Thursday, June 13, 2019

Central Park Reservoir Goslings in Trouble (Deja-Vu)?

It's one year since 8 of 9 Reservoir goslings in Central Park mysteriously perished -- one month after they hatched.

As of last week, there were once again 9 goslings at the Reservoir and once again they were nearing the one month mark.

As of yesterday, there are only 8 goslings. 

Too much this year seems ominous repeat of last year.

Up until almost a month ago, the landscape surrounding the Reservoir was almost entirely devoid of foliage and vegetation.
And while some plants have been allowed to grow back, the question remains, is it too little, too late?

Reality is, that the Central Park goslings are unusually small and scrawny for their age -- especially compared to goslings in Cortland, NY (where I currently live) who are only a couple of weeks older, but far bigger and more developed.

At least one set of Reservoir goose parents (John and Mary) are highly experienced in successfully raising young and yet they have already lost two of their four goslings.

The other two sets of newer parents (each with three goslings) appear to be struggling to hang on with their babies.

It doesn't look good for any of them. Failure to thrive is an almost sure predictor of early death.

I don't know how many people read this blog or how many might live near the Central Park Reservoir.

This blog post is a plea to any close to Central Park to please bring supplemental food to the remaining goslings!  This could be in the forms of cracked corn, duck pellets, dry cat food, peanuts, peas or whole wheat bread or crackers.  --- Anything to prevent them from fading away and dying.

If you can only get to the park once a week or so, consider spreading extra food along the rocks for the goose families to eat later.

As of yesterday, the families were reported to be together at the North East side of the Reservoir.  Hopefully, they stay together for easier feeding and greater protection.

Considering all the anti-feeding propaganda in New York City, as well as the new park "rule" about to be implemented this summer, it behooves one to make this kind of plea.

But it really does appear at this point, to be a matter of life and death, or, in other words, a very sad deja-vu.


Thursday, June 6, 2019

"You Can't Always Get What You Want....."

"But if you try sometimes, you find, you get what you need."

 More than once in life I have known the lyrics of an old Rolling Stones tune to play out in real life.

Many of us worked hard to try and defeat the proposed Wildlife Feeding Ban in New York City Parks.

But barring some last minute miracle, it is being adopted anyway.

This is certainly disappointing news. Not only is the new "rule" completely unnecessary, but if aggressively enforced, it will punish the few kind-hearted people feeding hungry birds and squirrels in parks for acts of mercy.

It's easy during times like this to think one's efforts in what seems, a "losing cause" have been wasted; our words went unheard, our pleas for compassion, ignored.

We were invisible.

But sometimes we have to look beyond the obvious to see the whole picture as things are not always as they seem.

Yesterday, the Central Park Facebook page put up a video:

It show workers attached to harnesses cleaning up some of the debris tossed onto the Jackie Onassis Reservoir.

The video appears to have recently been filmed in early April as there are Cherry Blossoms on trees.

This is shortly after the time a number of us posted photos of some of the garbage floating in Reservoir water, as well as a barren landscape in which all of the foliage had been chopped down and removed.

Roxanne Delgado of the Bronx Animal Rights Electors had made it a point to highlight the Reservoir as example of destroying natural  food sources for park wildlife, while at the same time failing to clean up garbage.

It seems some people in the NYC Parks Department and Central Park Conservancy finally listened.

But even more important than cleaning up garbage alone, was allowing the vegetation and greenery to grow again.

And over the past six or seven weeks that finally appears to be happening again.

The vegetation and foliage is a critical food source for growing goslings and other park wildlife and waterfowl.

Over the past month, 10 goslings hatched at the Reservoir.

To this point, only one has perished.

It's too early to say whether the remaining 9 goslings will survive long enough to fly out of the Reservoir with their parents in August.
But matters appear far more promising than last year when 8 of 9 Reservoir goslings perished, most likely due to malnutrition.

At least this year, there is growing and robust plant life at the Reservoir, prompting one of the Central Park workers to remark, "We are busy keeping everything nice and green."

 So, on the surface, it appears we lost the battle to protect city park wildlife and the people who feed birds and squirrels.

But while partially true and disappointing, the larger battle might have actually been won -- that of protecting and even providing natural food sources for the wildlife of NYC parks.

As for the question of people supporting hungry wildlife during harsh winters when snow covers the ground and watercourses are iced over, we have to hope that no sane Ranger or cop is going to ticket or haul off to jail, some elderly or disabled person or child tossing bread to a hungry duck or squirrel.

Were that to occur, it would make a tantalizing front page story for the New York Post or Daily News and certainly reflect badly on the Mayor of NYC as well as the city itself.

I said from the beginning that the proposed rule banning wildlife feeding was a "solution seeking a problem."

 Any photos showing "arrest" of a senior citizen or tourist for wildlife feeding would indeed be a problem that a city already beset by real crimes would not need.

But that is the choice the city of New York has made.  It will now have to live with that decision -- and any consequences from it.

As for those of us who fought against the proposed ban, no, we did not get what we wanted.

But we hopefully got what was needed for NYC park wildlife to still survive and hopefully thrive.

Only time will tell for sure.

But for sure, it is never wasted time to fight for what is right -- even if not realizing the fruits of those labors at the time.