While we were still coping with the hazy, hot, and humid weather of a New York City August, autumn began for the birds. The songfests of the breeding season have ended. Many species are regrouping into flocks. The avian mood is mellow. All summer long here in Riverdale one could see mockingbirds claim their territory by attacking trespassing cats, dogs and squirrels. Now the mockingbirds have abandoned their stakeouts on streets and power lines to loll peacefully on roofs and chimneys.
For birdwatchers, however, this is no time to get mellow. Tuesday, September 10 is Primary Election Day, when we have a chance to make New York a more bird-friendly city. We're all aware of the roundup of Canada geese in city parks and wildlife sanctuaries this summer, but the geese weren't the only victims of the USDA's Wildlife Services. In Staten Island, a flock of wild turkeys met the same fate, blamed in this case not for airplane collisions but for blocking traffic. One wonders which birds will be next on the hit list. More large ones like Canada geese and wild turkeys? Bald eagles maybe?
GooseWatchNYC has not endorsed any candidate for mayor. But one candidate is excluded from consideration: Christine Quinn. Of the others, some will probably have more capacity for reason and reflection than others and have more empathy for animals.
For City Council GooseWatchNYC has made three endorsements: Yetta Kurland, District 3, Manhattan; Helen Rosenthal, District 6, Manhattan; Carlos Menacha, District 38, Brooklyn. These candidates have made statements in support of the geese and other wildlife in our city.
The fate of the Canada geese is part of the larger issue of making New York a better place for people and animals, both domestic and wild. NYClass, which is primarily concerned with carriage horses and companion animals, has given its endorsement to a number of candidates for City Council and other offices (again, none for mayor). Here in District 11 in the Bronx, home of the feisty mockingbirds, Andrew Cohen has won NYClass endorsement. Even more promising, when questioned about the Canada geese by this writer, he showed surprise and disgust at the draconian methods of Wildlife Services.
For the list of endorsements visit: http://www.nyclass.org/endorsements
Turn-out for the primaries is expected to be low; a small percentage of the eligible voters will decide who wins. Let all of us who care about the Canada geese and other birds and animals, vote on Tuesday, September 10.