Monday, June 29, 2015

Reservoir Goslings Survive their First Month!


Happy one-month birthday to our precious goslings at Central Park Reservoir.  So much riding on those tiny wings.
The parents, Hansel and Greta with their growing babies last night. Note the tiny wings beginning to develop.
 
Yesterday (June 28th), the four goslings at the Central Park Reservoir reached their one-month-old birthday.
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It is great relief to see all four of the little ones make it through their first few challenging weeks of life.
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So far, the growth and behavior of the hatchlings appears more normal than the three doomed goslings these same parents hatched last year.
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The three hatched last year failed to grow and thrive normally. All perished within two months. Though it was impossible to know with certainty, the reason for such misfortune to the hatchlings, egg addling was the likely culprit.
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By contrast, the current babies are now the size of mallards, with long necks and big feet. They are starting to sprout little wings and darken in color. They are able to run and swim fast and appear hardly.
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Perhaps most significantly, the parents appear more protective and engaged with these four than their previous three. It seems on some level, Hansel and Greta "knew" their prior goslings weren't going to make it. While always remaining devoted and attentive to their offspring of last year, there was also a kind of detachment -- as if resigned to unfortunate fate.
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While still too early to draw conclusions or make predictions of survival for the current crop of goslings, I remain guardedly optimistic. Sadly, there are no other goslings in Central Park to compare these four to in terms of growth and development.
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We should know more in about a month when the goslings then should nearly be full size.  Understanding is that they should be ready to fly by three months. But, there is a long way for these goslings to go to reach that goal and critical development stage.  
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For now, to observe and hope and simply take things one day at a time.
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Each time I see them there is always that sweet sigh -- and smile of relief. 
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Reality is, that the future of Central Park resident geese rides on the tiny wings of these four precious little lives. -- PCA
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                                        *************

Friday, June 26, 2015

"Euthanasia" -- Slaughter Does Not Equate to Mercy (Words Matter)



Not only are Canada geese victims of relentless campaigns against them, but as importantly, they are also victims of euphemisms used to cover up the realities and injustices inflicted upon them by our species.
"Euthanasia."  From Greek, meaning, "good death."  "The practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering."  (Wikipedia)
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To those of us who have owned pets and had to face the gut-wrenching decision of when to end a life that has deteriorated due to advanced age or incurable disease, the word, euthanasia conjures up painful and often traumatic memory.
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Fortunately, many veterinarians are sensitive to these difficult circumstances in their clients lives and possess both, the skills and medications today to make the transition of a terminal pet from life to death as painless, quick and merciful as possible.
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Yet, despite precise and unambiguous definition for the term, "euthanasia," today it is routinely used to describe the killing of healthy dogs and cats in shelters (mostly for convenience) and incredibly, the deliberate and wanton, painful slaughter of wildlife, also mostly for convenience and/or profit (i.e. "make work").
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It is absolute insult to any sensitive person who has ever comforted the head of a dying dog or cat, (while a kindly vet injects anesthesia to peacefully end the life) to refer to slaughter as "euthanasia." (It's also bothersome to those concerned with proper use of English, but that is matter not for this blog.)
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Even McDonald's doesn't claim its cows, chickens and pigs are "euthanized."
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And yet, for as long as Canada geese have been rounded up and either gassed to death or slaughtered in New York City, both government and media have repeatedly referred to the ruthless carnage as "euthanasia." 
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The latest example is The Daily News article from two days ago, describing the roundup of 24 geese from Inwood Hills Park -- though in all fairness, the updated version only mentions "euthanasia" once. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/geese-rounded-inwood-reduce-plane-bird-strikes-article-1.2269343
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(In other parts of the world, Canada for example, they are debating whether neck-breaking of geese can be claimed "euthanization." https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/canada-goose-cull-planned-in-b-c---but-euthanization-method-questioned-193713003.html)
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Perhaps part of the problem for reporters in the states is that they are not told by USDA WS how exactly the geese are killed. (Or, more likely, they don't specifically ask.) Rather than report what actually happens to geese once they are captured, loaded into trucks and hauled more than two hours away from New York City, reporters simply use worlds like "remove," (seemingly their favorite), "euthanized" or at least a little more accurately, "culled."
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But, there are a few things we do know for certain:
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1-- The geese typically rounded up by USDA WS are not suffering "pain" from terminal illness or injury (other than the pain and suffering USDA WS inflicts on them) for which euthanasia would be deemed merciful and appropriate.
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2-- The geese are not transported to a veterinarian licensed to conduct euthanasia.
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3-- Methods so far described to kill geese, (Gassing, slaughter or neck-breaking) are not deemed "euthanasia" for birds the size of Canada geese. This is especially true when the birds have undergone the stress of capture, confinement to small crates and been transported long distances in typical summer heat.   
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Regrettably, as appreciative as one is for media coverage of goose slaughters in our city, it is disappointing to see the term, "euthanasia" repeatedly and wrongly applied to barbaric and unholy act. This tendency to replace accuracy and truth with euphemism is not just reflective of media, but also, politicians, government officials and Public Relations representatives of private companies, corporations and entities.  
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The bottom line is that there is nothing "merciful" about slaughter, gassing or neck-breaking of healthy animals.  Nor is there termination of "suffering," but rather, creation of it.
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Employment of euphemisms to describe acts of cruelty and wanton destruction of healthy lives serves neither the public nor the truth.
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It is  painful to see the strength of journalistic and political integrity compromised and diluted by pacifying phrases that bear no application to the grim and unjustifiable reality of the circumstances.
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Most of all, what we know for certain is that the geese captured and sent to their deaths by USDA WS are never "euthanized" and any use of this term to describe the actions should be viewed as blatant attempt to mislead, misinform and delude the public.  
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No one is gently stroking the geese as the blade cuts and they bleed out or the air is sucked from their lungs or they experience "cervical dislocation" (neck-breaking). Nor would any healthy animals ever wish such pain and suffering for themselves -- indeed, the very antonym to "euthanasia."  -- PCA
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                                                ***********
                                                               

