Friday, July 21, 2017
They both often share the same lakes and ponds. They generally enjoy the same diet. Both species migrate and both are intelligent and highly adaptable. And though both are remarkably social with humans, these may be where the similarities between mallards and Canada geese end.
Both in personality and lifestyle, the two bird species are quite different.
One of the key differences between mallards and geese is that geese mate for life and both parents raise their offspring whereas mallards are generally polygamous in their affections and it is usually the mother who alone, raises the ducklings (There are, however rare exceptions to this rule. I once noted a mallard pair raising their ducklings together at Harlem Meer, but such is generally an anomaly. -- Never say never!)
Probably because both parents are involved in the protection and rearing of offspring, Canada goose goslings have a substantially higher survival rate than do ducklings. A mallard hen can produce up to a dozen ducklings, but she is lucky if even half of them make it to their first month. Canada geese usually produce two to seven hatchlings, most of whom survive to adulthood if getting through the first few precarious days of life when they are particularly vulnerable to accident or predation.
Geese also appear far better organized and disciplined than are mallards -- even from the moment they hatch from their eggs. Observe a new family of Canada geese and one will note the goslings staying extremely close to their parents, both on land and in the water. A new mallard mother on the other hand, has a job trying to keep all her ducklings together as there is great tendency among the little ones to wander off and explore on their own --sometimes losing sight of their mama in the process! (It is, for example, common every spring and summer to read news stories of rescued ducklings who have fallen through storm drains or gotten themselves into some other precarious situation, whereas such are rare for Canada goose goslings.)
Although Canada goose goslings appear the same (as do ducklings), it is sometimes easy to guess the sexes of goslings by the behavior of the parents towards them. As the hatchlings grow, ganders heap more attention on the males while their female mates appear to spend more time and focus with the girls. Presumably this is to teach the youngsters from a very early age, the roles and duties assigned to and expected of them on the basis of their sexes.
Recently, for example, I arrived at the Central Park Reservoir to find the two girls of Hansel and Greta with their mother, while Hansel was with his son some twenty or so yards away from the rest of the family. This is something observed quite frequently over the past ten weeks since the goslings hatched, prompting me to conclude with some confidence, the sexes of the three goslings. (Already the male of the three has demonstrated protective behaviors most often associated with ganders. He has either been taught these by his father or is imitating them.)
Though it's possible that mother mallards may devote time and focus teaching their female ducklings "how to be girls," I personally have never seen it. From my observations, it seems mama mallards have their work cut out just keeping the family safe and together.
In essence, a key difference between mallards and Canada geese is the manner in which little ones are raised. Exploration and independence seem to be encouraged early on in small ducklings, whereas in Canada geese, discipline, order, devotion to family and sexual role identification are established in the dawning days of the gosling's life. Any deviations from the established protocols among geese tend to be met with harsh corrections and discipline. Canada geese appear to be in fact, the epitome of "tough love."
Speaking of love (and reproduction), this may be the primary way geese and mallards differ. Put simply, when it comes to romance and devotion, Canada geese appear to have it all over mallards.
Love and sex in the mallard world is often composed of "Wam, bam, thank you, Ma' em." A female mallard not already paired up with a male, can find herself victim of harassment and even sexual assault by more than one drake. (A Park Ranger once told me that female mallards are sometimes killed in the spring by pursuit from several drakes. I have personally witnessed aggressive pursuit (and fighting) among drakes for one female and certainly the hens had a rough time of it, but thankfully survived. I suspect this is the reason some female mallards seek to pair up with a drake in the late winter in order to avoid later becoming a victim of spring hormones and "gang rape," so to speak.
Such roughness and "rape" is rarely, if ever observed in the goose world, though it is common for two ganders to fight heartily for the affections of a female goose.
But once the romantic connection is established between a gander and his female love interest, it IS literally, 'til death do part!
Following are just a few of the many examples of devotion and undying commitment observed in Canada goose pairs over the years:
* Several years ago, a nesting goose became ill and perished at the Central Park Reservoir. Her devoted mate searched and called out plaintively for her for weeks. Although other geese arrived at the Reservoir for the summer molt (most of them young "singles"), the bereaved gander chose to remain alone. When the molt ended weeks later and the other geese departed, the widowed gander still remained alone and searching on the water; indeed a sad and lonely sight. (This phenomenon has been observed in other widowed geese, as well.) The grieving process in geese over lost loves is a profoundly long and painful one.
