Dispatch from the Icebox: Wildlife Update
It’s cold here in the Northeast. Today the dog and I went down to the river.
We were surprised to see the river flowing freely with just a few large ice chunks floating by the shore.
You can see ice over by the Jersey shore, but virtually none on our side. Yesterday, the river had an ice crust stretching out to the middle of the mighty waters.
(The images below are drawn from the past three weeks of wintry walks and window watching.)
Nothing stops the dogs or their walkers, not even the deep freeze machine.
Dogs gotta walk, and birds gotta eat.
They also have to stay warm. Look at these mourning doves, puffed up like little Michelin men.
And this flock of starlings trying to catch some eastern roof rays on a morning when the temperature hovered in the teens.
The feral cats in Morningside Park are fed hearty meals year-round by well-meaning humans. Feeding cats also feeds rats, which contributes to a burgeoning rat population, which leads humans to set out poison for the rats that eat the cat food which leads to the death of the hawks that eat the rats that eat the trash that humans set out to feed the cats that live in the park. (Read that five times fast.)
It’s a regular “This is the house that Jack built” scenario, except that the cats (indirectly) feed the rats instead of just eating them, as in the old nursery rhyme.
Here are a couple of our apex predators, viewed from my window, that do their best to keep our rat and pigeon population under control.
I haven’t seen a Riverside Park raccoon for some time. They must be laying low inside their snowy den.
There may even be babies snuggled up in there, or, if it’s still too early in the season, a pregnant female, waiting for spring. Come spring, I’ll hope to see the whole family out and about on the retaining wall and in the park.