Monday, June 21, 2010

The Mean Season, continued.......

(Pictures Left: "And then there was one." The beautiful white ducks of Harlem Meer. They survived storms that felled trees. They survived the snow, the ice and the bitter temperatures of the winter. But, come the spring and what they cannot survive is the barbarity of humans.)

Spring (now going into the equally cruel summer) continues to be a horrific season in terms of the number of cats, kittens and dogs dying in our city shelters.

The Euth lists are so long these days, they are positively dizzying to look at.

Then again, I am sadly not surprised.

Virtually, all my recent calls are to give up animals (especially cats) or, seeking help with found strays.

Matters have become so depressing, I try not to think too much about them, much less write about them.

So little has actually changed since I began writing this journal several years ago. To keep writing about the endless carnage in our shelters and the difficulty in finding responsible homes for animals (especially in the spring and summer) is merely to repeat stuff I have written hundreds of times before.

One reason I write more about birds these days.

But, even that has become depressing since the spring began.

It started with the death of the female swan at Harlem Meer in early May. Her devoted and seemingly berefit mate vanished from the Meer within a couple weeks following her loss.

But, if that wasn't distressing enough, two of the three white (Peking) ducks at Harlem Meer have also mysteriously and suddenly disappeared over the past two weeks. (The two female ducks.)

Considering that the ("food") ducks were strong and healthy and that they cannot fly, the suspicion from even a park ranger is that the white ducks fell victim to human cruelty. (Personally, I suspect the same for the female swan who died last month.)

It is hard to go to Harlem Meer now. What once was so uplifting and joyous has instead, become a battle to fight back tears.

My heart sinks at the sight of the lone male white duck (whom I call, "Joey") on the lake now. He appears so lost without his two female siblings. (The three ducks had always been inseparable.)

The other day I noted Joey following one of the female mallards in his seeming desperation for companionship.

But, the brown duck quickly scooted away from him as if to say, "What are you, crazy? I am not your type!"

Like the male swan who lost his mate, I don't feel great optimism now that Joey will survive -- that is, unless he can find another open member of the waterfowl at Harlem Meer to be his constant companion.

But, if the spring has been extremely cruel in terms of the lives it has and is taking, there is also the joy of new life:

The Mama duck whom I call, "Clementine" and her beautiful family of three-week-old ducklings.

True, the cruelties of nature (most likely snapping turtles) have already taken out a few of her babies, but to this point, most of them (8) are still hanging in there. I imagine Clementine shall be lucky if even 3 or 4 of the tiny ducklings ultimately survive. Ducks, unlike Canadian Geese and Swans don't have daddy around to help protect the babies against predators.

Speaking of Canadian Geese, the family of geese at Turtle Pond continue, so far, to mostly thrive.

The six goslings have grown amazingly big and are developing their adult colors. I am a little concerned that one of the babies' wings look as though they have sustained some injury (perhaps from the turtles?), but its too soon to know if that injury will be permanent or later affect flying ability. Papa goose appears too, that he's had some battles in life. He walks with a pronounced limp.

I think Canadian Geese are among the most amazing animals on the planet.

Their strength, their beauty, intelligence, navigation skills, communication abilities and strong family devotion.

But, even these magnificent and gentle creatures come into "conflict" with humans.

We complain that when in flight for migrations, Canadian Geese represent "threat" to our planes.

Birds have been migrating for millions of years -- long before humans or planes were even on the planet.

Who should have real right to the skies?

But, if Canadian Geese should settle down and raise young in our public parks or golf courses, we then complain that they are too "dirty!" (So stay the hell out of their breeding turf!)

This weekend, there is a horrible and despicable article (which I will post ahead of this) from a Trenton, New Jersey newspaper announcing plans (a' la Michael Bloomberg) to round up hundreds of Canadian Geese and gas them.

Anyone who sees the magnificent film, "Winged Migration" can only feel awe at the sheer wonder of migratory birds.

They have survived millions of years, can fly over thousands of miles, endure all extremes in seasons, weather and nature.

The one thing migratory birds can't seem to escape is the barbarity of humans and the machines or destruction we create, whether planes, guns, bows and arrows, gassing devices or oil spills.

The mean season continues unabated. -- PCA


No comments: