Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Unusual Occurrences (Or, The Ones That Got Away?)

I don't know if this means anything or not.
But, at least six new geese flew into the north end of Central Park yesterday.
While walking to Harlem Meer just before dusk, I heard familiar honking overhead.
I looked up and saw four geese quickly flying over the trees and heading south over the park.
Wow, that's odd!  I thought.
It is, in fact, highly unusual to see geese flying this time of year, because as noted, the geese start to molt around this time (rendering them flightless) and usually the geese don't molt at Central Park.
There were also two new geese on the water at Harlem Meer.  They were swimming alongside Bozo and Bonnie.
According to reports from Prospect Park, a number of the geese there have already begun to lose their flight feathers.
But, obviously the ones I am seeing are still flying.
The unusual occurrence causes one to wonder if USDA has already started its June cullings around town and those geese who could still fly, made a quick get-a-way?
This could also be the case with the new geese who have suddenly appeared at Prospect Park over the past week or so.
It is of course, terrible to think this way -- perhaps even "paranoid."
But, unfortunately, knowledge of continual harassment on these birds, as well as thousands rounded up and gassed over the past few years causes necessary alteration in thinking.  If we are overly "suspicious," it is because we have to be.
Reality is that I haven't seen geese flying over Central Park in at least a month.
It is unusual that they would suddenly be flying in now just prior to molting and especially to a place they don't normally molt.   What would cause this change?
Later today, I will return to Turtle Pond and the boat lake.
"Normally," one would not expect to see geese at these locations during the molt, (with the exception of last year when Mama and Papa raised their five goslings at Turtle Pond).
But, nothing is obviously "normal" anymore so I try not to anticipate or expect anything these days.
Each day is a little surprise.
Between trying to figure out the normal flying and behavior patterns of geese, but factoring in the impacts of harassment and cullings, it is impossible to be sure or confident about anything right now.
It is frustrating to be so "in the dark" and to be fraught with so many unanswered questions.
Has the city and USDA already begun goose cullings?
If so, where and when?
Will they be returning to Prospect Park?
What is happening in the other city locations where geese have been rounded up and gassed in the past?
Will the feds show up at Central Park?
What is really needed is a network of "Goose Watchers" from around the city who could report and share with each other, the happenings in their own areas.
Perhaps then, we could begin to put pieces of the puzzles together. 
But, for now it is grasping in the dark, notation of unusual changes, and taking nothing for granted.
Everyday, a little surprise.  -- PCA

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