(Photos: 1- Whiteface in greeting. 2 and 3-- Oliver, a mallard, crippled by twisted fishing line around leg.)
Return of Whiteface and Friends
"Whiteface," the Barnacle goose who is part of a Canada goose family and who spent the summer molt at the Reservoir is back in Central Park.
Whiteface and her flock returned to Central Park and specifically, Harlem Mere a couple of days ago.
Geese are moving around a good deal these days. Several families of geese have actually shown up at the Mere and for the moment, appear content to hang around a little while.
It is fascinating how the wildlife scene changes from day to day, according to the time of year and the weather
Last week, just prior to hurricane Sandy, virtually all the waterfowl (except the domestic ducks) left Harlem Mere presumably in search of better cover from the violent storm.
Following the destruction of the hurricane, a few mallards slowly and cautiously trickled back to the Mere.
Now, more than a week later, Harlem Mere is not only replete with a bountiful population of mallards, but also Canada geese, sea gulls and a number of exotic ducks. I have even seen colorful and unusual birds on the water that I can't identify.
Movement and motion during fall migrations.
But, today there is another storm passing through New York. A "Nor'easter" this time.
Trusting it is more bluster than actual storm, I am hoping our returned feathered friends stick around a little while this time.
It is so nice to once again see Whiteface and all of her pals.
Life is again rich in all its splendor and glory -- at least for the moment.
"Oliver Twist" -- The Drake crippled from embedded, twisted, fishing line.
The fishing season may technically be over, but injuries to wildlife are not.
Over the past few weeks, I have noted a mallard even more crippled than what Little Brad was for a short period of time.
Only the new "lame duck" is not likely to recover from his injury.
Last night, I was able to get a closer look at the drake, now named, "Oliver."
His leg is completely twisted in grotesque fashion with fishing line wrapped tightly around.
Oliver is unable to put his foot down or walk at all. He hops, hobbles and falls over when on land. Due to the unusual motions, Oliver is an easy target for harassment by other mallards.
It is past the point of frustration to note still another bird crippled, maimed or even dying from the ravages of carelessly discarded fishing line or barbed hooks.
Over the years of observing ducks and geese in Central Park, I have wondered and rejoiced in the birds' abilities to survive blizzards, hurricanes, Nor'easters and lakes and ponds completely frozen over in winter.
And yet the irony is that all of the birds lost over the years have died during the "easy" seasons of spring, summer and early fall.
"Ol' Man Winter" seemingly doesn't hold a candle to the destruction wrought by human recreation.
It seems the one thing the animals cannot easily survive is human cruelty.
Post Election Blues
As expected, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand won easy reelection to the US Senate yesterday in New York.
New York is a heavily "blue state" and Gillibrand, a democrat.
It was completely unnecessary for the Senator responsible for the destruction of more than 1,000 Canada geese this past summer, to inundate us with her obnoxious commercials or run any campaign at all. Most New Yorkers had no idea who Gillibrand's Republican opponent (Wendy Long) actually was.
Personally, I am not sure why so many people who otherwise care about animal protection, robotically believe the democratic party the more "favorable" for animals.
Matters may sometimes appear that way, but looks can be deceiving.
Looks were certainly deceptive in this case.
New York City has two democratic Senators, a democratic Governor, a democratic President, a democratic city council and a mostly liberal Mayor who calls himself an "Independent."
And the last four years could not have been worse for NYC animals and especially our NYC geese. (It makes one ponder the saying, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.")
I am "blue" this post election day. But, it has nothing to do with party affiliations and politics.
To be blunt, I am not sure if the beautiful Canada geese I am fortunate to see now in Central Park will survive another four years of these deceptive, fiscally wasteful and animal-brutal administrations.
Canada geese can survive anything but human cruelty and callous, opportunistic politicians. --- PCA