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Travails of the Geese (In Memory of Inwood Hills Park Canada Geese)


 
In memoriam.

The below is in memory of the Inwood Hills Park Canada geese who on, 6-24-15 were unceremoniously captured and slaughtered at the hands of USDA Wildlife Services.
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Travails of the Geese
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The killers arrive at dawn
turning into hideous lie
promise of the rising,
spilling sun.
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An uneasy, disrupted peace
settles around the geese.
Despite seeming perfection
of glorious, summer day
Something is amiss.
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With the mechanical ease
that comes with experience,
the killers unload their wares.
Tools of the trade, bought and paid for
by buyers unaware
Exercise in power
for fact it can be done!
Corral and load the geese
It won't take long for victory won!
Humans are, after all, 
masters in uncaring.
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Frightened now,
the geese gather and bind themselves together
"Something is wrong, something is wrong!"
And though prepared to face anything of nature
or weather
They are suddenly trapped
And tethered by flightless feather
That are now useless
to escape their tormenters.
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Boats on water
Rushing paddles
No escape, no exit
Other than headlong
Into the arms of their executioners. 
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Jam, cram, thank you, M' am.
The deed done
The geese packed
Into crates so tightly bound
that the only sound
Is the pounding
of their hemorrhaging hearts.
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Terrified now,
a few peer out their heads
through slats unyielding
Realizing the error of their ways
to fate inexorably sealing
All motionless forms now
Paralyzed in the fear and dread
of realized helplessness
From which there is now
neither escape nor healing.
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Yet in the distance, the mournful, gut-tearing cries!
Of human.
"No, no!  So sorry, babies! So sorry.
How failed to you am I!"
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Another who is helpless
and powerless to change fare
But, somehow in this long and tortured journey
to the bowels of hell itself
There is small comfort
In knowing someone cared.
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From such joyful, optimistic sense 
will rise again the ashes
of these battered, tattered, twisted bodies
To be whole and light again
and into the loving hands
of God.    -- PCA
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                                                  **********
                                                       __________

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

USDA Wildlife (Extermination) Services Descends (Again) on New York City Parks


More than 5,000 geese have and continue to die like this one in NYC due to ruthless, barbaric and misguided government actions that have heart for neither beast nor human. (Photo credit: Van Scott, 2014)
The geese crammed into crates await a terrifying journey to slaughter two hours away while USDA congratulate themselves on a job well done. (Photo credit: Goosewatch, NYC, 2014)
Peace disrupted this morning at Inwood Park and now the 24 geese gone.
 