* Canada goose ganders do not abandon their mates even after repeated nest failures. For some years Central Park practiced Canada goose nest and egg destruction. Time and again I observed known goose couples mourn the losses of their eggs. But the same goose pairs would return the following year to try again. Nor do ganders abandon their mates if they suffer injury of disability. There is an older goose pair at Central Park's Turtle Pond who have been together for years -- this despite the female ("Stumpy") missing a foot and not being able to keep up with her mate ("Stanley") on land and in the water.
* Last October during the migration season, a lone Canada goose remained on the water at the Central Park Reservoir long after her gaggle (and mate) departed. It's not known what caused her to be left behind, but for days she remained stoically on the water either waiting for death or for her mate to return. Other skeins of migrating geese arrived and departed, but still the lone goose remained; a forlorn figure under the chilly and foreboding skies. Then, after nearly a week, (when I expected to find her dead on the water), I was shocked one evening to find the loner goose suddenly swimming with a mirror image beside her -- so close were the two geese they almost appeared as one on the water! The image was the very definition of romance as it seemed (following such trauma), the two geese would never let each other out of their sight again. The next evening the two flew out together to presumably try to catch up to their migrating flock many miles ahead. The main thing though was that they had found each other again. A true romance story.
Of course, mallards and other ducks often form extremely close bonds, but I have not been witness to the kinds of undying devotion and commitment one commonly sees in Canada geese. Such steadfast devotion is in fact, rarely seen in so-called, "monogamous" humans.
Although they share certain similarities (and many differences), the relationship between mallards and Canada geese is a curious one. There are times they appear to regard the other as either, "nuisance" or "bully" and there are times they actually work together -- especially to get through a particularly rough winter. Mallards are smaller and faster than geese and during icy times, help to break up small ice patches in the water. Geese on the other hand, (being heavier and slower) help to break up snow on the ground which aids mallards in finding food.
Mother mallards will sometimes seek out a goose family with goslings to roost near with her ducklings at night. (I personally observed this at Turtle Pond seven years ago.) The vigilance and protectiveness of Canada goose parents helped ensure extra security for the mallard mother and her babies.
In essence, though they don't always "love" each other, mallards and Canada geese have worked out a highly beneficial relationship for all over the years. They don't have to love in order to respect and place significant and intelligent value on the company of the other for their own ultimate good.
Both species are unique and special in their own ways -- as is, all life. -- PCA
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
One of the most fascinating and informative aspects of observing Canada geese is their intricate social and family structure.
It might appear to the casual eye that a gaggle of geese on a lake or grazing peacefully on grass is a loose and random thing devoid of structure and order. But nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, there is a very definitive hierarchy among Canada geese and those who attempt to test or challenge its order in any way can be in for rough corrections.
At the very top of the hierarchy are the mated goose pairs with goslings. They essentially rule over all and have first claims to territory and food. So fierce are geese parents in protecting their young and providing the best in resources for them, that no other geese dare to challenge or even defend themselves if and when attacked.
And it is not only the gander who vigorously defends and wards off possible intruders into family space, but the mother goose hen as well. (This is especially true as goslings grow and no longer require the mother to constantly hover over them as is needed when the babies are small.)
In the past few weeks, I have noted, for example, Greta taking on a much larger role in chasing off and even attacking those hapless geese who make the mistake of getting too close to the family at Central Park's Reservoir. Moreover, while her mate, Hansel is usually content to chase and pull some down feathers from the offending goose, Greta is far more relentless and even aggressive in her pursuit; often pushing the subordinate goose down in the water and continuing the chase on to land. "Mother goose" doesn't fool around as the name in human folklore implies.
Below parental geese in hierarchy, are the older, established goose pairs without goslings. (But even they have to acquiesce to pairs with offspring.) It is common to see these geese chasing and administering "corrections" to younger geese or sometimes just going off on their own, away from the maddening crowd.
At the very bottom of goose hierarchy are the young "singles;" particularly those yearlings from last year's crop of goslings who, not only have to withstand constant corrections from the group at large, but even their own parents. (It is particularly brutal to observe parental geese vanquishing their offspring from the year before when they want to nest again in the spring. "Kicking from the nest" is not just a phrase.)
Established social order among Canada geese has not just played out at the Central Park Reservoir this summer, but also at the park's famous Rowboat Lake. There, two mated goose pairs have (so far) successfully raised four goslings.
