Sunday, June 5, 2011

Can This Family Be Protected and Saved?

(Photos:  Family of Geese at the 59th Street Pond in Central Park.  Children feeding or photographing geese and ducks.  But, can these birds be protected?)
More very troubling reports.
A close observer of Flushing Meadows park has just reported that there are now "ZERO" geese there as of this past Wednesday.  The observer finds this, "absolutely mind boggling."
This occurs at a time the Mama and Papa geese have mysteriously vanished from Turtle Pond at Central Park, (along with several geese from Harlem Meer). 
On Wednesday of this week, I reported that the remaining ducks at Harlem Meer last Wednesday appeared to have been very "traumatized."
Meanwhile, people are still searching for the family of geese at Prospect Park.  Although two geese were spotted there with one goslings a few days ago, we cannot be sure that is the same family of five whose eggs hatched despite being oiled. 
Whether it is or not, bizarre things are happening at Prospect Park, as well as the other locations.
All of these disappearances are occurring at the same time that the USDA traditionally carries out its "goose removals"  (i.e. capture and gassings.) and a time that geese don't normally migrate or take off mysteriously.  Certainly, a family with young goslings cannot fly away out of a park.
Central Park of course claims that it has "never allowed" USDA to come in and round up its geese.
However lately, officials and spokespeople for Central Park have been less than forthright about its goose management program.  Various inconsistencies and evasiveness now  lead one to question everything we have been told so far.  
If, for example, the USDA did go into Central Park and round up geese, would anyone from Central Park admit to that to a member from the public?
Certainly, CP officials would know from all the bad publicity to Prospect Park last year (over the gassings of 368 geese), that such would not be the kind of information most park goers would welcome and want to hear.
Can all of this just be "coincidence?"
A couple of weeks ago, I was told by a birder at Turtle Pond that there was a new goose family at the 59th Street Pond at Central Park. 
Yesterday, I went to check this information out.
Indeed, there is currently a family of geese at the south side of Central Park (an area I don't normally go to as it is almost two miles from my home.)
The family consists of two parents, four, one-month-old goslings and what I speculate to be, four grown goslings from last year's breeding cycle.
I say "speculate" because the behavior I saw yesterday from the papa gander towards the four grown geese mimicked exactly the same behavior I saw from Papa goose at Turtle Pond towards his grown goslings from last year:  Acceptance, but laying down strict lines on where the juvenile geese can and cannot go.  (Rules are very firmly, but gently enforced by goose families and the "kids," even when grown, respect and follow them to the letter.)
The 59th Street Pond in Central Park is about the same size as Turtle Pond, though it is presumably, much more heavily trafficked by people and tourists.
The goose family is therefore, very socialized with people and it did not take long yesterday to witness small children feeding and even photographing the goose family, as well as about a dozen or so mallards in the pond.
But, after witnessing and learning what is happening with geese in other areas of the park and city right now, I am worried for these guys.
History, after all, tends to repeat itself.
Is this family of geese at the 59th Street Pond at Central Park SAFE?
I cannot answer that.
I thought Mama and Papa goose at Turtle Pond were safe. But, their eggs were destroyed and now even they are gone.
Over the past two days, I have been unable to find these two geese anywhere in Central Park and I have now been to just about ALL the watercourses.  Where could Mama and Papa be?
One would like to think that the goose family at the south end of Central Park would be safe and spared from any government cullings -- especially since they have enjoyed such high visibility and welcome from thousands of people and kids.
But, "Target and Beaky" were not spared at Prospect Park last year, even though they were very high profile geese who even had write-ups in the New York Times for having successfully survived pedestrian cruelty.
But, neither Target nor Beaky survived the cruelty of the city, Prospect Park leadership and the USDA.
History is the best predictor of the future.
I am not confident about the survivability of the goose family at the Central Park, 59th Street Pond at all right now.
Not unless they somehow make it through this month.
Since the pond is not close to me and I am still trying to monitor the North side of Central Park, I am putting out an emergency call to others to closely monitor this family on a daily basis for the next four weeks.
Is there anyone who can help in this?
If so, please email or contact me immediately.
The lives of this extended family of ten geese and their baby goslings may depend on it.  -- PCA

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