I hadn't read or heard anything about USDA Wildlife Services returning to NYC this year and hopefully wished that perhaps we and the geese might catch a break for once. -- After all, we supposedly had an "Animal Rights" friendly mayor now and USDA already had more than 5,000 dead NYC geese under its belt. 
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Nevertheless, in the past couple of days, I began to get a bad feeling. I posed question in email to a colleague and posted further question yesterday on the Facebook page of "Save the Geese of Inwood Hill Park."
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It didn't take long to get answer.  
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USDA WS descended on Inwood Hill Park this morning to capture all 24 geese there, crowd them into turkey crates and send them via trucks to an upstate slaughtering facility.
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The only reason we know of the early morning carnage is because one woman took it upon herself to courageously patrol the park and capture photos and video:
  
Witnessing the geese captured, crammed into crates and frantically sticking their heads out was obviously traumatic for the woman, particularly knowing their fate.  
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Apparently, Connie and/or Goosewatch, NYC  https://www.facebook.com/GooseWatchNYC?fref=ts  contacted some media.  So far, The Daily News is reporting the story, but with the familiar "airline safety" excuse.  -- This despite the fact that Inwood Park is six miles from the nearest airport and all 24 geese were currently flightless and "threat" to nothing:
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It's all like a horror movie that keeps repeating year after a year or some grotesque record stuck in a groove. 
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Personally, I am at loss what to say about this that hasn't already been said in this blog hundreds of times before.
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Such actions are barbaric, senseless, wasteful  and diminish us as human beings.
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But, apparently no one is listening.
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The roundup and slaughter of the Inwood Park geese represents but a small part of the USDA WS actions in NYC.  Before finally leaving in a few weeks, it is likely hundreds of geese will be similarly captured by WS and sent on terrifying, miserable journeys to slaughter two hours away. But virtually none of it will be recorded or reported. Few people are actually plugged into what is happening and even fewer seem to care.
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One could of course argue, "There are plenty of geese right now! Too many in fact!"
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I wonder if they said the same things about eastern cougars a century ago? (Apparently they did, according to the killing programs on those animals who were "threat" to livestock.)
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Of course, we don't have to worry about eastern cougars now. They have even been removed from The Endangered Species List.
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That is because they are now extinct.
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One wonders if the same will be true of Canada geese one day?
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What is "threat" today is gone tomorrow.
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And when once, finally gone, there is no need for worry or for tears.
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We simply go on, sensing something is "missing" from our lives, but not having the damndest clue what.  -- PCA
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Monday, June 22, 2015

The "Toddler" Geese -- Adventurous and Curious


"Little swan."
Other geese temporarily invading space of family. Hansel not happy, but the social and curious goslings enjoy. 
"What adventures await beyond the leaves?"
Hansel and Greta finally getting the babies in toe.
 
They look like little swans on the water now.
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The four goslings hatched at the Central Park Reservoir nearly a month ago, have experienced a growth spurt in the past week, particularly, their necks and feet which now appear larger and out of proportion to the rest of their bodies.
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No longer looking like dots alongside their parents in the water, they now have presence all their own and are easily visible -- like little swans with long, skinny necks.
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The behavior of the goslings is also changing -- especially their interest and curiosity in other geese.
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It's not unusual these days to see one or two of the goslings wandering to the areas other geese are grazing.  But then mom quickly motions them back. She doesn't do this by vocalization. Rather, a subtle tilt of the head and some movement in body and direction and the goslings immediately get the message. "Over here, now. Don't make me come and get you!"
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All this while dad keeps a wary and perhaps, somewhat frustrated guard over everything.
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There are simply too many geese (who have arrived at the Reservoir during the past ten days for the molt) to do battle with. Hansel, the dad, recognizes this. It is up to him and Greta, the mom, to keep watch over the little ones and rein them back to the fold when curiosity prompts their little minds and bodies to wander -- or even the other geese temporarily invade their space.   
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The other geese (numbering around 30) are, of course, no threat to the babies. Geese are enormously respectful and accepting of goslings -- even those not their own, as this video demonstrates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL9zqoApnew&feature=share
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But, it's important to keep families together, both for bonding and learning purposes. 
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Nevertheless, like in human families when toddlers start walking, it's also a little harder in goose families when goslings are able to stick their necks out and their feet are capable of taking them places quickly.
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Whether human or goose, mom and dad can never afford to be resting on their laurels. Growing minds are curious and adventurous minds.
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As for me, I am simply relieved that all four goslings are to this point, surviving. Considering all three were lost last year, I never take anything for granted and worry for the four little ones almost constantly.
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There is always that great sigh of relief each night when looking and finally counting to 'four." -- PCA
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Goslings





