Saturday, August 11, 2012

The New Un-Normal

(Photo:  Annie, two nights ago on the Great Lawn.  Not seen since then.) 

Annie, the lone goose who was at Turtle Pond for approximately three weeks is gone.

I am not too surprised with this development.

As safe and pleasant the conditions at Turtle Pond, the fact is, there are no other geese at the location. Geese are of course, flock birds devoted to their mates and families and dependent upon them for ultimate survival.

When seeing Annie scouting around the Great Lawn a couple of night ago, it appeared she was (still) searching for something.

The few weeks at Turtle Pond were apparently used to recover from the trauma of either losing or becoming separated from her flock mates and to build up the strength and resolve to again look for them.

And so I am guessing that Annie (bizarre and unnatural as it is for a goose to fly solo) took to the skies with the determination and anticipation of finding her mate or family. 

And if not finding them, hopefully finding another gaggle of geese somewhere who will accept her as Papa and Mama's family accepted Ruffian (the first of the four Central Park "loner" geese over the past three weeks).

But, if I somewhat expected Annie to leave in search of her mate or flock, what I did not expect was Papa and Mama's family to leave the Boat Lake again after surprisingly returning the other night.

But, last night, they too were gone (again).

(This brings the number of Canada geese currently in Central Park down to zero.)

Once again the same old quandaries and questions of what is "natural" and what is not.

Did the geese leave on their own or were they harassed out of the park?

In a city where more than 4,000 geese have been rounded up and killed over the past three years and God only knows how many others have been endlessly "harassed" from one location to another, it is utterly impossible to know the effects and impacts of such wide scale destruction and persecution upon "normal" goose social structures, behavior, flying and life patterns.

Perhaps the only statement one could make with any clarity or certainty these days is that the new normal is in fact, the un-normal.

Rats are, ironically, safer in New York City parks than are Canada geese.  -- PCA


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