Monday, September 1, 2014

Never Really a Right Time.....


My beautiful and forever free-spirited and exuberant Tina. May her spirit run free now in place without pain, boundaries and limitations.
My daughter, Tara who had visited over the holiday weekend left to return home a couple of hours ago. 
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It was completely joyous to finally spend some quality time with her. -- Every second was precious gift.
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But, sadly, we had to face extremely hard and wrenching decision last night.
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My (according to Animal Care and Control), 23-year-old dog, Tina had rapidly been declining over these many months and especially, the last few weeks.
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It wasn't a case of cancer or some other painful, terminal disease, but rather, the slow failure of multiple organ system abilities along with the ravages of very advanced age.
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Tina could no longer walk on the street without her back legs giving out and she falling over. Near blindness was causing her to sometimes walk into things and also topple over. But, worst of all were the past couple of days when Tina was unable to get up from sitting position and struggled helplessly. Despite my helping her when witnessing the struggle, Tina was unable to get to a special elimination area and soiled herself several times.
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She also showed no interest in food over past two days -- something never witnessed in Tina over almost 18 years.
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My daughter offered to return to the city next week to assist me in taking Tina to my vet for the final time. But, it was then I realized, Tina would probably not make it to next week. She was already exhibiting neurological symptoms, panting and some suggestion of seizures.
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I could not continue to helplessly watch Tina suffer with the inevitable outcome being that of a terrifying, convulsive death, likely within days. 
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With Tara's help, we were able to get a cab late last night and took Tina to the Animal Medical Center.
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Our vet was extremely competent, caring, kind and compassionate. We were given time to spend with Tina and to pray.  When the time came, the vet knelt down to Tina on the floor (rather than lifting her to table and stressing her out) and administered a shot of proplow (powerful anesthetic) intravenously.  I gently petted Tina as she lowered her head and vet administered second shot for euthanasia.   Tina was peacefully gone in seconds without any hint of pain or distress.
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It was then I realized Tina was gone forever and I "lost it."  I greatly needed my daughter and was grateful she was there for comfort and solace.  It seemed we were at AMC for hours, but it was actually far less.
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Though the night was warm and sticky, we walked more than 30 blocks home because it somehow helped to just walk and talk and share memories of Tina.  -- Happy and even funny memories.
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There was the memory of when I first saw Tina up for adoption at the Manhattan city pound (Animal Care and Control) in 1997.  I can still see the happy smile on the "5-year-old," Corgi/Spitz's face as I said to Jesse, the then, New Hope (Rescue) Coordinator for AC&C, "Oh my, what a beautiful dog! She should get adopted in a snap!  But, just in case, she doesn't, please put my name on her."
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During the next two weeks, I kept seeing Tina in the same cage each time I went to the shelter to rescue a cat or dog. It was shocking that such a friendly, cheerful and gorgeous small dog would still be languishing in an adoption cage. But, in those days very few people actually went to AC&C to adopt.
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Then, one day I got the inevitable phone call from Jesse.
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"Patty, you know that dog you requested your name on?  She is on the Euth list for tonight because she is very sick with Kennel Cough.  You need to get here within 20 minutes if you want to take her."
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"Oh no!  Don't let anything happen to her!" I practically screamed into the phone.  "I'm jumping in a cab and will there within ten minutes!"
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Fortunately, Tina was still alive when I bolted into the shelter, though looking nothing like the happy, vibrant dog observed over the previous two weeks. 
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Rather, there were ropes of drool trailing from her mouth and green snot dripping from her nose. Tina, in short, looked a mess, though her lively spirit was not in the least, dampened or diminished.
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In fact, drool, green snot and all, Tina practically pulled me all the way home.
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Though initially the plan was to foster and care for Tina until she recovered and could be spayed in preparation for adoption, all that changed within weeks.
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Long story short, I fell in love with Tina. Along with other circumstances at the time, I removed Tina from adoption listings almost as soon as she had been spayed and put on.
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Tina was mine and wasn't going anywhere.
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So began a relationship of nearly 18 years.
