(Photos: 1-- A Canada goose about to take off. 2-- Casper, happy at last!)
They Call and Fly by Night
Although to the casual observer it might seem that the roughly 80-100 Canada geese on Central Park's large Reservoir everyday are the same ones "loafing" around since the start of winter, the reality may speak otherwise.
And I mean literally "speak."
Canada geese settled into an area are usually fairly quiet except when taking flight to pond hop around a park.
However, when geese are on the move, especially when making long migrations, they are anything but "quiet."
Since the new year began, walks near or around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir in Central Park (especially at night) treat one to a concert of animated sounds and seeming "conversation" among the Canada geese who are either flying in or flying out or sometimes appearing to rest on the water.
Such was once again the experience last night.
Although initially appearing fairly quiet with most of the ducks and geese peacefully roosting in the middle of the Reservoir, I noted what were several sizable flocks of geese swimming slowly and lazily across the water.
There was much "honking" conversation occurring between the geese at the front of the long line and those toward the back.
What was it they were discussing, I wondered?
Definitely, it seemed an actual discussion, as one or two geese would honk and others further away would answer.
Were they discussing weather or the best areas in the Reservoir to rest or find food?
Apparently, they were discussing taking off. (again.)
Just as I was pondering conversation, first one group of about 15 "calling" geese took off from the Reservoir and about a minute later, another group of about equal size and finally the last, smaller group of about 8 geese.
They all took flight traveling in southern direction, honking loudly and following each other.
Some minutes later, a skien of equally noisy geese (about 20) arrived from the north and landed like skiers in the water.
While the Reservoir may serve as a wintering location for a number of ducks and geese, it appears to be more of "stopover" or resting point for many others who arrive, perhaps spend a night or two and then move on to whatever southern point represents their actual winter destination.
The geese we are seeing throughout the winter months may look the same, but in many (or even most) cases they are not.
Rather, just as some skeins are arriving, others are taking off.
And although I am no expert to describe the activities occurring during the day time, I can say from observance that many geese appear to call and fly by night.
Perhaps it is the moon and stars that call to them and provide guidance and direction to go?
Happy Update for Casper the Duck
Casper the flightless domestic and debeaked duck rescued from Harlem Mere in November has found a safe and forever home in upstate New York thanks to the efforts of The Wild Bird Fund.
Please read Casper's full and happy story in the latest newsletter from the Wild Bird Fund which provided treatment for his "Bumblefoot" condition, as well as it secured a responsible home for Casper:
The other stories in this wonderful newsletter are every bit as inspirational and warm as Casper's.
We who love and appreciate birds in New York City are very grateful and lucky to have this outstanding organization to bring injured or troubled birds in need of rescue, care and veterinarian treatment. Please support The Wild Bird Fund in any way you can. -- PCA