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Meet the miracle goslings of Prospect Park! • Brooklyn Paper

Meet the miracle goslings of Prospect Park!

Nature finds a way: This little fella (gal?) is one of six baby geese — aka goslings — that were born this month in Prospect Park, despite park officials’ best efforts to prevent the eggs from hatching.
Photo by Peter Colen

Four goslings that were never supposed to develop past the embryo stage are now waddling and squawking around Prospect Park, baffling city biologists who thought they’d successfully prevented the eggs from hatching.

The baby geese were born over the weekend — the first batch since last year’s waterfowl slaughter — despite officials’ amped efforts to track geese couples, then coat their eggs with oil.

“It shows you that nature finds a way,” said Mary Beth Artz, a wildlife advocate who spotted the peach fuzz-covered babies on Sunday. “It’s triumphant.”

Well-meaning city biologists aimed to humanely trim the park’s waterfowl population in order to keep away federal executioners who gassed Brooklyn’s feathered friends last year in the name of aviation safety.

City biologists scoured the park for weeks and discovered just two nests — a low number, due to last year’s massacre — then used edible corn oil to “addle” the eggs under the direction of the Humane Society.

The procedure prevents oxygen from reaching the developing embryo, killing it painlessly.

One of the nests is located on an island near the center of the dog beach pond, where the eggs were Sharpied with black Xs to signal that they had already been oiled. (The Brooklyn Paper got a peek at the nest last month.)

But on Sunday, a small crowd of park-goers discovered six of the teensy squawkers waddling with their proud mama. And near the would-be “addled” nest: six empty eggshells.

Confused park officials weren’t quite sure how they’d been duped by a bunch of birdbrains — but they are promising, for now, to not remove the goslings from the park. Nature has beaten them to the punch anyway, as two of the six goslings have already died, apparently of natural causes.

Prospect Park Alliance spokesman Eugene Patron said the city followed proper addling protocol, but malfunctions — like a broken condom — sometimes occur.

“As with all birth control methods, it’s not 100 percent successful,” he said. “Some geese turn their eggs much more actively, which could wear off the oil.”

But ultimately, even the city isn’t too upset about Mother Nature’s little victory. “It’s not that we’re disappointed,” Patron said. “We’re just curious about what could have happened.”

Martin Woess of the Parks Department thought he'd addled these goose eggs — but they hatched anyway. Silly human.
Community Newspaper Group / Julie Rosenberg

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