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There were times the ever exuberant, leash pulling and initially difficult to housebreak dog frustrated with her tendencies to run off and not respond to "come" commands. (Tina could in fact, never be trusted off leash because of her independent spirit and easy distractibility.) There was the one time when Tina acting like a "protective" dog suddenly lurched at what she perceived threat, causing me to fall and break my wrist. And there were the occasional times when Tina became jealous and unaccepting of a particular foster dog.  (A certain, high strung female Pekingese named, "Nina" comes most readily to mind.)
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But, on total, Tina was always the "happy" liberated spirit for whom almost nothing (including a sickness inducing stint at the city pound) could bring down. 
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That is, until the last few months when slowly realizing her diminished capacities, Tina had to accept the losses of so much we used to do together -- especially, the nearly 3 mile walks in Central Park everyday.
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Despite vet visits and medications (which helped for a while) those once three mile walks eventually became difficult struggles just to walk up the block.
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Worst of all, the always independent, free-spirited Tina especially hated me carrying her up and down the stairs. It seemed her final humiliation.
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Now, all of that is gone.  Gone with two quick injections of the needle.
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Everything is suddenly eerily quiet, especially with my daughter now gone too as the Labor Day holiday comes to an end.
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It is very hard getting used to my home without Tina. Her presence here for almost 18 years was part of my very soul.
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But, in the end, we have to make these horrible decisions not for what is more bearable to us, but for what finally brings peace -- the only kind we ultimately can offer -- to our beloved animals.
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That is, after all our final responsibility to them -- to insure that they leave this world with the same sense of love and care we shared throughout their lives and without the terror and suffering that comes too often to those who die alone.
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I am grateful that at least Tina had that.
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Finally, I am grateful to still have my 18-year-old Pomeranian, Chance, who is at this moment, resting comfortably at my feet.  Though appearing a bit bewildered, it doesn't seem quite yet, Chance realizes his long time canine girlfriend is gone.  
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Hopefully, to carry on without too much grief and trauma, though only time alone can tell that.
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I am finally grateful for the comfort and solace provided by my daughter (and others) during these recent trying times. As per suggestion, it became all too painfully clear over the past few days, Tina was "letting me know."  It was important to observe, take that in and finally make that wrenching decision for which there is never really, the right time.
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I can only hope and pray now that the beautiful spirit of Tina is romping somewhere freely, unhampered by pain and age, but rather vibrant, strong and happy as I so remember her. Perhaps she has even found a few of her former "foster" friends (both dog and cat) with whom she enjoyed brief, but especially happy and rewarding comradery. 
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Tina was and always will be a very special dog. A cheerful pal and mentor to many, but part of very soul and existence to me.  Her loss is nearly insurmountable.
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May God treasure and forever protect and hold dear, Tina's indomitable, free and happy spirit.  I have to trust and have faith now that such is so.  -- PCA
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bozi -- A Case Study of Grief in Animals


Bozi: After losing his nesting mate early in the spring, Bozi remained in the same area of the Jackie Onassis Reservoir for months. Though there was opportunity to join with other flocks and perhaps even find a new mate, Bozi chose to remain alone. Three months apparently not sufficient time to mourn and mend a broken heart.
Scientists are just beginning to catch up to what many of us have known for decades. 
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That is that yes, animals think, feel, organize, grieve and even plan as the Time magazine piece below attests to.
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Anyone doubting that need only observe Canada geese for a period of time. Their utter devotion to mates and offspring, their intricate social orders and hierarchy, their organization and cooperation, not only with their own species, but others as well. All of these point to a species that is highly social and adaptable to environment and changing circumstances, as well as consciously aware of what behaviors and actions to incorporate for optimum species survival.
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But, as the Time piece points out, what is true of geese is also true of many other species. 
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Certainly, the most bodies of scientific evidence to this point exist for dolphins, whales, elephants, the great apes, dogs, cats and others. But, that is only because these have been the most studied species.
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The goal of this blog has been to also study (and log) the behaviors of Canada geese.
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Time and again, geese have (also) demonstrated grief over the loss of mates, offspring  and family members.  While in most cases, such grief is, in time replaced by the stressors of nature to "move on and adapt" this is not always true.  

Sometimes the grief and mourning is prolonged. 
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One recent case of not quickly adapting and "moving on" is Bozi, the gander whose nesting mate, Floozie perished over this past spring at the Jackie Onassis Reservoir in Central Park.
