(Photo: 1-- The geese arriving in time for New Year celebration! 2 and 3-- Some geese and ducks sitting, with feet tucked under on the ice. -- Apparently a way of conserving heat or avoidance of slips on ice.)
Almost as if to celebrate the New Year arrival and celebration in Central Park, at least a dozen Canada geese flew into Harlem Mere yesterday!
Surprised and delighted to finally note some geese at the Mere, the hope now is that they hang around a while -- at least to help keep an open pool of water for the six domestic ducks who are incapable of flight when the going gets tough and the lake freezes over.
We had a little snow in New York City a couple of days ago.
And while none of it stuck to city streets, pedestrian paths in Central Park were slick last night with a thin covering of ice and chunks of the frozen stuff.
It was presumably the first time the four new domestic ducks at the Mere ever saw snow or had to deal with it.
They were not at all pleased.
Although the two blonde and two black ducks quickly and noisily hopped up on the embankment in search of treats, they appeared put off and confused by the icy ground and after only grabbing a few bites of cracked corn, immediately returned to the water.
Mallards and geese too, were apparently chilled and intimidated by the slippery ice. Several of them sat down, stretching out their necks to grab seeds on the ground. -- Something I have become accustomed to seeing during extremely cold weather. Perhaps it is a way of the birds conserving heat when on frigid or icy ground.
One thing I am not seeing barely at all since the cold set into New York City, are the typical "barroom brawls" of ducks chasing or going head to head with one another. It seems that hierarchy displays go out the window when the first real challenges of winter set in.
Winter is the time the birds (and other wildlife) have to get serious in terms of actually cooperating with each other and figuring out a game plan for survival. Expending energy to assert dominance and position just isn't in the cards during the frigid days of winter as it is other times of the year.
"All for one and one for all" is more the motto for waterfowl this time of year.
It is the time for hunkering down, getting serious and working together for the betterment and survival of the whole.
"We will get through this together!" they seem to say -- as do most humans, when there is crisis and challenge. In that sense, humans and animals are not that different.
Although I usually like to linger a while observing and enjoying my time with feathered friends, the wind chills and 28 degree temperature quickly froze my hands though only out of gloves a few minutes to take photos.
I am not really sure how the birds and other animals endure 24/7 freezes in winter, but in that sense, we humans are seemingly not like the animals at all.
A couple of hours in below freezing temperatures is about all I personally can take.
Fortunately, my two ("cold weather") dogs take the ice and cold a great deal better than I do.
Tina and Chance scampered along cheerfully on the ice, while I carefully measured every step like some old lady nervous about breaking a hip. -- "Help, I've fallen and can't get up!"
I wondered last night when watching some of the geese and ducks sitting on the ice, if any of them have the same fear?
Walking home along the frozen Reservoir Path I thought about the people who gather there every New Year's to watch the Central Park fireworks in the distance and the joggers who do the "midnight run" along the park drive.
Instead of walking or running shoes, they might better wear their ice skates! I chucked to myself.
"Slip sliding away."
And don't the geese and ducks already know -- and are preparing for that? -- PCA