Recently we have been receiving many calls about injured Canada Geese. This is a common occurrence in the fall. Once the large flocks of geese have flown south for the winter, the individuals that have been injured and cannot fly are left behind.
In order to help these geese, we will need to collect some information from the finder in order to assess the best way to go about catching the bird. We will commonly ask the following questions:
- Where is the bird located?
- How long have you been observing the bird?
- What makes you believe the bird is in need of assistance?
- Does the bird remain in the water most of the time, or does it often come to shore?
- When coming on shore, how far does it wander from the water’s edge?
- How close can you approach the bird?
This information is very important because it can tell us how likely we are to succeed in capturing the bird. A goose will be very difficult to catch if it mostly stays out on the water source or along the shoreline, and is not able to be approached within a short distance without moving away. It will most likely become a “wild goose chase” that we cannot win.
At times, we will need the finder’s help in order to make a capture of the bird possible. We may ask that the finder bait the goose away from the water in order to increase the likelihood that we can catch the goose before it is able to get back on the water. This can take time. We suggest the finder feeds bait such as mixed birdseed, lettuce, grapes cut in half, or domestic waterfowl feeds instead of corn or bread when possible. Once the bird is seen away from the water consistently during a specific time of the day, a rescue can be planned to attempt to assist the bird.
We need to go through this process because we do not have the necessary equipment to perform difficult water rescues. We have been asked if we have access to net guns, and we do not. They are expensive and can be dangerous if not used appropriately. With a limited ability for water rescues, we need your help in order to help them.
Remember, it is important to call early on when you see a wild animal in need of assistance. The more time that has passed after an injury, the harder it is for us to rehabilitate the animal to release. Timely care will increase the animal’s chances of success.