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For weeks after the death of his beloved, Bozi patrolled the Reservoir, constantly calling out. His honks were long, eerie, hollow and somewhat reminiscent of a coyote howling at the moon. Certainly, they were nothing like the short and excitable honks usually heard from geese, particularly when in flight.
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Finally seeming to realize that Floozie was lost for good and never to return, Bozi eventually "tagged along" with another goose pair (John and Mary) on the water, though he always maintained respectful distance from the established couple.
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Around that time, other geese began arriving at the Reservoir in preparation for the molting season. (Period of six weeks when geese lose and regrow their flight feathers.)
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It was my hope then that Bozi would join up with one of the several flocks of geese that stayed at the Reservoir during the molt as that is what nature would presumably compel him to do.
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As there was a total of 26 geese at the Reservoir during the molt, it became difficult to differentiate Bozi from the other geese or for that matter, even decipher John and Mary.
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It was simply hoped and assumed Bozi would assimilate himself with others and perhaps even find a new mate.
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But, imagine the personal shock to discover Bozi alone on the water once again, after the other geese had left when regaining their flight feathers.
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The only other geese still remaining on the Reservoir post molting season were Hansel, Greta and their sadly doomed gosling at the time, Remy.
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Sadly, Remy (like the two goslings before her) also perished mostly likely due to egg addling which stifled and impacted normal development in the eggs. While Hansel and Greta remained at the Reservoir for at least a week following the loss of their last gosling, they eventually had to accept their losses and move on as nature compelled them to do.
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But, not so, Bozi who still remained stubbornly and steadfastly on the Reservoir, this time, utterly alone.
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I did not know what to make of this unusual and quite frankly, disturbing situation and for that reason, did not write of it in this blog. Put simply, I didn't know how to or exactly what to say.
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Nothing appeared to be physically wrong with Bozi that would prevent him from moving on with the other geese and otherwise explain the bizarre situation. 
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But, apparently the wound in his heart had never healed -- even over the three months from losing his mate and even the numerous opportunities to join with other geese or even find a new mate.
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For at least two weeks, I continued to see Bozi each evening patrolling lazily at the north east side of the Reservoir -- not far from where his ill fated mate had nested. He always recognized me and came in greeting. I would toss some cracked corn to Bozi and he would saunter on the rocks to eat.   But, I think that was more to placate me than due to any particular hunger.
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Still, I remained baffled and without explanation for why Bozi did not seem to realize the importance of finding other geese to flock with. As noted many times in this blog, the future is indeed grim for "loner" geese without other geese to at least tag along and loaf with.  
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Then one evening I went to the Reservoir to find the north east side of the running path that surrounds it, cordoned off from the public due to restoration work.  There was no way of going to the area where Bozi usually was found in the water.
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I walked to the far north side of the Reservoir (where the running path was still open to the public) to peer over the water, but could not see Bozi anywhere in the distance.
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I continued to do this for some nights, but it was the same story.  Bozi finally seemed to be gone.
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I am not sure if it was all the extra work activity occurring on the running path that finally spooked or prompted Bozi into leaving or something else, but he was nowhere to be found.
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Moreover, I don't know where Bozi might have gone.
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With the exception of the Boat Lake in Central Park, the other watercourses have been devoid of geese.  But, I know Bozi did not go to the Boat Lake, as it is the same 7 geese who have been there all summer.
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And so the mystery continues.  Why did Bozi not leave with the other geese when regaining flight?  Why did he not take advantage of opportunity to join other geese and find a possible new mate?  Why did he not seem to realize -- or care -- about the importance of doing these things?
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Finally, did nature ultimately prevail and did Bozi finally make the moves necessary to survive?  Or did he perhaps suddenly perish?
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I cannot answer any of these questions with any kind of certainty.
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What does seem certain in the sharing of this story is that in some geese, even three months is not time sufficient to mourn and "get over" the loss of a loved one.
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And so I say to the writer of the Time magazine piece, "It is not just elephants, dolphins or the great apes, but many other animals as well who think, feel and grieve -- perhaps, most notably, Canada geese."
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As for we humans, the irrefutable and mounting scientific evidence demonstrating how other species of animals think, feel, communicate, grieve, plan, organize and in some cases, even name each other (something I also believe true of Canada geese from personal observances) present us with enormous ethical challenge and moral dilemma for the future.  
