who then took her to The Wild Bird Fund where "Ranger" is now being tube fed and treated for suspected lead poisoning as her levels are very high.
.
Lead poisoning is apparently a common malady affecting many wild and water birds.
.
.
I share this story because of the nonsense we are constantly being fed by USDA WS and media about "donating geese to food pantries."
.
I brought up this issue to Daily News writer, Lisa Colangelo yesterday and also allude to it in yesterday's blog posting.
.
.
As shared earlier, we lost two nesting geese in the spring at CP that showed signs similar to Ranger (lethargy, anorexia, disorientation, loss of weight).  Unfortunately, due to the location of the geese (Reservoir), it was not possible to rescue before they died.  Necropsies were never conducted on the geese to determine what they actually died from, but lead poisoning and malnutrition (from harsh winter) are strong possibilities.  Lead poisoning also may have been a factor in the death of Cago last fall at Harlem Meer.
.
Both, Harlem Meer and the Boat Lake are locations of heavy fishing activities at Central Park.  Although the CP Conservancy posts signs forbidding the use of lead fishing tackle at Harlem Meer, no such signs are posted at the Boat Lake.
.
It would nearly be laughable to think of "donating" birds for human consumption that have been exposed to high levels of lead, mercury, pesticides and other environmental contaminants, were it not in fact, highly questionable and seemingly irresponsible. 
.
That geese are generally feverish and unwell when going through the molt during the early summer weeks makes these so-called, "donations" even more suspect and unfathonable.  Even hunters don't shoot and eat geese when the birds are undergoing their flightless, sickly period.
.
This, once again is a rough summer in New York City with regards to our forever maligned and tormented geese, hundreds of whom have already been captured by USDA Wildlife (Extermination) Services and sent for slaughter or gassing with nary a word in the media about it.
.
Sadly and inexcusably, the one article appearing in today's Daily News attempts positive spin on the carnage by assuring readers the geese are "usually donated to food pantries."
.
Asked of the Daily News journalist yesterday, "Considering the high levels of mercury, lead, environmental contaminants and occasional gun pellets in geese, would you feed them to your children?"
.
I never received an answer to that question.
.
It is too soon to know if Ranger, the sweet and human-trusting goose now being treated at The Wild Bird Fund for lead poisoning will in fact, survive.
.
What should not survive however, are the myriad of excuses that governmental agencies and media "cook up" for both, killing the geese and dumping their ravaged body parts on unsuspecting and impoverished consumers.
.
Let it be realized that certain repeated governmental and media phrases like "removal," "euthanasia" and "feeding the hungry" are truly loaded and do much to brainwash and influence people's thinking on an issue.  In some cases, they serve as anesthesia for the public.
.
Very strange that it is we, the public that is being "anesthetized" and not the birds actually suffering and being sent in high heat in crammed trucks to their unwarranted deaths.
.
And even for those, like Ranger, who survive expanded hunting seasons, rough winters and WS goose slaughters, there are the chemical residues, toxins, lead shot, debris and other pollutants that we continually dump into their environment.
.
Its a wonder any of the animals survive at all.  -- PCA
.
.
.
                                                ***********