Monday, January 16, 2012

Winter Ponderings and Quick Takes

(Photos: 1- Brad, "hunkered down" last night with other ducks to deal with cold. 2- One of Buster's clan answering the call.)
An interesting article today from New Jersey:
Note the photo of two geese swimming amongst garbage and pollution.
New Jersey, like New York, has been targeting and killing geese for some years now.
Its interesting that we address our pollution problems by deliberately destroying the waterfowl who naturally live on lakes, rivers or ponds.
Its like declaring a war on fish to address polluted oceans.
This piece makes me think about Prospect Park.
As previously noted, Prospect Park (particularly in the summer) is a site of monumental garbage, discarded fishing lines and BBQ runoffs.  Its grassy lawns quite literally become a "graveyard" for dead chickens and their bones during the warm weather.
And yet the entire population of resident geese was deliberately "removed" and gassed in July of 2010 and most recently, Prospect Park launched operations to "harass" the migratory geese who apparently made the mistake of attempting to winter in the Brooklyn Park.
This would all be quite funny were it not instead so barbaric, irresponsible and downright "crazy."
Instead of addressing pollution and toxicity problems at their sources of human development, we scapegoat and kill the natural wildlife that dare to attempt survival on garbage-strewn watercourses. 
And then we claim "donation" of the chemically-leaden and slaughtered wildlife to "food banks."
Way to go for a healthy American future!
It seems all of New York City was "hunkered down" last night as temperatures plunged once again to the teens.  Weather forecasters warned people "not to stay out too long" in the single-digit wind chills due to the dangers of frostbite.
Although venturing outside in the early evening, city streets were virtually deserted and I saw a grand total of only three people in Central Park. Two young boys took advantage of the empty park drive to practice skateboarding and a woman walked two dogs.
Dressing in layers last night (including tights under jeans), I was reasonably prepared for the cold -- though I seemed to fight a losing battle in protecting hands from the piercing winds. 
Gloves were about as useful last night as a hoola hoop under the circumstances.
Arriving to Harlem Meer, I was not surprised to see what appeared at first glance, an empty lake.
But, I knew the geese and ducks (like humans) were simply "hunkered down" trying to hide from the bitter cold.
I called out to the Bradly Brigade:
"Brad!  Brad!  Where are you?  I am not walking around the lake tonight!   If you guys are hungry, you'd better come out from hiding!"
Almost as if on cue, I suddenly saw three ducks quickly swimming across the lake! 
Thank God, I thought.
Brad, Piggly and Wiggly immediately joined a hand-full of other ducks who were sitting down (for warmth) and grabbing tossed seeds from the ground.
Though hand feeding Brad some treats, my hands could not tolerate the exposure and even Brad preferred to squat down to sift the seeds from the raggedy grass.
It was simply too bitterly cold for games or anything requiring time.
Although I had brought a full bag of sunflower seeds, millet, cracked corn and some small bits of bread, it was disappearing almost as fast as I could get it out.  This, despite the fact there were less than a dozen ducks squatting down and swooping it up!
I wondered where Buster and the geese were?
Out of the question to walk around the lake and survey other ducks and geese, I instead, walked a few feet and called out to Buster:
"Buster!  Buster!  If you want any treat tonight, then you'd better move your snowy white ass!  I am leaving!"
Suddenly, seven geese came scurrying across the water and hopped up on the embankment!
"Not a whole lot left for you guys." I said to Buster, while pointing my hand down to remaining seeds on the ground.  "You are going to have to scavenge like everyone else!"
Buster seemed to understand the situation and he and his gaggle immediately started to graze and pick up what few seeds remained.
Meanwhile, I grabbed my dogs and hurriedly started to make my way out of the Meer.  My hands very frostbitten,  I tried to alternate them between holding my dogs and cramming into jacket pockets.
Having stuffed their bellies, Brad, Piggly and Wiggly (along with the few other ducks and the geese), hopped into the water and began to follow me to the edge of the lake.
"Hunker down, guys!" I said to Brad and the others while embarking up the hill that leads away from the Meer.  "Tomorrow is going to be a better day!"
And indeed, today is "better" -- if one wants to call 34 degrees a picnic.  It's at least two degrees above freezing. -- A virtual heat wave compared to the last two days.
Finally arriving home last night from my "date" with the birds, I defrosted my hands by holding them under warm running water for about ten minutes.  (Boy, did that feel good!)
My hands finally thawed, I then turned on the TV to catch some of the Golden Globes awards.
Jane Fonda walked on stage for some presentation and I have to admit to being totally awed. 
The 74-year-old actress looked smashing in elegant evening gown and sporting a figure that would rival that of a 25-year-old!
Then again, Fonda admits to a hip replacement and having some "work" done.
I thought to myself smugly,  I could wear that dress!
And although nine years younger than Fonda, I've had no joint replacements or "work" done.
Having a penchant for geese and ducks and walking two miles a day must be good for one's joints and figure. 
Fonda and I seem to have a love for exercise in common. 
Perhaps if she take up a love for wildlife, she won't need any more surgeries -- plastic or otherwise.  ;)  -- PCA

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