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For if compelled to finally face the truth about other animals, it also compels us to examine and reevaluate our behaviors towards and treatments of them which to this point, have been noting short of abominable throughout the ages.  -- PCA
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Where the Geese Are......


"The Family." -- Daddy to the left. Mama and now grown goslings on right.
Mama (top) daughter, left and son, right.
Gaggle of three geese given bum's rush by Daddy gander (far lower right)
"The banished three."
Family watching other geese on water.
"Lady" -- mama goose.
One of the banished three warily returning -- after family left.
 Of all the false charges against Canada geese, the one I personally find most bizarre is that geese "chase out other birds." Nothing could be further from the truth -- or at least generally speaking, that is.   But, more about this later...... 
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These days one has to look long and hard to find Canada geese in Central Park.
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Since the molting season ended and the geese left the Jackie Onassis Reservoir (where most of them stayed during their six week flightless period), virtually all of Central Park watercourses have been devoid of geese with the exception of the Boat Lake.
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But, it is not only 7 geese at the Boat Lake (One family of four geese and a gaggle of three) but it seems also, most of Central Park's mallards!
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Put simply, where one finds geese, there are also the other birds.
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Recent visits to the Boat Lake found not only geese and ducks, but also flocks of pigeons, sparrows, a few cardinals and other birds flittering about. The area on the north side of the Boat Lake (and Rambles) is in fact, like a small Avery these days. 
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While geese are generally very peaceful and accepting of other birds, there is a definite hierarchy among them.  At the very top of that hierarchy are parent geese with goslings.
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Put simply, families rule in the goose world.
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The Boat Lake geese are no exception to this very hard and steadfast rule.
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The gaggle of three geese are constantly on the look-out for the family of four and are completely beholden to them.
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As soon as the parent geese and their two (now fully grown) goslings arrive to a location, the three adult geese have to immediately leave in deference to the family.  Should they fail to do so quickly enough, the gander of the family aggressively goes after and sends them flying to the water.  
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There, the banished three remain until such time the family finally decides to leave and then they can safely return to the site.   
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But, it is not only the gander of the family who engages in harassment behaviors in order to protect mate and offspring, but the hen, as well.   While its the gander's "job" to go after other geese or predatory threat, Mama goose's job apparently is to keep smaller birds away from goslings, such as ducks or pigeons. (Or, it could be that the mama of these particular goslings is especially vigilant and protective. "Lady" after all, went through a lot to finally hatch these two goslings. Lady is on constant vigil, as is her gander, "Man.") 
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For their part, the two goslings (who are now almost nine weeks old and fully developed), have taken on much of the parents' behaviors, including high vigilance and loyalty to the family. It appears that one of the goslings is a boy and the other a girl based upon size and behaviors.
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Though neither I nor Liliana (the regular observer of the Boat Lake water birds) have seen the goslings flying yet, it is foregone conclusion that the parents will soon be teaching them to do so as it appears the young now have flight feathers and should have full flight capability.
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But, mostly what we are seeing now is once again, the highly ingrained patterns of hierarchy in geese (high status vs low status) based upon established mated pairs and especially, the presence of goslings.  Unpaired geese and especially any "loners" are at the very bottom of goose totem poles.
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While to casual observers, such hierarchies may at times appear "aggressive" or even mean, (in terms of "chasing other birds") they serve purpose in terms of survival of the species itself. It is after all, the mated pairs and protection and survival of their offspring that guarantee perpetuation of the species. But, it is never a case of geese being "aggressive" for aggressive sake. When not paired up for mating and/or raising young, geese are among the most peaceful and welcoming birds on the planet to others. Were that not so, other birds would not flock to and be so comfortable around geese -- even when there is an established goose family. 
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Like other geese, the mallards and other birds quickly learn and just seem to "know" to keep respectful distance from the family and all will be cool.  If not, they have to be prepared to lose a few feathers. But, even that is better than losing life.
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I personally believe that other birds like hanging with the geese because of the extra measure of security and vigilance that the geese provide.  -- Just watch out for the gander, his missus and their growing "brats." 