The interesting aspect about this set of circumstances is that one pair only had one gosling and the other pair had three. Amazingly however, both families meshed together (presumably for the overall safety of all the offspring) and as result, even the solitary gosling without siblings has survived. Such might normally be difficult in nature as geese are flock birds who almost always grow up with siblings. It seems in this case, the parent geese of the one gosling adapted and figured out a way for their baby to grow up with others. Fortunately for them, the other goose parents were accommodating. As the saying goes, "There is safety in numbers" and goose parents appear to know this all too well.
There are also five other geese at the rowboat lake, including the presumed parents (Man and Lady) of the two new goose mothers. They appear to be hanging out most of the time with three of their offspring from prior years as they did not successfully nest this year. But even the new grandparents now have to acquiesce to the two families with goslings.
Quite often all 13 geese can be observed in fairly close proximity to each other, but the five have to maintain respectful distance from the two families all the time. Hierarchy and structure matter in the goose world and they matter all the time.
The reason for choosing this particular time to cover goose hierarchy and the particularly high protective status of goose parents with babies is due to the disturbing story covered in yesterday's blog.
The reason for choosing this particular time to cover goose hierarchy and the particularly high protective status of goose parents with babies is due to the disturbing story covered in yesterday's blog.
That concerned a goose family with six goslings who were brutally rounded up on a woman's driveway in California by USDA Wildlife Services and sent to their deaths. .http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/environment-and-nature/20170715/scotts-valley-residents-appalled-after-eight-geese-netted-in-spring-lakes-park
The story was particularly horrifying due to eyewitnesses descriptions of all the "blood" left in the aftermath of the assault. Normally, goose roundups result in lots of feathers strewn about, but not blood.
One has to conclude that either USDA hired brutal thugs to do the particular roundup or that the goose parents fought fiercely for their lives and those of their babies.
I personally surmise that both are tragically true. -- PCA
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
When Cindy Moore returned to her Spring Lakes home in Santa Cruz, California on June 21 of this year, she was greeted by a tangled mess of blood, feathers and feces that covered her driveway. She was unable to park her car until attempting to hose down what she later described as a "massacre in my driveway."
Ms. Moore later learned from area residents and eyewitnesses that during her brief absence, a USDA truck had pulled into the area and that agents for the federal government agency spent more than 20 minutes, chasing, terrorizing and eventually capturing a family of two parent Canada geese and their six goslings to haul away to their deaths.
Ms. Moore claims to have watched the goose parents raise their young and is now so traumatized by the assault (literally in her own backyard), she has put her home up for sale after living there six years.
A community newsletter, "The Spring Lakes Park Gazette" confirmed two days later, that USDA Wildlife Services had indeed "removed" the eight geese for the so-called "safety and health" of residents, a few of whom had apparently complained.
But four of Ms. Moore's neighbors sent letters of protest to all the residents of the mobile park and others spoke to the press on condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution.
One woman described a chaotic scene in which the two adult geese and their six babies were separated, chased, netted and dumped in a truck with one of the agents telling her the geese would later be "euthanized." Another witness stated "The geese were in distress as evidenced by the amount of blood, feathers and diarrhea."
One seriously has to wonder what kind of country we are living, in which a rogue government agency can suddenly sweep into one's driveway and conduct a bloody, lethal roundup of innocent wildlife without any notification to the property and home owners?
While known that the geese have no rights, one has to wonder about the rights of the people?
Sadly, clandestine goose roundups like the one in Cindy Moore's backyard or area parks around the nation are neither unique or rare. On the contrary, they are common. Only a pitiful few ever garner attention from the press.
Here in New York City, USDA (secret) goose killings are no longer reported at all by the major media. On the contrary (as reported yesterday in this blog), New Yorkers were actually lied to this year when an article published in Crain's New York this past June falsely claimed that New York City geese were getting a "reprieve" this summer and would not be killed at all. (It's not clear at this time who from the "city" lied to the reporter of the Crain's piece as the author declined to name sources for his misinformation.)
We have since learned (no thanks to the press) that USDA goose culls did indeed occur in NYC over the past month, but USDA won't disclose how many geese were killed or from what parks and other city locations they were "removed."
