Monday, April 4, 2016

Changing of the Guards -- Migratory Geese Depart; Familiar Favorites Return


Hansel and Greta banishing the kids and laying claim to their nesting area.
Greta (front) is the bold one.
Chasing the kids -- again.
Napoleon at Harlem Meer. "Hi There! Good to see you again!"
Napoleon and Josie.
The three banished goslings. On their own now.
John and Mary. Having known years of heartbreak at the Reservoir, they return to try again.
 
The roughly 200 migratory Canada geese who had spent most of the winter at the Central Park Reservoir all departed by the second week in March.
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But, the Reservoir is not entirely goose-empty.
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In place of the migratory geese, we have return of familiar family and faces.
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Hansel, Greta and their three surviving goslings from last spring arrived back to the Reservoir within a week from the wintering geese's departure.
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But, they did not remain an intact family for long.
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As is usual in the spring, goose parents "kick the kids out of the nest" when the urge to merge once again sets in.
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Within two weeks of their arrival, Hansel was quick to give the fledglings the "bum's rush" so to speak, honking, pecking and consistently chasing them away from what is for Hansel and Greta, their nesting territory. It wasn't necessarily pretty to watch or listen to, but it is nature's way. A gander does what he has to do. It was time for the kids to be on their own.
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The important life lesson occurred over the course of several days. The fledglings made several attempts to return back to mommy and daddy, but each time were rebuffed by dad in no uncertain terms.
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However, over the past couple of weeks, all three young geese have seemingly learned their lesson and now respect their parent's right to privacy and territory.  They are careful to stay towards the west and north sides of the Reservoir as their parents lay claim to the entire east side.
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Hansel, Greta and youngsters were not the only geese to return to the Reservoir.
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John and Mary also returned.
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As in previous years, John and Mary stay primarily in the west and north sides of the Reservoir.
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They don't appear to object to the three youngsters suddenly sharing their space -- though that may only be temporary.
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Neither Mary nor Greta are yet nesting (probably because there is not much plant cover for them yet).
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Should Mary nest again (which is expected), John will become far less tolerant of the new geese in the area. But for the time being, matters are peaceful.
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A couple of weeks ago, I went to check the goose situation at Harlem Meer.
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It was pleasing to see once again, the return of Napoleon and Josephine to the Meer.
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Even more pleasing (and ego-gratifying) was that they immediately remembered and came over to greet me.
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But, of course all the geese remember who their human friends are -- no matter how much time has gone by without actually seeing. Geese never forget a face.  
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There are two pairs of other geese at the Meer.  But, as in years past, they are relegated to the far south east side of the lake. Only Napoleon and Josephine  (the dominant pair) nest at the Meer and they lay claim to most of the lake.
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But, none of our returned, resident geese are nesting yet in Central Park.
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When that finally occurs (usually starting in mid to late April), it will once again be bittersweet.
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Central Park has a policy of oiling eggs and sometimes actually destroying goose nests.
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The only pair to successfully hatch goslings last year were Hansel and Greta -- probably because their nest was so well hidden and camouflaged.
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I am hoping for lots of tall plants and foliage this spring.  -- PCA
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