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Family rules in the goose world and that often seems true on entire watercourses and to all the birds on them. -- PCA
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Friday, August 15, 2014

Under Cover of Darkness, They Fly and Gently Land


Depressed, I was about to turn away and leave when suddenly a flock of nine flew in and landed gently on the water.
And then the geese were joined by a flock of mallards.
While it was painful to witness all three goslings perish at the Reservoir this summer and assume it was due to natural predation, it is stunning and sickening to realize they were doomed from day one due to the "Get the Flock Out!" goose harassment and egg destruction policies of Central and other NYC parks. (See previous blog entries.)
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Tonight I looked out over a silent and desolate, Jackie Onassis Reservoir with no water birds on it.
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Depressed and feeling hopeless, I turned to leave when suddenly a flock of 9 geese flew in and landed on the water to roost for the evening.
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Less than a minute after the geese enthusiastically arrived, a flock of mallards also flew in and landed close to the geese.  (This after USDA "Wildlife Services" claimed that one of the reasons they killed all the geese at PP in 2010 was because they kept out the ducks. What an outrageous lie that is.) 
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They are all in a battle for their lives in New York City and the geese and mallards seem to know it. 
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And yet, with perennial determination and will to carry on, they float wistfully through clouds and with the cover of darkness, to gently land on water and joyfully announce, "We are here! We are here!"
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Hope springs eternal -- even through the otherwise madness, intolerance and blindness of our own species. -- PCA 
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Writing on the Wall for Geese and Other Wildlife of New York City Parks?


The two miracle goslings of the Boat Lake in Central Park with parents bringing up the rear. Sadly, the Reservoir goslings were ultimately among the many human created casualties. These goslings only hatched due to sheer determination and extraordinary efforts of the parents.
One of the seven-week-old goslings. 
"Daddy" keeping watch while mom and babies graze.
It appears that Hansel and Greta, the bereaved parents of the three ill-fated goslings from the Jackie Onassis Reservoir in Central Park have finally given up all hope for their last lost youngster and left the Reservoir -- presumably to join with other geese and find better food sources.  
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They however, deserve great respect and admiration for not having abandoned Remy,  their last gosling, when it was abundantly clear to them she would not ultimately survive. 
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The reason for proclaiming the above is based upon a visit to the Boat Lake in Central Park yesterday and finally seeing the family with two goslings there. 
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These goslings hatched on June 28th -- more than three weeks after the three goslings at the Reservoir.
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When arriving to the area of Bow Bridge yesterday, I saw, what appeared to be a flock of four adult geese in the water.
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But, as they swam closer, two of the geese were slightly smaller and one had bits of down still on her head.  It was clear this was the family of four.
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I was able to get many photos of the family as they were never more than a couple of feet apart from each other, whether on water or land. The parents were extremely watchful and protective of their young ones.  
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The nearly seven-week-old, Boat Lake goslings are almost fully grown, robust and strong, with developed flight feathers and adult coloring -- including clearly defined chin straps and pure white bottoms and bellies.  They appear ready to fly.
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Tragically, though she was far older than the Boat Lake goslings, we did not see such rapid (and normal) development in Remy, the last gosling at the Reservoir. On the contrary, Remy was only slightly larger than mallards and was still covered in mostly yellowish down with colors only starting to change and wings beginning to develop when she suddenly perished ten days ago. 
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Most startling however, regarding the Reservoir goose family, was that the behavior of the three goslings (and parents, to some degree) was never consistent with what we almost always see in goose families.
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I tried to attribute the atypical behavior to parents possibly being very young or goslings being unusually adventurous and independent. But, all along I had concerns about what seemed the slow growth and development of the hatchlings (though only having witnessed two other goose families in the past to compare it to).  I guess I didn't want to believe anything was seriously wrong.
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But, it is very clear now that something definitely affected or interfered with the development of the Reservoir goslings -- probably while they were still in the eggs. And it is also apparent that the parents were aware of something wrong, but they obviously could not know what.  Out of duty and devotion, the parents stayed with their weakened offspring despite all the odds against them.
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Some will disagree, but I'm personally convinced that the developing babies were deprived of oxygen while in the eggs -- something that occurs in egg addling. (When "successful," egg addling results in suffocation of the developing embryo.)
