Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Goose Among Ducks and a Prideful Swan

(Photos:  1-- Jessie, the "peacemaker" goose among the ducks. 2-- Hector, the always dignified swan whose pride took a beating last night from a careless mallard.)

That 37 degree "heat wave" that graced New York City on New Year's Eve vanished quicker than the ball dropping on Times Square.

Temperatures hovered in the 20's last night when I ventured with my two dogs to Central Park with wind chills in the teens.

And I felt every bit of the frigidness -- so much so, it was hard to keep hands warm, despite gloves and trying to alternate in pockets through most of the walk.

Only one bird stood and bravely endured the biting winds on the embankment last night at Harlem Mere -- Jessie, the loner goose.

The ducks and one swan sought warmth in the still mostly open water.

When coming for their expected treats, several of the ducks again sat down on the ground with feet tucked under them -- a sure sign, they were feeling the effects of the cold.

But, when Hector, the swan also attempted to sit down, there was a mallard under him.

"What the hell?" one could almost hear the startled and angry swan yell as the mallard quickly scrambled out from under his huge butt.

Following the humiliating incident, Hector, was none too patient with the ducks.

"Get outta here!  I don't want you pests in MY space!" 

Butt pecks and actual grabs forced the mallards to scramble in a wide circle around the agitated swan.

But, Hector was still stretching out his neck and grabbing ducks, compelling me to tap him on the side of the neck.

"NO, Hector!  Be nice!  They're just trying to survive like you are!"

Hector settled down a bit, but the scowl on his face meant business to the ducks.

If you are a duck, you don't want to mess with an angry swan -- especially if the swan almost sat on you.  Dignity, pride and respect are very important to swans. They don't appreciate being made fools of.

Still, the one bird Hector did not harass at all was Jessie, the demure Canada goose.

I am not sure why there is such a seeming peace truce between the lone goose and lone swan.   As said yesterday, geese and swans are not normally pals.

But, Jessie has such a deferential, peaceful and non-confrontational way about her (or him), s/he appears to engender that in the other birds, including, the often cantankerous Hector.

The ducks are comfortable and relaxed around Jessie as is, crazily enough, Hector.

A goose among ducks and a prideful, temperamental swan.

Not normally what one expects to see in nature, but in this case, the lone Canada goose might actually be the peacemaker among the normally feisty avian troupe at Central Park's now very wintry Harlem Mere. -- PCA


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