Friday, August 20, 2010
(One of the two dozen or so Canada geese at Harlem Meer last night. Did they invite the ducks to an avian party?)
Last night, there was a seeming "avian party" at Harlem Meer.
When leaving Lasker swimming pool, I discovered several families of Canada geese near the edge of the south side of the meer.
Along with the geese, were seemingly all the ducks of the meer!
The ducks seemed in especially high and energized spirit, scooting around on the grass and occasionally chasing each other as they do in early spring.
Even Joey, the lone white duck (or goose) abandoned his usual swimming spot in the lake to come up on the grass and investigate what was going on. He walked and frolicked around quite cheerfully and confidently on the grass.
For all the bad raps that Canada geese take for "chasing out" other water fowl in the parks, the facts don't bear out the accusation.
Both, at Turtle Pond and Harlem Meer, the mallards seem to enjoy and actually gravitate towards the Canada geese!
For their part, the geese don't pay much attention to the ducks. They are too busy watching out for any potential dangers (such as people walking by with unleashed dogs), nibbling on the grass and occasionally chasing and nipping each other in what seems playful displays of establishment of order and hierarchy.
I sat on a nearby bench for about a half hour just taking in the whole amusing scene in a kind of awe. However, at one point, I went to gently "chase" Joey closer to the water. Unlike the other birds, Joey cannot fly and it worried me a little to see him bravely (or foolishly?) venturing far into the grass area. Though Joey might feel more confident with the geese around, the fact is, the geese are mainly concerned with protecting themselves from any perceivable threat. Their "job" is not to watch out for the ducks -- especially a flightless one.
Indeed, there was such a large congregation of happy, seemingly dancing birds on the south side of the meer last night, human passers-by, whether on bike or foot, took slight detours so as not to "crash" or disturb the party.
Indeed, the only thing missing was the music! -- PCA