Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rotting Apple

It appears the new family of four geese who flew into Harlem Meer a few days ago aren't "new" at all.
I am guessing them to be the same family of four geese (parents and two surviving goslings) who were at the Reservoir from April to a few days ago.
I expected that the family would soon be leaving the Reservoir around this time as the goslings were ready to fly.
Apparently they did as I could not find any trace of them last night at the Reservoir.
In fact, during a two hour walk around the Reservoir, Turtle Pond and the boat lake, I could not find even one goose anywhere.
This is very ominous news.
It means no geese are apparently flying into Central Park at a time normally when many dozens arrive, particularly to Harlem Meer.
Currently at the Meer, there are just five geese.   The family of four presumably from the Reservoir and the one "loner" goose who was staying around the perimeter of the goose family, both Monday and Tuesday night.
That is a total of five geese for the entire north end of Central Park!
Last night, I sat with my dogs for a short while on the rock at the Boat Lake, where just weeks ago, the family of seven geese (originally from Turtle Pond) and three "hanger's on" (who stayed with the family through the molt) would routinely come up to me and gently take treats from my hand.
But, last night, as beautiful as this area of Central Park is, it just seemed flat and one dimensional.
Instead of beautiful geese whimsically gliding along the water, there were three plastic bottles bobbing up and down, like dead bodies on the lake.
Overhead, a number of airliners flew low over the park.
But, no sign of geese anywhere......either on water, land or air.
I didn't stay long at the boat lake.  It was too depressing.
Like looking at a empty artist's canvas, devoid of all color and form.
Walking from the boat lake, I circled Turtle Pond, (also empty and seemingly lifeless) and then, the Reservoir.
A few clusters of ducks on the Reservoir, but no geese.
My dogs and I had then been in the park almost two hours and not seen even one goose.
Returning home, I thought about all the endless lies and propaganda constantly being hurled about the geese from "airline terrorists to threatening children to poisoning the environment" -- all the things that humans in fact, do.
But, perhaps the greatest lie among so many is that "geese stay because people feed them!"
That only that one was actually true, I would not be looking at empty lakes, ponds and Reservoir.
I remembered the family of geese at Turtle Pond last year who were fed by many people, including small children.  But, as soon as the middle of August came and the goslings were ready to fly, the family took off.   It didn't matter the food availability at Turtle Pond or the fact the goose family was constantly offered treats by humans.  As soon as their biological clock said, "go," they left.
And so too, the Reservoir family of geese took off in the middle of August.  It did not matter that I or possibly even others offered them treats. 
The geese cannot be bribed to stay.
That is a fact.
The good news is I think the Reservoir family is now at Harlem Meer for the past few days.
I have no idea where the ten geese from the boat lake disappeared to.
It occurred to me that this passionate struggle over the past year to study, learn and write about Canada geese as well as to fight for their defense and protection has in fact, been a selfish and personal one.
I simply cannot bear the thought of seeing Central Park without any geese!
And it is almost that way now.
Not because goose roundups and killings have occurred at Central Park.
But, because the goose slaughters are apparently so "successful" everywhere else, there are no longer the dozens of geese to fly into Central Park following the summer molt and raising of young in other areas of the city.
We may have won the battle to save the Prospect Park geese this year.
But, we are losing the war every place else.
Fully 100% of current newspaper articles and news clips on geese now are about the hunting of them, harassment or roundups and killings of them.  (One cannot actually remember the last "positive" piece about geese.) 
I truly believe it is not exaggeration to say that right now, Canada geese are the most maligned animal on the planet.
One therefore should not be surprised to see their numbers rapidly disappearing from our public parks.
I feel I am watching an animal extinction occur before my very eyes.
One I have fought long and hard to try and prevent.
Meanwhile, our mayor talks about "shooting" not just geese, but seagulls and other birds to serve to "soup kitchens."   This, so a new trash facility can be built close to LaGuardia airport:
More trash, more airliners taking over the skies from birds, more shootings, more slaughter and more political and media "spin."
The "fun" is fast disappearing from New York City, along with the geese.
Call it a "rotting apple."  -- PCA

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