It's past time for the citizens of this country to rise up against the barrage of misrepresentations, cover-ups, deceptions, false media stories that bear no accountability or duty to correct and most of all, rogue government officials and agencies (particularly USDA Wildlife Services) who contract for deadly wildlife "massacres" without ever bothering to notify the citizenry it is supposedly serving and "protecting."
It is truly a disturbing and bizarre day when people feel compelled to put their homes up for sale because of the trauma and memory of a bloody "massacre" occurring on their own doorstep.
It's a day when the lies have come home to roost. It's a day to recognize that if we cannot trust and have credibility from those in power, we have nothing at all.
Our democracy is apparently on life support in more ways than one. -- PCA
Monday, July 17, 2017
Sometimes it seems (especially over the past year) that our country is choking on a consistent diet of dastardly lies and obfuscations.
Though most of the concealments and untruths concern matters outside our immediate backyards, they are nevertheless serious and rightly cause concern over the legitimacy of our Presidential elections -- something at the bedrock of American democracy.
But sometimes the deceptions, misrepresentations and evil doings hit much closer to home. -- Right up to the grasses and lakes of our local city parks, for example.
On June 15 of this year, I published a blog entitled, "New York City Geese and Their Babies Get a Reprieve this year." The blog quoted and was based upon an article appearing in Crain's (a normally credible news source) that stated "no Canada geese were to be culled in NYC this year." The geese were in essence, getting a "reprieve."
According to the piece, New York City would be embarking on a non-lethal program for goose management in 2017 that would not involve the direct slaughter or gassing of adult birds. Instead, the plan was for "egg and nest destruction and harassment" (bad enough on their own).
The problem is, the premise of this article was entirely false.
Canada geese were in fact, rounded up and killed in New York City this summer.
But like the rest of deliberate concealments and obfuscations, we are not told exactly where these slaughters occurred or how many geese were "culled." (We apparently have to "wait" until the USDA WS writes up a report which could take months.) At this moment, USDA and other government officials only admit that goose cullings occurred in two areas recently monitored by pedestrians: Brookville Park (about 40 geese) and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge where apparently at least 50 geese were captured and sent to their deaths more than a week ago.
The only reason we know of these specific targeted locations is due to the diligence and persistence of one gentleman who not only monitored the sites mentioned, but also hounded various officials for answers, including the director of NY state USDA Wildlife Services. This person also contacted the reporter, Peter D'Amato, who wrote the misleading and inaccurate piece for Crain's to set the record straight. The reporter acknowledges geese were killed in NYC this year, but apparently feels no obligation to correct and clarify his errant article -- something credible news sources have duty and obligation to do.
Personally speaking, I (like many other weary New Yorkers) wanted desperately to believe the Crain's article when it came out which is why it was featured in this blog and posted on many Facebook and other social media sites by others. (At the same time, however, I remained somewhat skeptical as the article quoted no direct sources or individuals. I therefore was careful to daily monitor the roughly 50 geese and their babies who have stayed at Central Park during the molt. Thankfully all have remained unharmed to this day.)
It is absolutely reprehensible to lie to and mislead the public as Crain's New York is guilty of as well as the city itself.
While apparently true that New York City did not itself sign a goose killing contract with USDA Wildlife Services, it simply shifted the lethal contracting aspects to the Port Authority which is under no obligation to give Community Notifications of goose cullings to either the public or the media.
This is an extremely slick way of continuing goose killings every year in NYC while at the same time, maintaining that the city of New York "cares about and promotes peacefully living with and tolerating wildlife." -- Something the deBlasio administration has been keen to claim and promote in city bus and subway ads.
Is there ever a day that goes by that we are not lied to by politicians and irresponsible media?
Barbarity and killing are no less dastardly and evil when glossed over with lies and obfuscations. In fact, one could argue they are worse.
As some have argued, "Worse than the crime itself, are the coverups."
Such once brought one President down and could soon take another.
All those officials and media lying to New Yorkers this year that "no goose cullings would occur" also need to be taken to task and ditched to the Unemployment lines.There needs to be serious consequences for lies and coverups.
People being lulled into false complacency is the death knell for geese and other wildlife everywhere. -- PCA
People being lulled into false complacency is the death knell for geese and other wildlife everywhere. -- PCA
Saturday, June 24, 2017
It is virtually impossible to get through an entire spring in New York City's Central Park without some casualties to our park geese and ducks.
This spring was no exception as losses occurred to newly hatched goslings and one long-time domestic duck. Additionally, a number of goose eggs failed to hatch.