They look like little swans
Weaving close and far from their parents
on the water
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They are at awkward age now
Not sure that they are to be
ducks, swans or geese
They just for the moment
Be.
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So, they look around
And are curious
to the others of their kind
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"Mommy, Daddy, can we go to see
And meet?"
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"Not now, little ones
There is time enough for that."
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"What is time?"
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"You'll know when it happens."
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"For the moment, little ones, pick and swallow
the blades of grass
For their brilliance is short
in the days of lengthy sun.
When chill postpones the dawn
And ice covers the water
You will know then, the meaning of time
And without even asking
Your brethren meet."
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The goslings lower their heads
And like dutiful little soldiers
Eat
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But, like frenzied, slient paintbrush
Time will reveal and work itself
To alter all above
and beneath
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And change fuzzy little forms
Into the beauty and wonder
that are geese. -- PCA
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Geese


Love through the ages and unbound
A slight change of pace today. The poem below is inspired by and dedicated to the geese, John and Mary at the Central Park Reservoir.  But, it could as easily been for Man and Lady or Napleon and Josephine, Larry and Laura and countless others.
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The Geese
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Across the universe and across time
Silhouettes in the night
Reflections upon water
Separate and yet welded together
in the forever bliss
of unspoken acceptance.
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They are nothing of unique
Ordinary and common spirits in a world that celebrates
the rare and the spectacular
And they have known failure and defeat
Of the most profound kind
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Their babies, barely formed
Never to know the breath of life
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They mourn and they grieve
what has been denied to them.
But, only for short time
As life requires living
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They will persevere and they will try again
For as long as their bodies allow.
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But, for today
To merely take in the warmth of sprinkling, healing sun upon their backs
And bathe in the comfort of each other's welcoming.
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For they are home in the loving gaze of the other's eyes
And silent, feathery caresses flowing
on tips of summer breezes
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Across the universe and across time
Silhouettes in the night
Reflections upon water
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The two geese melt together and disappear
Over the horizon.  -- PCA
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                                               ***********

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wild Goose Slaughter in Ozark, Missouri


The four goslings of Central Park. Babies just like these were rounded up in Ozark, Missouri yesterday along with their parents. While their moms and dads were sent to slaughter, the orphaned goslings were dropped off in some "distant conservation area" to become easy fodder for predators or starve to death.
 
Anyone reading this blog on regular basis, knows I am not an avid fan of goose harassment and egg addling  -- especially when these methods are used in extreme, to entirely empty a lake or pond of all existing geese.
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However, even I concede that these methods are highly effective in lowering and eventually eliminating goose populations as has been aptly described in Central Park in New York City over the past several years.
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Nevertheless, despite the availability of proven, non-lethal goose "management" tools such as Border Collie harassment and egg addling, there are communities across our country that still resort to barbaric and indefensible goose roundups and slaughters.
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The latest on this nefarious list is Ozark, Missouri, where this past Monday, they chased, hit with boat paddles and eventually corralled 60 Canada geese and their goslings. The adult geese were sent to slaughter. Their orphaned babies were dropped off at a remote location where they either become fodder for predators or starve to death:
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It is disappointing that there was no formal protest to this horrific and unjustifiable event (for which the excuse was "goose poop on shoes") at the location itself.  But, indeed it is imperative to post comment to the actual article and accompanying video.  (Click the comment box, alongside the social media icons.)
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The "good news" in this travesty is that the reporter did a good job in asking all the right questions of the Animal Control officer (James Dixon) in charge of the roundup and filming the video.
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We learn from the article and interview  that this community did nothing in terms of implementing effective non-lethal goose management. We learn there were foxes in the area a few years ago that mysteriously disappeared. (The speculation of "flooding" is dubious insofar as wildlife predators completely vanishing from a location. -- Especially a location that slaughters harmless birds for "poop on shoes.") And we learn from comments that there is an event occurring in the park in a couple of days ("Sertoma Duck Race") that is likely the real impetus for the roundup. ("Cleaning house," so to speak.)
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The bottom line is that these 60 geese and their goslings died for no justifiable reason. Sixty geese is not "overpopulation" by any stretch of the imagination on a large lake. Waterfowl are natural to watercourses.  
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Trying to make a massacre palatable by claiming that sickly, molting geese will be "fed to the poor" or that their orphaned babies are sent to some "distant conservation area" is insult to the intelligence of any thinking and reasonable person.
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The molting geese and their babies would have naturally left this park as soon as they grew their flight feathers.
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Please post comment directly to the article.   Thanks.   -- PCA
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Monday, June 15, 2015

The Mystery that Binds Goose Pairs Together -- It's Not Just About Procreation



The new goslings at Central Park with parents.
John and Mary. Still together and devoted to each other despite three years of their eggs failing to hatch.  Whatever binds goose couples together, apparently reproduction isn't necessary for love and life-long attachment.


