Thursday, June 5, 2014

Prevailing Through The Storms of Life -- New Goslings in Central Park!



Hansel, protecting his first born gosling when Greta returned to nesting on Tuesday.
The three babies resting under mother's wing yesterday after nearly a mile long swim.
Proud parents, Hansel and Greta yesterday with little ones preparing for a new oncoming storm.
Babies safely under mama's wings while gander protects. 
One baby peeking out while mama poses for picture.
Their names are Hansel and Gretra.
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I did not write of this nesting goose pair at the Central Park Reservoir over the past month for fear of calling any attention to them. Such could likely result in their four eggs being addled (i.e. rendered unviable) -- an action long practiced at Central Park, both this year and past years.
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Of course, it was figured the eggs would be oiled and destroyed anyway (as all have been over past two years whether publicized or not).
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Hansel, the gander, was highly visible everyday vigilantly patrolling the waters around his mate's nesting area.  And while Greta was smart enough to choose a nest location somewhat obscured by growing foliage, it was not hard to find her -- especially with her gander usually patrolling nearby and returning to the nest area every night to roost with his mate and carefully guard her.
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Greta's eggs were laid the first week in May.  This was the same time that two other nesting goose hens died on the Reservoir. There were subsequent heated dialogues and email exchanges with Urban Park Rangers and Central Park Conservancy officials regarding the lack of rescue resources for ailing birds on water, as well as egg addling practices on all Canada goose eggs in Central Park.
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Did the criticism and acrimony temporarily divert CP management attention away from the new nesting goose pair at the Reservoir?  Or, was it decided in the aftermath of a public relations storm to leave the new nesting geese alone?
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Anything is possible.  But, I don't know any of this for a fact. One can only guess.
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What is known it that much to the personal (and happy!) surprise of myself and others, three of four of Greta's eggs hatched over the past two days.
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One interesting observation in the process is that one gosling hatched early on Tuesday. 
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Soon after hatching, Greta took her new baby into the water for a brief swim while Hansel watched from a nearby rock.  When Greta climbed back on rocks to return to nesting, Hansel dutifully and immediately took over infant care by quickly jumping into the water to protect and guide his little one eventually back to rocks and his/her mom.  Greta opened her wings for her first born to nestle under while patiently waiting for her other eggs to hatch the following day.   
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(In geese, the ganders are every bit as involved in "child care" as goose hens, if not even a little more in terms of 24/7 protection and vigilance.)
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After a "dry spell" of nearly two years with no goslings in Central Park, we suddenly have three delightful little balls of yellow fluff!
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Words cannot describe the sheer joy and relief of finally seeing would-be goose parents realize their purpose, dream and all they sacrifice for -- that of actually becoming parents.
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Instead of watching bereaved goose couples holding mock funerals over tattered eggs on rocks, we are finally seeing proud parents nestling their little ones, showing them how to obtain food and even chaperoning them across the water.
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Though their goslings were only hours old yesterday, Hansel and Greta wasted no time in guiding their little ones across nearly a mile of the Reservoir, traveling from the far east side of the water to points farther north and west.  
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The round little fluff balls had a very long and likely taxing swim for their first day on earth.
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But, that would not be the only challenge they would have to face during their first day of life.
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A severe thunderstorm hit New York City late last night and into this morning.
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Perhaps that was the reason for Hansel and Greta to hustle their little ones to a higher and more level rock formation to the north west side of the Reservoir in advance of a storm they knew was coming.  Geese seem to "know" these things even without the benefits and forecasts of human meteorologists.  
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I have not yet been to Central Park today to know for certain if all three little ones survived the drenching, raucous storm. 
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But, I have faith in their parents for knowing how to navigate through the storms of life -- both nature made and human created. --  PCA
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2 comments:

Patima Angel said...

I hope CP won't hire the USDA to kill them all. It happens to so many families in the NJ/NY area. I always try to contact the park directors about working with the humane options as much as possible.

PCA said...

There are not enough geese in Central Park for USDA to round up and send to slaughter. There is also too much media in this part of NYC. USDA likes to operate out of the glare of spotlight.