Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Less Than Zero (The New Tolerance Number for Geese and Ducks?)

A little surprising last night to find new geese at Harlem Meer.
That brings the current number up to more than a dozen when there were virtually none last week.
It is speculated that some of the geese are those flying out of the Boat Lake some days ago.   (Currently, Mama and Papa are the only geese at the Boat Lake.)
I am still guessing that the geese at Harlem Meer are immature offspring of the few "resident" breeding pairs of geese who produced goslings over the past three years in Central Park. These include Mama and Papa in 2010,  the one pair of Reservoir geese last year and another breeding pair who had goslings last year and the previous year at the South Pond.
So far this year, Mama and Papa do not appear to be nesting.  But, the Reservoir geese have returned and appear fit enough to attempt breeding again.  Since I normally don't get to the South pond (near 59th Street) I cannot speak to the situation there.
But, no geese have produced young at Harlem Meer in the three years that I have been frequenting the location.  Rather, it seems to be a place for the younger geese to attempt to gather in small gaggles over the spring and very early part of the summer (prior to the molt).  Last summer, only nine geese molted at the Meer.
I am of course concerned over any population of geese whose numbers in any location of Central Park might exceed more than a dozen over the summer.
I might have to start chasing the geese myself in June. (joke.)
If it seems "crazy" to be paranoid over more than a dozen geese in any location of Central Park, the prospect of more USDA goose roundups in New York City over the summer make such fears very rooted in reality.
Additionally, when it comes to things like roundups and goose harassment, it seems no number is "too low" for geese to be endlessly persecuted, chased and killed.
For example, today there is this Patch article and video from an Illinois golf club:
The video shows TWO geese being harassed by a Border Collie off a pond!
In all the goose harassment videos witnessed over the past two years, one has yet to see even one where more than a handful of geese were chased off a field, lake or pond.
It truly makes one wonder what happened to human tolerance and appreciation for wildlife?
If two geese are "too many" what is considered too few? 
Obviously, there is no such number.
And less we think it only geese whose eggs are being destroyed and who are constantly being terrorized, today there is also this article out of Pennsylvania that now deems ducks a "threat" to airliners:
Apparently in 2010, ONE mallard caused $45,000 worth of damage to a plane during a collision.    (One should bear in mind that the average mallard weighs less than a few pounds.)   One mallard and a collision in 2010.  And so now the label of "threat" and pest to ducks and a new campaign to "curtail" their numbers, as well as the geese.
But, again the questions:  What number is "too many?"  And what number is too few for the ducks and geese?
And apparently in both cases, the number is less than zero.  -- PCA

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