Some positive developments over the past week.
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Geese Police has not been observed harassing flightless and crippled geese at the Boat Lake in Central Park. That is good news as virtually all, but a very few geese are in full molt now. (Flightless, six-week period when geese lose and replace old flight feathers with new ones.) 
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Back at the Reservoir, where most of the wildlife action is occurring these days, we actually have more molting geese than we did the past two years.
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That is because the molting goose population appears to be concentrated at the Reservoir this year as opposed to dispersed at different watercourses in Central Park. (This is likely due to the nearly year-round harassment that only apparently ceased the past week. There are only six geese at the Boat Lake this year from a high of 17 over past two years.)
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Personally, I am not so sure that is positive development as much as a wash.  Good news is that the Reservoir is a generally safe area for the geese for the lack of human activities, (including harassment) and because it would be very difficult to pull off a USDA Wildlife Services roundup there. Bad news is any concentration of geese in one area usually results in attention from wildlife officials and could be potentially destructive were any infectious disease to break out.
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Fortunately, the number of geese is not that big at the Reservoir, but rather akin to what the overall number of molting geese has been in CP over the past few years (Around 40). They are just nearly all in one place now.
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As far as the four resident (adult) geese who were already at the Reservoir before the newcomers arrived, they are none too pleased, but accepting of the reality.
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Parents to the four goslings hatched two weeks ago, Hansel and Greta, generally avoid the geese there for the molt, but when paths cross, Hansel is quick (and fierce) to lay down rules. The newcomers are learning fast who are the prime honchos at the Reservoir. Those who don't heed the message immediately are dunked in water and unceremoniously chased and pecked away by Hansel.
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John and Mary have also wasted no time is letting other geese know they are second in command at the Reservoir, though it's interesting to note that since the "battle" of last week (between Hansel and John), the defeated pair are very careful to avoid the family completely. It was a hard lesson for John, but one apparently learned well.
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The 30+ new geese appear to be comprised of small family groups and a number of pairs. 
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There has been some scrapping among the geese, but no out and out battles similar to last week. As noted, hierarchy and order are important among geese. Generally, the older, established pairs call the shots and the younger, unattached geese have to acquiesce.
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It is interesting to note that as devoted and protective as new parental geese are to their offspring, once the goslings become young adults (at about a year), the parents usually become harsh disciplinarians.  That is especially true when the parents want to mate again in the spring -- in which case, they literally kick the kids out.
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But, because so few NYC geese are allowed to hatch new goslings, it seems many of the former parents reunite with grown offspring. -- In which case, they still play the role of disciplinarians, but with forever loving and devoted touch.  The young ones simply have to learn well the rules of respect and being able to take hard knocks in the goose world.  That is, after all what life is all about. -- Working one's way to the top.
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Young geese have to earn their privileges, among them, the rights to eventually breed -- though such is greatly thwarted by humans in charge these days. One has to wonder about the long range impacts of egg destruction tactics over the long haul, especially on the geese's normal tendency to mate for life. (See article link above.) 
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However, so far, it has been interesting and reassuring to note Central Park goose pairs whose eggs have been consistently destroyed over some years, nevertheless staying together. (John and Mary, Napoleon and Josephine, Man and Lady and Larry and Laura).
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Loyalty, steadfastness and devotion seem to know no bounds among the geese despite whatever hardships come their way -- including failure to reproduce.
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Apparently, love in the goose world is not entirely dependent upon procreation.
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There is something else binding established goose pairs together, but damned if I personally know what that something is. -- PCA
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                                                **********

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Similarities and Inevitabilities of Geese, Humans and Life


