Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Canny Wade Buck, a Riverside Park Hawk Update, and Thank You Notes

Steam Engineer Paul Anderson was helping out at the Wade Farm the other day when he happened to look up and discover a White-tailed buck staring at him.  Staring at him in a rather pointed if not possibly belligerent sort of way.  In fact Mr. Buck was so self-possessed Paul began to sidle over for a better photograph. 
Did Mr . Buck move in response? Don't be silly.

  Did Mr. Buck do what most deer do, which is take to their hoofs and flee when confronted by a human at close range?

 No, he most assuredly did not.  He's far too cool for that.  Mr. Buck just followed him with  his eyes.

In fact this buck is rather famous locally, he's the Wade Buck and a character unto himself.

 Is he ever ever seen during deer hunting season?  You've got to be kidding. He's much too canny for that.  But out of season, he stands his ground close to humans and just stares them down.  

Now keep in mind this is no petting zoo deer. This is several hundred pounds of roaring testosterone with very big antlers and a large healthy ego.  No pansy he.  

And he has creeped out many a human.

In fact the humans always blink first, and then he's simply...GONE.

In from hawk news look-out Pam Langford-Riverside Park's New Hawk Couple Takes Soaring Relationship to Next Level

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20120216/upper-west-side/riverside-parks-new-hawk-couple-takes-soaring-relationship-next-level#ixzz1myvvNl28

While checking out the link sent in by Pam, I ran across another story from dnainfo.com quoting neighbors of the park who believed that the apparent appearance of more rats in the daytime meant that the population of Riverside Park's rats had boomed and it was all the fault of the resident Red-tailed Hawks.  What?

Perhaps a little sensationalism in the piece but some of the neighbors believe that as less poison is being used in the park due to concern over yet another NYC Red-tailed Hawk dying from secondary poisoning-the rat eats the poison and then the hawk eats the poison rat- that the park is being overrun by rats.

First off, a dead Red-tail eats no rats, a live one can and will eat rats and a nesting pair with eyasses are a family that eats hordes of rats. 

I admit that in NYC  there will still be some rats left over. 

But what does all the urban rat research tell us is the only true way to control rats?  

The only foolproof way to decimate the rat population is to cut off their food sources. If a rat has no food...it will eventually be a dead rat either from being eaten by another rat or in the end because it has no food.

So secondly,  the park powers-that-be have instituted improved  sanitation: more frequent garbage pick up, less rat friendly dumpsters and other anti-rat sanitation strategies which take away the rat populations nightly garbage gorging rat buffet.

Now what are some of the unenlightened neighbors saying again?  That there is a rat population explosion because they are seeing them everywhere.  Why are they seeing them?  Because the rats are out in the daytime.

Why are the rats out in the daytime?

As rats are highly unlikely to be out during sunlight hours because they want a tan, the top two, and usually only reasons rats expose themselves to the dangers of the day and us their only real predator besides themselves is either they've been poisoned and are seeking water or they are very hungry and are seeking food.  Their food in NYC is garbage.

The amount of garbage in the park has now been reduced to the point that it is not feeding the current rat population.  And without food none of us can live, i.e. the sanitation strategy is working.

Now if only the Riverside Conservancy can stand up to the unenlightened and very vocal local pressure.

This just might be the time for a nice little thank you note to Riverside Park administrator John Herrod for staying the course and using sanitation, the only proven method of rat control,  instead of using poison.

 Mr. Herrod's email address is-  john@riversideparkfund.org

Next up, the Perplexed Waunakee Cooper's Hawk among other things...
Donegal Browne

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