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One thing we do know is that this failure to thrive had absolutely nothing to do with  raccoons, snapping turtles or any other animal predator.
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The fact is, these three goslings were doomed from the very moment they hatched.
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Though predators may have contributed to or hastened actual deaths in the end, the goslings would never have survived through the other challenges of nature. It's quite likely they never would have been able to fly as their bodies lacked the strength and robustness apparent in goslings far younger than them.
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That one gosling survived for two months suffering impairment was perhaps a miracle in itself.  We can only hope these pitiful little babies got to enjoy a little of life -- though this had to be ultimately far more heart wrenching for the parents than had the eggs never hatched at all.
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Some have doubted my claims about egg addling at the Central Park Reservoir, but as previously noted, more than 30 goose eggs have been laid at the Reservoir over the past two years and only three hatched. Moreover, two nesting hens died from unknown illness this year shortly after laying eggs.
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And we now know now that something obviously affected and/or interfered with the development of the three Reservoir hatchlings -- something not due to animal predation.
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Returning to the Boat lake goose family, it should be noted that "Lady," (the Mother goose), laid ten eggs before these two finally hatched.  The first clutch of five eggs were lost in rain storm. A second clutch of three eggs disappeared.  Finally, Lady apparently laid two more and these eggs hatched even to the great surprise of a dedicated goose watcher. (Guess is, that it was not anticipated by Geese Police either that the hen would lay more eggs. -- These parents were very determined.) I credit my friend, Liliana for insuring that Lady and her "Man" were always well nourished even through the harsh winter. It's amazing the hen did not take ill for all the egg laying and forgoing of food.
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I share this important information in order that we not seek natural explanation for why these goslings and two nesting hens ultimately died at Reservoir this summer and spring as there was nothing "natural" about them.  While we may not know exactly what happened and when, we can eliminate blame for actual deaths to normal animal predations (as the Central Park Conservancy tried to do in "explaining" the death of Floozie, the second nesting and dead goose).  
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Its of course possible the two deceased nesting hens lacked proper nutrition and fat reserves for nesting rigors. Its also possible goslings suffered developmental impairment while in the eggs due to poor nutrition of the hen and/or genetic mutation.  
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But, adding everything up over the years, my personal deduction for such wide scale destruction is egg addling (in addition to nearly year-round goose harassment in Central Park). 
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Too many losses over the past two years to merely attribute to the whims of nature.
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Over the past two days, I have visited nearly all of the Central Park watercourses and have been shocked to find barely any ducks or geese on any of them with the exception of the Boat Lake. (There are also three other geese at the Boat Lake.) 
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It was only a few years ago when Central Park lakes and ponds would be filled with hundreds of mallards this time of year and many dozens of geese. That there are less than ten geese in all of Central Park now and only a few dozen ducks is positively stunning and unexplainable.   Apparently, as the geese go, so go most of the ducks.
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I (like others) did not want to believe that "my" park would embark on a program of zero tolerance for Canada geese, but it appears from all indications, that is exactly what is slowly happening in Central Park.  If the policy is to destroy all known goose eggs, then that alone will result in the elimination of all resident geese within five years or so as geese almost always return to their places of hatching.
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While encouraging to realize two healthy goslings hatched this year due to the sheer determination and extraordinary efforts of the parents, the fact is, two are not enough to carry on the species over the ensuing years.
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The writing is on the wall for Canada geese, not just in Central Park, but all NYC parks.
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The question is, is it also on the wall for ducks and other wildlife of our city parks?
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Among this morning's emails is one from the Central Park Conservancy boasting of their upcoming "Film Festival" in addition to various tours and improvement of the Reservoir running path.
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But, there is no mention of wildlife of any kind nor the nearly year round harassment and  destruction of the young of Canada geese.
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Perhaps it is ultimately what is not written that ultimately shouts volumes. -- PCA
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Cruel Summers at Jackie Onassis Reservoir in Central Park


Jackie Onassis Reservoir in Central Park. Beneath a beautiful picture, sadness and continued loss.
Remy in one of last photos taken of her. A day later, she mysteriously vanished and has not been seen since.
Hansel and Greta, bereaved goose parents lingering and searching, but seemingly resigned to still another loss.