Protective dad and goslings last night after rock concert ended.
Dad, mom and babies preparing to settle down for evening.  
They enjoy rock and classical music concerts.  They enjoy cheering on their choice in a knock-down drag out fight (but when necessary, also play peacemaker to intervene and break up fights). They are social and curious and enjoy being where the action is. They love travel and adventure and are loathe to stay in any one place too long.  They marry for life and are fiercely protective of their mates and children.
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No, I am not speaking of humans, but rather, Canada geese -- who are, in many ways, remarkably similar to us.
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Some may scoff and particular raise eyebrows at the line about "enjoying musical concerts."
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Well, something happening a few times can be chalked up to coincidence.
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But, something noted many times over a number of years and with different geese seems more tendency than coincidence.
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A few years ago, I wrote (somewhat tongue-in-cheek), how the goose parents who raised goslings at Turtle Pond would seem to return to the nesting area every time there was a musical production at the nearby Delacourt theatre.  The family, with then, nearly grown (and flying) goslings would take position on their favorite rock in the evenings to intently take in  the (free) opera or musical play being performed. 
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"Ah, they have appreciation for classical music!" I mused to myself -- though I could never figure how the goose family knew when the concerts were to occur. (Some kind of special radar or ESP?.)
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In the years following, I noted many times that the geese who traditionally molted at the Central Park Boat Lake in the summer, similarly seemed to enjoy the bongo drums and other lively music performed by musicians around Bethesda fountain. (Apparently, geese's musical tastes are not just confined to the classics.)
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Last night was "Museum Mile Walk" on Fifth Avenue, which drew thousands of people (apparently, the museums are free), food vendors and a rock band performing near the Guggenheim museum on 88th Street.
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When entering Central Park at the East 90th street entrance, I wondered if the loud rock music might spook newly arrived and molting Canada geese at the Reservoir or the family with their young goslings?
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I could not have been more wrong.
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On the contrary, all of the geese were gathered along the east side of the Reservoir where the music was its loudest and the crowds were the thickest.
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When the music finally ended around 9 PM and crowds thinned, most of the geese leisurely swam towards the middle and western parts of the Reservoir, having apparently realized the show was over. (Only the family and John and Mary remained east, which is where they usually stay at night.)  I was, unfortunately, not able to get their reviews of the rock band, but from all indications, the geese seemed to have approved.  
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Perhaps all of this is "coincidence," but I am personally and absolutely convinced that Canada geese love music and it doesn't matter what kind. Rock, rap, bongos, heavy metal, country, opera or classical. -- Bring it on! 
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Yesterday's blog posting dealt somewhat with goose hierarchy, rules, and the fights geese sometimes have to "enforce" those rules and status placements.
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Most corrections and rule enforcement in the goose worlds are mild and inconsequential. The dominant geese move in, the subordinates politely move away. Sometimes, there's a little butt pecking, but the geese get the message. There is order. There is hierarchy. And most of the time there is acceptance and peace.
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Sometimes though (like a few evenings ago), the subordinates don't move quickly or far enough away -- in which case, an all out battle ensues.
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Looking over "Canada goose fights" on YouTube, I don't see any where geese actually kill or even severely injure each other (though there is a lot of neck-feather grabbing and pulling).
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Perhaps the most fiercely fought battle of posted videos is this one from Harlem Meer in Central Park from just a couple of years ago.  It is particularly intriguing because of the reactions of the other geese:
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In the beginning of the video, the other geese look on with interest (like humans watching a boxing match), but as the battle of the ganders continues, the other geese eventually move in and appear to break up the match.  "OK, guys, good fight, but time to move on!" 
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Both ganders move to their respective flocks, no worse for the wear, though both geese undoubtedly were missing a bunch of neck feathers and sustained some mild injury.  It's not clear if either of the ganders actually "won" what was most likely a territorial battle over space or possible mates.
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A few nights ago, the obvious "winner" of the battle was the dominant alpha gander with family to defend. But, even in that case, the female mate of the victor eventually gathered up the goslings and began to swim away in the water -- seemingly a signal to her mate to give up the fight and return to the fold (which he did). "He's surely gotten the message by now, Dear" Greta seemed to say in her actions to her victorious gander.
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In saying these things, I am guessing there are instances when goose fights have resulted in grievous injury or even death to one of the ganders.
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But, I believe that in goose "society" (like human society) there are mechanisms and actions in place to prevent territorial, food or mating battles from resulting in actual death to one of the combatants.  That doesn't mean they always work as they don't always work in human society to prevent murders. But, as said yesterday, for the most part, waterbird fights generally appear worse than they actually are. Unfortunately, much as we may not like to see them, they serve important purpose in terms of establishing social and family order.
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The bottom line to all this is the more one personally observes and studies geese, the more they appear to be, "just like us." 
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But, me being particularly biased and prejudiced, I tend to think that geese more accurately represent what humans aspire to be in terms of loyalty, devotion and bravery.
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I daresay that were humans more like geese, there would rarely if ever be, wars, divorce or betrayals -- though there would always be the unavoidable battles for status, territory, food and mates.
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Those just seem to be among the inevitabilities of life itself and all of nature. -- PCA
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