Saturday, February 19, 2011

Waterfowl on the Charles and Mystic Rivers, the common enemy: The Department of Conservation and Recreation

Cher reports.

Cher lives in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chelsea, the line where Chelsea, Revere and Medford meet.

She has close friends with resident swans on the Mystic River, and frequently views the Charles River White Geese on the Charles River.

Cher starts off with a response to my explaining to her that the principle residents at the Goose Ghetto are the Charles River White GEESE, as opposed to ducks:


Thanks so much for clarifying for me, Bob. I have always loved the white (we always thought they were ducks or geese but were never sure). Each time we drove by we always look/ed for them. I have seen many feeding them and knew that there were some folks trying to keep them relatively safe. I was aware that they occupied a given area and that the greenery had been cut down. Ridiculous! I just don’t get these people.

I have also noticed the black waterfowl [Canadas?] for several years now. They just appeared one day as well. I thought that they cleaned up the Charles river some and that it would be better for these waterfowl.

I gave Gus the male swan [her friend on the Mystic], a "bath" and boy he loved it. The female, Gina wanted no part of it and remains filthy. The woman who is responsible for feeding them during year round even in warm weather, was there today. She said she is having a book written about Gus. I offered help as she seemed uncertain whether it wold actually get done.

I plan on getting people together and asking them not to feed the swans in warm weather as the swans need to learn to forage and to teach their young how to find food etc.

The DCR, I understand, doesn't even want the pond here where the swans gather. I saw some Canada Geese the other day, but was told Gus will not allow them on the land where the swans go. The swans let on whom they choose and they also share their food as long as they get their portion, with the ducks, pigeons and gulls..remarkable. I was told there are two more swans and they are filthy black so I am uncertain who is mistaken and who is not but I have seen no other swans only dark geese in the water.

People dump birds just like they dumped those ducks and geese. But sometimes as you know, swans at least, break off from the flock and go out on their own. I don’t think geese or ducks tend to do that generally, though. Humans just dump them. Terrible.


We have had a little experience with abandoned waterfowl. It has worked well.

Two Toulouse sisters were abandoned in fall 2000. One mated and eventually established a family. A male china, Pinky, arrive in about 2003. He also worked his way into the gaggle and has mated.

Newcomer non migrant geese are neither welcomed nor rejected. They are treated like the many migrant waterfowl who visit. The nonmigrants usually made friends and join the gaggle.

The Charles River White Ducks, Andrake and Daffney, were abandoned in 2006 at Magazine Beach. I saved them from a dog attack. They were so naive that Bill had to teach them what the Charles River was for. They have made their own home on the river. They initially lived on the Boston side but that has been destroyed by agents of the DCR. They live independent of the Goose Ghetto but visit it.