Monday, March 18, 2013

Winter Winds, Face Recognition and Tangled Webs of Deception

The haunting, skeletal trees in winter blowing in the wind. I will miss this.....
"I see you!" -- Beautiful Jessie.
The Birds, The Wind and Me

Bouncing around YouTube, I stumbled upon this song which was a favorite when I was a kid.   ("The Wayward Wind" by Gogi Grant)

"Next of kin to the wayward wind."

I relate to this, particularly over the past few months.   Very chilly and blustery winter in New York, but have grown to really love it.  Will hate to see winter go.    With it, go most of the geese.

So far (though spring is less than a week away), it has remained cold, gray and stormy in NYC.

But, I am hanging on to it like an icicle clinging to a tree.

Central Park has been so beautiful, quiet and "wild" over the past several months -- especially at night.

Many times I felt it was just the birds, the wind and me.

But, all of that will soon change.  

And I am not looking forward to it.

They Never Forget a Face -- Pigeons, Crows, Ducks and Geese's Abilities to Recognize and Remember.

A fascinating article about pigeons' abilities to recognize and remember human faces:

But, of course this is not just true of pigeons, but crows, geese and ducks as well.

Though she was gone for two months, Jessie immediately recognized me when returning to Harlem Meer this past week.  I usually wear different clothes and I don't always have my two dogs two with me so I know the recognition has nothing to do with those things.

Canada geese in fact, have excellent memories of human faces that can span years.

When "Mama and Papa" returned to Turtle Pond with their yearling goslings after being gone for almost a year, all geese immediately recognized me in 2011.

Apparently, the night vision of Canada geese -- and ducks is also excellent.

"Buster" (the lead gander of the feisty goose family) and his charges come flying from clear across the darkened lake when I show up, as do the domestic ducks.

I often don't see them when arriving to the Meer, but they certainly see me from quite far away.

And as geese and ducks quickly learn which humans to trust and which not, they also learn the same about other animals, including dogs -- which are naturally considered an enemy.

Both geese and ducks will readily walk up to my two dogs as they know they have nothing to fear from them.   But, they will bolt back into the water when other dogs pass.  Even old Hector, the swan has learned to trust my dogs -- though he generally hates dogs.

It seems a bit odd that scientists are only discovering these facts about pigeons now -- and apparently still haven't caught on about geese and ducks' similar abilities.

One would think these things would have been observed and known for hundreds of years.

Go figure.

"Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave, When at First We Deceive."

If the CBS quote about "250,000 Canada geese in Westchester" made my hair stand up this past week, the statement from Mamaroneck Mayor, Norm Rosenblum that relocated "to one of the Carolinas" (flightless) geese suddenly flew back to Mamaroneck "before the trucks returned " totally blows one's mind:

The grossly inflated goose number figure cited in the first instance can be attributed to "mistake" or laziness on the part of the media and specifically, the CBS reporter. But, its doubtful there was deliberate intent to deceive and mislead.

But, in the second instance, there appears deliberate attempt to mislead and deceive both, the media and the public.

The mayor may have released a keg of worms in opening up this "past roundup and relocation" dialogue.

Its probable that some kind of past goose roundup occurred in Mamaroneck because its unlikely Rosenblum made the entire story up.

But, was the community and the press informed of this at the time?

When did the claimed goose roundup occur? Who or what conducted the roundup? And exactly where were the geese supposedly "relocated?"

Since geese are common everywhere, no community would welcome flocks of them sent from another location.  Usually when rounded up, the geese are either gassed or slaughtered (especially in New York).  

If geese from Mamaroneck were killed and the community was not informed, that is a huge issue, as community notification is a legal requirement for goose culls. 

However, in rare instances geese are "relocated" somewhere else.  But, that is usually to hunting ranges.  Flightless geese are literally "sitting ducks" in those instances.

The mayor truly steps into it by claiming the supposedly "relocated" geese returned to Mamaroneck "before the trucks."  

Flightless, molting geese don't fly.  (And that is precisely why geese are easily rounded up during their molting period -- They cannot escape.)   

But, if (other) geese  flew into Mamaroneck immediately following a claimed roundup, then that is proof positive that these roundups DO NOT WORK.   As long as the environment remains a goose paradise (water, short grass, open space) then other geese will fill the void creating a claimed "need" for further killing.

There are in fact, rare instances when USDA uses drugs (laced into food) and rocket nets to capture geese other times of the year when the birds can fly. 

But, that raises a whole new bunch of questions such as the impacts on the environment and other wildlife.

Moreover, drugged geese don't fly either.

So, why does Mayor Rosenblum make this claim if it is not true? 

That is the million dollar question.

When seeking justifications and rationalizations for any kind of slaughter, it is unacceptable to resort to lies -- especially from government officials.

Mayor Rosenblum is advertising either his total ignorance on geese and past "goose management" in Mamaroneck or he is showing his willingness to lie in order to get what he wants.

Either way, it is a tangled web of muck. -- PCA


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