Saturday, July 10, 2010

Binky's Dilemma

(Pictures: 1-- A young man enjoying the goose family. 2-- Binky [left] with a sibling. 3--Children Meeting Children. -- the goslings greeting kindly children and parents.)
"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

These days, due to the intense frustrations in dog and cat rescue and placement, I am spending most free time either drowning sorrows in a swimming pool or learning what I can about the intriguing wildlife in Central Park. -- It is to light a lot of candles.

This morning I went with my dogs to Turtle Pond to check on (as always) the beautiful family of Canadian Geese.

To my surprise and delight, I discovered I am only one of many people closely following the growth and progress of these sweet and magnificent birds.

A number of us are concerned about one of the goslings whom I call, "Binky."

The undersides of Binky's wings stick out at peculiar angles as if they are either broken or deformed.

I noticed this oddity fairly early in the gosling's development.

Either Binky was born with a deformity (in which case, it's to the parent's credit that they did not abandon him) or Binky was injured early on, perhaps by the large, Snapping Turtle at the pond.

As mentioned in an earlier blog entry, Papa goose walks with a pronounced limp so it might be surmised there was some kind of battle (attack from a predator or dog?) early in the family's history.

In any event, Binky's disability does not seem to be a problem -- for the moment.

The parents accept and bravely protect him as much as the other goslings. Binky is able to swim, walk and eat normally. He (or she) is in fact, the friendliest and most trusting of the goslings to people. He is usually the first one to approach humans!

But, it is almost certain that Binky will be unable to fly.

Right now, none of the geese are flying. The parents very recently molted and I am not sure if the goslings are yet old enough to fly, though all (including, poor Binky) are flapping their wings in presumed preparation for flying.

But, one has to wonder what will become of Binky, once the rest of the family starts flying?

One woman encountered this morning seemed confident that Binky would easily survive at Turtle Pond.

"It's safe here for him," she said.

Yes, for now that is true, because it is summer and Binky has the protection and companionship of his family and plenty of food.

But, in the winter, all the water freezes to solid ice at Turtle Pond and virtually all the geese and ducks move over to the Reservoir, which always seems to maintain some unfrozen water.

Unless Binky's wings miraculously heal by winter or the parent geese figure out some way to protect him, it seems some of us (humans) might have to plan a rescue for him.

But, it is to soon to worry about that now. For sure, the parents would act to protect were anything to be attempted now.

This morning, the parent geese hung back and carefully observed while the adventurous goslings approached several very well behaved children, parents and other people on the rocks near the pond.

It was truly a joy to watch.

Its wonderful to see some parents showing children how to approach, appreciate and learn about animals. Its good to know I am not the only one who cares about and revels in the Canadian Geese family.

This is one goose family that I don't think we have to worry about the city or Parks Department harassing or rounding up and gassing.

Too many park goers care about and are diligently monitoring them.

In fact, one gentleman told me this morning of how the parent geese "outsmarted" the Parks Department this year!

"Yes," he laughed, "In past years, the park workers would confiscate or turn the eggs. But, this time, the Mama goose laid her eggs at the base of the rocks in front of the (Belvedere) castle. Both parents would sit on them. But, in order to get to those eggs, park workers would have needed a boat. I guess they figured it was too much trouble, so they let the eggs hatch."

"That's fascinating!" I replied.

And we both agreed (as I am sure hundreds of other people would) that the fact the Canada Goose eggs were allowed to hatch this year has brought endless hours of joy, education and wonderment to families and visitors to Turtle Pond.

Even to the point, many of us are concerned about Binky, the gosling with the injured wings and how we may be able to help him if and when needed. -- PCA


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