Monday, February 1, 2016

One Big Snow to Keep the Geese and Ducks on Wings and Toes


Geese flying out of Reservoir most evenings to seek open grass and food.
Night of the blizzard.
Skiers along the Reservoir.
Aftermath
The snow more than two feet deep.
Hungry geese and ducks navigating the snow.
"Whoops!  What is this?"
This goose had a hard time getting out of the hole, but she finally used her wings and made it safely out. 
Most of the snow and ice melted a week later.
I wasn't particularly worried for the geese and ducks last week when a near-record blizzard hit New York City dumping 27.8 inches of snow.
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I knew the birds could adapt to temporary sub-freezing temperatures and brutal storm. This was especially true considering the extremely mild winter New York City has been enjoying so far.
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Up until the blizzard, we had virtually no snow in NYC and none of the Jackie Onassis Reservoir had iced over.
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But, much would depend upon the weather conditions following the actual storm.
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Fortunately for the birds and other wildlife, temperatures quickly warmed to the 40's and a week later, most of the snow has melted.
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The geese and many of the mallards have returned to their normal routines of usually flying out of the Reservoir in the evenings to seek open grass fields for food.
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Such is very different from the past two winters when bitter temperatures over many weeks prevented accumulated snows from melting on the ground or iced over watercourses even temporarily thawing.
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Thousands of water birds in the North East perished due to starvation during the last two winters, but so far, I am not personally aware of any dying in Central Park. That is great relief as it was not pleasant last year to note the number of frozen ducks, geese, a gull and a coot who perished on the then-99% iced over Reservoir.
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This year, the Reservoir only partially iced over for one day (this past week), causing some confusion to presumably young geese. One goose slipped through the ice and for a few moments, couldn't figure how to get out. But finally, she used her wings and managed to fly out of the hole she had fallen through and rejoined her flock.
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"Damn, what was THAT?" I could hear her thinking.
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One could say our water birds have had a piece of cake this winter and might be just a wee bit spoiled.
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Perhaps it was good that we had at least one big snow storm -- just to keep them on their wings and toes. -- PCA
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2 comments:

Nicole said...

Im so happy we're having a mild winter, I'll never forget last year on the reservoir, even the first day of spring was snowing. Thank You for your blog and all the info, I otherwise would not know.

PCA said...

Thank you, Nicole for your interest and for sharing your own observations. Yes, we are lucky that this winter is nothing like last. All the birds have thankfully had it easy so far. :)