We are trying to grapple with and make sense of the unexplainable.  Anything is possible, but little, if anything makes sense.
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I am writing particularly of the loss this past week of the last of the three goslings (Remy) from the Jackie Onassis Reservoir in Central Park.
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Remy's two other siblings vanished and mysteriously perished weeks earlier.  Like them, Remy also mysteriously vanished and it is difficult to figure reason why, especially considering Remy's age and size. At the time of her disappearance, Remy was larger than a mallard and was just beginning to sprout wings (though not yet capable of flying).  
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Others are speculating raccoon or snapping turtle attacks. Such explanation might seem plausible were it not for such extreme egg and goose losses over the past two years at the Reservoir.
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During the past two years, 8 pairs of geese have attempted to nest at Reservoir. Two nesting hens died within weeks of each other this year and over the two years, only three goslings hatched out of more than 30 eggs laid. Add to that, the losses of all three goslings within two months of hatching this year. 
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To me, these kinds of extreme and unnatural losses are not explained by snapping turtles or raccoons alone. Though I have seen snapping turtles at the Central Park Boat Lake and been told they exist at Reservoir, I have never actually seen one there. As for raccoons, I have never seen one even succeed at stealing an egg as goose pairs put up strong defense of eggs and goslings.
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We know for a fact, egg addling (oiling goose eggs so they fail to hatch due to oxygen deprivation) occurs at the other watercourses of Central Park under the auspices of the Central Park Conservancy and has been for some years. The Reservoir is under the watch and control of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), but it is presumed egg addling occurs there too, due to the large number of goose eggs (over 30) that failed to hatch at the Reservoir over the past two years.
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Nevertheless, three eggs (out of four laid) did hatch at the Reservoir this year.
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At first it was speculated that since the goose pair nested a little late, it was possible that the eggs were missed and we thus had, "miracle goslings!"
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But, now with all three goslings perishing within two months of hatching, I personally suspect that the eggs had indeed been tampered with, but for whatever reason, 3 of the 4 eggs hatched anyway.
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But, could it be that these goslings were doomed from the very start from having suffered some oxygen deprivation early in their development?
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From the very beginning of their hatching, the goose family appeared very "different" from two other goose families previously observed.
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For one matter, the family was far less structured than other goose families, with goslings frequently wandering off (in one case, for nearly a full day) and the parents appearing to be less in control and less attentive and vigilant in terms of protection and discipline than other goose parents. 
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Was it possible that the goose parents knew or sensed something amiss that we casual human observers could not? 
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That of course is impossible to know because none of us can get inside of the geese's heads.
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The parents, while attending to perfunctory duties of parenthood did not appear (to me) of being that engaged with their offspring. It was almost as if they were preparing themselves for loss.
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I recently shared these troubling events with a woman who is a syndicated and investigative journalist and goose expert.  She also suspects egg addling "has something to do with it" though I told her raccoons are in the area and snapping turtles in Central Park.
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Nevertheless, there are others who are convinced raccoons or snapping turtles are the culprits in these losses.  While I acknowledge that predators might have contributed to or hastened goose, egg or gosling deaths, they just don't explain at this point, the long list of egg losses, nesting goose deaths, unusual goose parental and gosling behavior and finally, the death and disappearance of the last gosling, Remy.  Predators are lucky to get one or two eggs or goslings. They don't usually wipe out entire families.  
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Still, the bottom line is, none of us knows for sure what has happened.  There are different theories and any could be partially right or wrong and perhaps even all are factors.  It's simply been painful to witness these unusual and tragic losses and not know specifically what's gone so terribly wrong.
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Presently, Hansel and Greta (the goose parents) still remain at the Reservoir. They have spent the last four days seemingly in search of their last gosling, but now appear somewhat resigned to still another loss. I suspect that when finally giving up all hope, they will probably leave the Reservoir as it is not an ideal place in terms of low natural food supplies and rough terrain for year round stay.  
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In summation, its been a rough and cruel two past summers at the Reservoir in Central Park.
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Loss of Remy is particularly distressing as there seemed real hope that she might survive after having made it this long.
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But, apparently, it was never meant to be.
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As said, lots of possibilities and theories, but few, if any making sense.
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That only the geese could actually talk to us.   -- PCA
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