Friday, June 10, 2011

"What Good are the Geese?" -- Ask the Other Birds

(Photos:  1-- Bozo and Bonnie approaching me in greeting.  2-- Mallards hanging peacefully with the two geese.  3-- Birds safely in water from chasing dog, thanks to Bozo)
Many happenings over the past couple of days.
Most significant is the condemnation by the HSUS of the planned, USDA roundup and gassings of around 20 geese and goslings peacefully living on the grounds of a Saranac Lake, New York school because of complaints about "goose poop."
The school board just approved the roundups to take place next week:
Please comment to the article and go to our FB pages for information and contacts to write the school and protest:
Protests have occurred in Clarence, New York (Buffalo area) resulting in a deferring for the moment, further goose shootings after hunters were called out last week killing geese on a local pond and raising the ire of community residents.  The shootings of the geese resulted from one woman's complaint about the geese being a "nuisance:"
It is good to see people like Ted McHuge of Clarence, New York speaking up for the geese and bringing this barbarism and lunacy to the attention of the media and the public. It proves that when motivated for the right reasons, even a small group of people can bring about important change:
On the local level, developments remain disturbing regarding the vanishing geese at both, Central and Prospect Parks.
It is apparent from photographic evidence, that the "new" goose family at Prospect Park with the one gosling is not the same as the original family, who at last count, had three remaining goslings, but have not been seen in more than a week.
Both sets of parents had their eggs oiled, but goslings hatched anyway.
The first family had six eggs hatch, but later lost goslings over the ensuing month.  We don't know how many eggs hatched from the second set of goose parents.  To this point, they have one surviving gosling.
Once again, this raises questions of what happened to the first goose family?
Did the last three goslings die?  Are the parents now out on the lake with other geese?
Or, did something happen to the entire family?
One thing we do know: 
"Nature" has nothing to do with these bizarre happenings and unanswered questions at Prospect Park.
Yesterday morning, I returned to Harlem Meer in Central Park to check on the two remaining geese there, "Bozo and Bonnie."
Much to my great relief they were still there.
What was particularly fascinating was how the small group of mallards (about a dozen) still at the lake, huddled around the two geese, presumably for security and early danger warnings.
Tossing out some seeds to Bozo, Bonnie and the ducks on the small, sandy, beach area, suddenly at one point, Bozo, looked up alertly, honked and along with Bonnie made a fast bee line for the water.  The mallards quickly followed them.
That's strange! I thought, looking around and not seeing anything of immediate danger.
But, then, within a minute,  a small, off-leash, Cocker Spaniel made a mad dash towards the water and birds, though he did not venture into the water far enough to pose a viable threat.
Bozo had sounded out the early warning to all the birds a full minute before the dog actually appeared, giving chase!
In almost all the articles about Canada geese these days, little, if anything at all is said about the amazing qualities of these animals and their importance to other animals and the environment.
But, the facts are that not only will the peaceful geese accept orphaned goslings into their flocks (unlike other bird species), but they serve as vital security beacons to other birds and early warning systems of danger.
"Get rid of the geese" and you get rid of all those waterfowl species who hang with the geese and depend upon them, primary amongst them, mallards.
Recently, I came across a New York Times column from last year that also speaks to some of the unique qualities of Canada geese and answers the question, "What good are they?"
A question that is really like asking, "What good are flowers?"
What good are the geese? 
Ask the other birds. -- PCA

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