But, all in all, it's was a comparatively peaceful and even cheerful spring as Central Park's geese were free from harassment this year and at least three mated goose couples produced healthy offspring. (One pair from the Reservoir and two couples from the Boat Lake.)
Though gosling numbers are still low in Central Park (only seven in total), reality is, that if the babies make it through the first couple of weeks, chances vastly improve for their ultimate survival.
I was not optimistic that a tiny, lone gosling to one of the Boat Lake goose pairs would survive as s/he had no siblings to huddle and grow up with. But at the same time this little one hatched (in early June) a nearby goose couple hatched three goslings and the two families have stayed together ever since.
I initially speculated that the two mother geese are likely sisters and this was the reason for the two families to raise their babies in close proximity to each other. But it's also probable that the couple with only one baby made conscious decision to stay close to the family with three in order to ensure better survival odds to their only hatchling. Four adult geese together can, after all, defend better against potential predators (such as raccoons) than only two.
Though all four goslings are often observed intermingling and grazing together, each baby is clearly imprinted to his/her parents. At the end of the day, the one gosling is always with his parents and the other three with theirs. There is clear division between the two families though they remain close.
One of the things impressive about the two new goose families at Central Park's Boat Lake is their ease and comfort around people. This is particularly true of the mother geese (who determine nesting sites) and further suggests they are not only sisters, but likely hatched themselves at the Boat Lake some years ago. (They are likely the offspring of long-time resident goose pair, Man and Lady who still remain at the lake.)
It is remarkable to see the two families comfortably grazing daily at a small lawn near the Ladies Pavilion that is a popular attractant to tourists and other park goers. Fortunately, for the geese and their babies, virtually all the people have demonstrated respect and kindness, stopping mostly to photograph the two families. Certainly, the geese have proven themselves to be a popular tourist attraction to Central Park.
Though the mother geese are particularly at ease with people, their ganders are far more wary. -- Especially the gander I named, "Zeus" who is the daddy to the one gosling. Zeus appears to be the sentry goose for both families, always keeping watchful eye and rarely stopping to graze. (Zeus also looks like he's been in some past battles to secure the affections of his mate, Zorra as evidenced by old, torn feathers on his chest.)
Meanwhile, back at Central Park's Reservoir, the three older goslings (hatched on May 8th, to experienced goose pair, Hansel and Greta) are now half grown and starting to show assertiveness, particular bonding to the same sex parent and some independence. I have speculated for some time that the three are composed of two girls and one boy. It was therefore not surprising yesterday to note two of the goslings swimming with Greta and one, (presumably the boy), swimming with Hansel. This particular gosling has also demonstrated mimicking of his dad's behavior by chasing ducks and even other geese from the family's grazing area.
It is amazing to think that Canada geese go, in three short months, from tiny yellow balls of fluff no bigger than a tennis ball to fully grown birds capable of flight. So much they have to learn in that small window of time and so fast they have to develop.
If all goes according to past patterns, the three Reservoir goslings will be flying by eleven weeks and will leave the Reservoir with their parents by the first week in August.
The family will not be seen again until next March when (hopefully) all five will return to the Reservoir again for the parents to begin the next nesting process.
But don't ask me where the family goes between August and March.
There are just some secrets the geese aren't willing share with me. -- PCA
Thursday, June 15, 2017
I returned to Central Park's Boat Lake last night and was pleasantly surprised to see that all four of the new goslings from two sets of parents are still thriving.
The two families stay close together all the time (likely because the mama geese are related) and the one lone gosling is beginning to interact with the three from the other family.
Though all the babies are strongly imprinted to their own parents, it is good to realize that the gosling without siblings will not grow up wanting.
Since family and group bonds are so important in geese, it is vital for little ones to grow up with a sense of siblings and/or geese within his/her own age group -- perhaps even a more compelling reason for the parents of the one gosling to remain close to the parents of three. Geese are extremely sensitive and responsive to the needs of their little ones, and those appear to include emotional as well as physical needs.
In other good news, it has been recently reported that New York City's Canada geese will not be subjected this year to brutal and cruel "culls" at the bloody hands of USDA Wildlife Services as they have been for at least, the last nine or ten years.
One suspects that this news comes on the heels of recent bird counts that show the number of resident Canada geese in New York City to be low and inconsequential -- in other words, not enough of the birds to warrant round up and slaughter efforts.
