Monday, April 4, 2011

Just Another Day in Crazy Town

 I feel somewhat vindicated.
It seems certain that Council speaker, Christine Quinn, must have thought me some sort of nut case last week when I protested the "scapegoating of Canada geese for our own mechanical deficiencies in airliners."
But, this week, headlines inform us of a Northwest Airliner that had to emergency land after a hole was blown out due to small cracks in the plane and apparently, the problem is not unique to the one aircraft.  
Three other airliners have since been discovered to have the same tiny cracks (due to wear and tear) that could result in a disaster and another plane had to emergency land last night due to pressure arising from small cracks.
It seems some of our older airliners are literally falling apart.
Should we round up and kill Canada geese for that?
The fact is that not one human has died as result of a commercial airline collision with Canada geese.
And yet, incalculable numbers of innocent Canada geese have been slain worldwide for so-called, "airline safety."
What a crock.
But, of course, the "airline terrorists" allegation against Canada geese is not the only insanely exaggerated charge against these much maligned birds.
Others are equally distorted, blown out of proportion or just plain false and crazy.
For examples:
"The geese are an invasive species!"
This is an outright lie.
Canada geese are in fact, not named after the country.  They are named after taxidermist, John Canada who apparently studied the species intently.  Moreover, Canada geese are native to most of North America and beyond.
Those geese who were captively bred and released in this country during the last century (when the species almost went extinct) are obviously native to America and have no instincts or reason to "migrate" to Canada or the Arctic.
Those people who refer to the geese as "invasive" are merely advertising their ignorance.
"The geese are pests." 
We understand that not everybody loves Canada geese.  However, considering that humans have destroyed most of the geeses' natural habitat, but at the same time, created artificial ponds, lakes, parks and trimmed grasses, we should not be surprised that the geese (being waterfowl) would be attracted to those areas.
Moreover, pressure on the species from hunting in rural areas, sends many geese seeking the "safe" sanctuaries of public parks or golf courses.
Of course, as we have learned over the past few years, city parks are no longer "safe sanctuaries" for the geese.
One wonders what location truly is these days?
The geese are literally harassed, hunted and culled everywhere.
Recently, New Zealand changed the status of Canada geese from "game bird" to "pest species."
That means virtually anyone can kill geese anytime. 
This, in light of the fact that Canada goose numbers are actually down in New Zealand from what they were in the 90's and even last year!
But, apparently, humans have become a lot less tolerant or a lot more crazy -- even when animal numbers are already in decline.
"The geese chase away other birds!"
I have spent thousands of hours observing Canada geese and other waterfowl.  I have never seen the geese "chase" other birds, though occasionally, they can get testy (like any waterfowl) with mallards, (who, incidentally, are far more testy with each other).   
The fact is, Canada geese live very peacefully with and in many cases, welcome other birds. 
Moreover, other species of birds seem to seek out the security and protection that Canada geese offer, being by nature, such a wary and alert bird.
"The geese are aggressive!"
Of all the unfair charges against Canada geese, this is truly the most bizarre and non-sensical.
Canada geese are extremely gregarious, social birds who seem to (for some strange reason) enjoy the company of humans.
Sometimes this results in geese approaching people or children and in some cases, even tugging at a shirt or bag.   Sometimes, the geese are begging for a treat and sometimes they are actually giving a "goose hug!"
But, the last thing these actions represent is "aggressiveness."  On the contrary, the geese are just being friendly.
It is however true, that when protecting nests or goslings, geese can sometimes "hiss" or stalk at what they perceive to be a threat to their families.  But, then what animal (or human) wouldn't try to protect young from possible harm?
That is simply normal parental behavior and has nothing to do with the species being "aggressive."
Canada geese are in fact, among the most peaceful and gentle animals on the planet. 
Humans could well learn lessons from the geese in terms of loyalty to mates, cooperation with others, peace-making and protection of young.
In short, virtually ALL the charges against Canada geese are either patently false, hugely exaggerated or just plain nuts.    (Even their poop [though messy to walk in with designer shoes] is simply recycled grass that acts as fertilizer to the grass itself.)
Last night, I saw a raccoon happily scampering around two Canada geese positioned on the edge of a Central Park lake.
The geese looked at the raccoon as if to say, "Hi, chap!" and then returned to peacefully gazing out at the mallards who were madly splashing around and chasing each other on the water.
"Just another night in crazy mallard town!"   -- PCA

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