Sunday, August 21, 2011

It Ain't the "Dogs" Taking Them Down

Last night, I walked for two hours with my dogs and could not find even one Canada goose on the entire north end of Central Park (Reservoir, The Pond and Harlem Meer).
So yes, I am on the edge of panic now regarding the goose population in NYC.
Granted, the six geese at Harlem Meer a couple of nights ago, may have gone somewhere else to party on a Saturday night.
But, the fact that no new geese have apparently flown into Central Park over these past few weeks from other parts of the city is what's alarming.
That is definitely not "normal!"
Last year at Harlem Meer at this time, there were dozens of Canada geese.
I am truly starting to think that those few dozen geese who flew into Harlem Meer following the winter migrations, but took off (or were chased) in late spring to breed or molt someplace out of CP were rounded up from other parks in early summer by the USDA and sent to that mysterious "waterfowl" slaughterhouse in Pennsylvania.
I am quite literally watching in Central Park -- the "crown jewel" of NYC parks -- an almost total decimation of a species I have come to love over the past few years.
USDA might as well come to my home and "round up" my two dogs.
Fortunately however, my two dogs were not on the Fish and Wildlife "Depredation Permit" issued to the USDA for the roundup and slaughter of Canada geese and other birds in NY.
We finally received that on Friday.
I forwarded the permit attachment to colleagues who hopefully can convert it to a web link that can be shared with others.
While it does not contain the name of the mysterious Pennsylvania "waterfowl processing plant" that our NYC geese were supposedly sent to, it does have other interesting information.  For example:

D. You are authorized to take the following migratory birds to relieve or prevent injurious situations impacting human health or safety, natural resources, agriculture, and public or private property. All take must be done as part of an integrated Wildlife Damage Management Program that emphasizes the use of appropriate non-lethal management techniques. Up to:

(a) 5000 Canada Geese - Shoot or capture and either, transport these to a processing center, slaughter, and donate the meat to a local food bank or euthanize and completely destroy by burial or incineration.

(b) 100 Brant,

(c) 50 Mallards,

(d) 2 Osprey,

(e) 40 of each: Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Green-backed Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, yellow-crowned Night Heron, Glossy lbis,

(f) 40 of each: Wood Duck, Green-winged Teal, Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Blue-winged Teal, Northern shoveler, Gadwall, American wigeon, canvasback, Redhead Ring-necked Duck, Lesser scaup, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy duck,

(g) 40 of each: Turkey Vulture Black Vulture, Clapper rail, Virginia Rail, Sora, Common Moorhead


Your report must specify any raptors taken by pole trapping."


Apparently, this is a list of statewide "targets."
However, to see birds like Egrets, Herons, Ibis, as well as host of various species of duck is quite shocking.
Are these birds also taking down planes and "pooping on grass?"
As for the "5,000 Canada geese."
Well, I guess that helps explain why I am not seeing geese in CP these days.
I remember taking a tour with a Central Park ranger last year to look for raccoons in Central Park.
During the hour or so walk with the friendly ranger, she said to me, "You know, Central Park used to have rabbits at one time.  But, we think the dogs took them all out."
Perhaps the real reason I am writing this journal is to simply set the facts straight.
I don't believe that people's pet dogs "took out rabbits" in Central Park any more than dogs are taking out the geese now.
Five or ten years from now, if a Park Ranger is showing people around Central Park, she cannot accurately say, "You know, Central Park used to have hundreds of Canada geese.  But, we think the dogs took them out."
In this case, we know damn well its not dogs taking down the birds in our park.
Its our own human hands and actions -- as I am quite sure the decimated rabbits were.   -- PCA

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pretty insightful. Thanks!

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