Since New York is a big hunting state (and geese are a popular target bringing in revenue to state coffers) it would be counterproductive to hunting purposes to kill all the geese of NYC, most of whom leave the city after summer's end. Even the parents with goslings leave the safety of Central Park as soon as the babies are grown and ready to fly (usually at eleven weeks.)
Speaking of "grown and ready to fly," the three Reservoir goslings are about halfway there now. At six weeks of age, the babies are now developing tails, feathers and are nearly half the size of their parents. They are also mimicking and demonstrating some of the behavior of their parents (especially daddy) in sometimes chasing off pesky mallards or even another goose who wanders too close to the family.
There are in fact more geese now at the Reservoir than when the goslings first hatched. At least a couple of dozen of new geese have flown in during the past few weeks as the watercourse represents a safe habitat in which to go through the annual six week molting period (the time when the geese lose old flight feathers and replace with new ones). It is during this time, that all the geese are unable to fly. It is also the period when geese are particularly vulnerable to "culls" -- though at least in NYC this year, that won't be the case.
Among the geese staying at the Reservoir through the molt this year are a number of juveniles whom I suspect are the offspring of Hansel, Greta and John and Mary from past years. There are also some old favorites, like the gander with white "eyebrows" who seemingly calls most of the shots among the temporary visitors.
Come the end of summer, however, all of the geese will be gone -- including Hansel, Greta and their new babies.
When the call of the wild beckons and their wings can take them, they go. -- PCA
Monday, June 5, 2017
While searching the entire Central Park boat lake yesterday for Danny, I came across two new goose families.
They consist of two mated goose pairs and a total of four newly hatched goslings --one couple with three babies and the other pair with only one.
But the new hatchlings seem more to add to the mystery of this season's goose hatchlings in Central Park rather than answer it.
Typically, a Canada goose lays from three to seven eggs with the average being five or six.
For a pair to have only one gosling suggests that either most eggs failed to hatch or there was high mortality in the goslings almost immediately after hatching. Three hatchlings is also a fairly low number suggesting some loss. (On this note, Greta at the CP Reservoir initially laid six eggs. One egg failed to hatch and two goslings were lost within the first ten days. Currently, three still survive.)
On the positive side, the presence of new goslings appears to suggest that little if any egg addling (i.e. rendering goose eggs unviable) was actually done in Central Park this season as has occurred in the past. (That was a question recently raised in light of recent high egg losses in CP this spring.)
The two families were in close proximity to each other with no strife or conflict. (This suggests that the two hens are likely related; perhaps sisters. It's also likely that the hens themselves hatched in Central Park and returned to the boat lake to start their own families with their mates. Hens usually determine nesting sites.)
It can be said that there is usually some safety in numbers. For the four goslings to have two sets of goose parents looking after them is a good thing (as well as the one lone hatchling to be exposed to other goslings). Hopefully, they can grow up similar to siblings.
The "bad news" in all this is that the two new goose families are located in a very crowded area of Central Park (near Bow Bridge) with much human activity around them.
There are tons of tourists, people in rowboats and unfortunately, fishermen who are often careless in leaving fishing lines and tackle around the lake. -- Things that can easily cause harm not only to tiny, vulerable goslings, but also, adult birds.
Yesterday, as the geese and their babies grazed in a grassy, fenced in area, one young woman reached over the fencing to pet one of the goslings like a kitten.
"You shouldn't do that," one woman corrected the girl. "They need to remain wild and be protected from people. That's why the fencing is here."
The young woman then pointed to a fisherman who was casting his line out to the water from inside the supposedly "off limits" area. He was mere feet from the two goose families.
"What about him?" she asked. "I mean the babies no harm!"
I then chipped in: "You may not mean harm to the animals, but other people do. The baby geese need to learn to be wary."
Of course it is hard to explain to people that they need to respect fenced-in protected areas when fishermen obviously don't.
With all the pressures and dangers around them, I am not at all optimistic that all four of the new goose babies will ultimately survive. (Already, their low numbers suggest some loss.)
Matters are particularly precarious for the one lone gosling without siblings. Perhaps this is the reason his/her parents have elected to stay close to the family with three hatchlings. Goose parents will do everything possible to protect their babies, but in Central Park, so much is out of their control. -- Especially, the actions of humans whether well intentioned or not.
Like everything else, much remains to be seen. Stay tuned. -- PCA