Monday, April 23, 2012

Perpetual Motion and Witches Bews Against Geese

Some may surmise when reading certain entries in this blog, that the writer is over-reactive and paranoid in fearing that Canada geese may eventually go the way of the Doe Doe bird due to the widespread culling, egg destruction and harassment campaigns being conducted against geese both, locally and around the world.
"Extinct" may seem like an irrational fear -- especially when one considers that midway through the last century, captive breeding and release techniques were employed by wildlife managers when geese almost did go extinct due to over-hunting and loss of habitat. 
Surely, were the geese to totter on the brink of extinction again, wildlife managers would do the same to insure that hunters always had "game" birds to shoot.
And yes, that is a likely scenario.  But, it is not one that brings comfort or assurances that geese will ultimately survive both, the natural challenges of nature AND the  mindless and seemingly endless assaults and decimations against them at the hands of man.
There is, after all that law in physics about perpetual motion to consider. -- Once something is in motion and gaining momentum, it is very hard to stop.
If I am thus, unduly concerned or "paranoid" about the overall survivability of geese over the long haul, it is mainly due to the barrage of negative press and actions that these birds have been subjected to for almost ten years. -- Actions and vilifications that only seem to be accelerating and gaining fierce, almost unstoppable momentum with time.
Recently, there were two new articles to add to the witches brew of denunciations and "evil spells" visited upon the geese.
The first one is out of Minneapolis, Minnesota and details plans to "manage" geese in area parks via "summer roundups" (i.e. gassings or slaughter), "public shoots," egg destruction, fencing, expanded hunting and harassment that includes dogs and "explosive shells."
One has to seriously wonder how there will be any geese left in this area should all the "plans" be put into full motion and succeed?
But, perhaps more alarming than the actual plans to "reduce" geese is the seeming ignorance on bird behavior expressed by one of the wildlife managers:
"If the geese would remain evenly distributed across the park, we probably wouldn't have a problem at all."
"Evenly distributed?"
Geese are not solitary, predatory birds, like hawks or owls that "evenly distribute" around an area!
Geese are a prey animal in nature and thus, a flock bird!
And like almost all "prey" animals, the geese have to remain in (normally large) flocks or groups for safety and survival.    Even during the nesting season when breeding birds pair off, the non-breeding geese remain in gaggles for purposes of safety and organization.  
A lone goose will simply not survive like an owl or hawk.
That a "Wildlife Manager" would make this kind of statement seemingly lamenting that a flock bird doesn't act like a predator is baffling to say the least.  Do such people seriously believe that geese will suddenly "distribute" themselves evenly around a park -- and thus undo a million years of biological programming because some people in Minnesota (and other areas) want them to?
It seems that some "Wildlife Managers" making decisions in urban parks have never heard the phrase, "Birds of a feather flock together" or watched a nature program.
When asserting statements like this are "alarming" it is because such individuals seem to believe that all the culling and harassment activities will eventually get the population of geese down to some ""acceptable" level that is akin to that of hawks or owls. 
But, geese aren't hawks or owls..
Trying to get prey animals down to a population level of predators is contrary to nature and is likely to result in either the species "compensating" for the predation through expanded breeding and becoming more wily (like coyotes). -- Or, eventually going extinct due to an inability to adapt to the predations (especially if the ability to reproduce is taken away -- which it is through egg addling).
Minneapolis (and other locations) may think that ten geese "distributed" around the parks is a doable goal and acceptable number.
But, it is neither "doable" nor realistic. 
Another disturbing article published over the past few days and closer to home, is this one out of New York State:
This piece is disturbing on many levels, but mainly in the attempt by the DEC to seemingly weaken federal protections of Canada geese under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
For example, this paragraph:
"DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) issued a General Depredation Permit (GDP) that allows the disturbance or removal of ...Canada geese or their nests and eggs under certain conditions and circumstances without having to apply for individual state and federal permits."
Moreover, by classifying the geese as "nuisance" it seems almost anything goes against the animals.
Small wonder we are frequently seeing news accounts in recent months describing geese in urban areas or parks being shot with arrows, deliberately run over by cars or hacked to death and their bodies left to rot.
Perpetrators obviously don't see anything wrong with egregious acts of cruelty against so-called "nuisance and pest" animals.  Some probably think they are doing their communities (and the DEC) a favor.
And so, the witches brews continue to boil in the pot and the spells wildly put into motion.
The questions to ask are, when does the pot boil over and when do the spells stop -- if ever?
(Were geese voodoo dolls, they would be filled with pins by now.)
Will we look around one day to surprisingly discover geese are not hawks who "distribute" themselves evenly around a park to a number we consider "ideal" or "optimum?"
Will there eventually be no geese left to harass, chase, shoot, use explosives to scare, destroy eggs of and gas and slaughter?
As noted yesterday, we did not go out and blow up icebergs even when more than 1500 people lost their lives on a ship that collided with an iceberg and the bottom of the sea.
So, why do we set out to kill a million geese because some people are inconvenienced by them?  --- PCA

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