Monday, February 11, 2013

"Praise the Duck Lord!" -- Ducks Have Reason to Celebrate When Geese Arrive

Geese and Ducks last night taking turns working water or resting on ice.
"Snow ducks!"
The geese who arrived to save the day during blizzard now discuss their next moves.
It's a good thing the geese showed up to Harlem Meer during the weekend blizzard.

Yesterday, temperatures plunged to 19 degrees, freezing over most of the still open water at the Central Park Reservoir and even more at the Meer.

The only water still open and moving last night at Harlem Meer was the pool that the geese and ducks occupied.

Fortunately, due to a fairly large number of ducks and geese (more than 100) the pool was reasonably substantial -- about the size of a 25 meter swimming pool.

Had the geese (and extra mallards) not arrived over the weekend to aid in keeping open water, it would have been virtually impossible for the six domestic (flightless) ducks to prevent the entire lake from becoming a solid block of ice. Such could have been a death sentence to them -- or at least represented a very significant, 24/7 working challenge.

But, as matters were, with so many waterfowl on the mostly frozen lake to work the water, none had to work that consistently or that hard.

In fact, many of the geese and ducks took time last night to rest on the ice surrounding the pool while others diligently worked the water.   One guesses that the geese and ducks took shifts between resting and working the water.

But, today there should be plenty of time for relaxing, foraging and family/flock organizations as temperatures have rebounded up to the 40's.  While not warm enough to melt all of the ice, it is enough to guarantee that current open waters will not freeze over.

It is surmised that the geese who flew into the Meer over the weekend to escape the worst of the blizzard elsewhere, will probably not stay long.

Even last night, there was a good degree of honking and "discussion" as to what their plans and next moves were and when.

Its quite possible the geese might not even be at the Meer tonight.

If they have determined that the worst of the cold is over, it is likely they will pack their wings and either return to their former wintering location or even begin an early spring migration.

If, however, all the "talk" last night was when to migrate, then its possible the geese may stay at the Meer another week or two.

If and when I ever figure out actual goose language then I will become a better predictor of the whens and wheres of their moves.

But, for now, it is still mostly mystery and speculation.

I am just happy the geese dropped into the Meer just prior to or during the blizzard.

It sure made it easier for the ducks -- particularly the six domestics who have no place to go when the going gets tough.

I am betting that the most grateful animals in all of Central Park are Wiggly, Honker, Cochise, Conner, Carol and Connie who must have waddled their butts and squawked in wild delight when they heard the honks and noted the majestic "V"s of arriving geese.

"Praise the Duck Lord, praise the Duck Lord!!!"   -- PCA


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