Close to nature can be painful


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He stood by her

I was driving from Owen Sound to Southampton along Bruce County road 16 on Tuesday, April 12, when I spotted a young man standing by the side of the road looking at a Canada goose who, in an unusual way, was not moving but simply standing there.

Concerned, I turned around and went back.  There were now two young men at the side of the road and, in the ditch, was a Canada goose who had obviously been injured.  Standing guard was her mate, for as many know, they [Canada geese] mate for life.  When anyone tried to approach her, he was not aggressive but definitely made it known that he was protecting her.

Everyone standing at the roadside was upset.  The injured goose had a broken left leg that was obvious with her foot twisted out from beneath her. She lay in the ditch with her beak buried in the feathers under her wing.  Every so often however, she would take a drink of the water that ran through the ditch.

'Steve' who lives up the road said that the pair had been coming to visit in his back yard.  Having moved from Toronto, he was enthralled with the geese and their tameness at coming into his yard even though they were wild ... and his children thought they were wonderful.

As we stood by the side of the road, Steve, on his cell phone, called every agency (long distance for some) that we could think of to seek help.  The Ministry of Wildlife told him they did not "deal with migratory birds"; the Ministry of Natural Resources told him "... let nature take its course.  Predators will take care of the problem and all you'll have to do is get a shovel and bury the remains."  Southampton Pet Hospital (a far distance away) was very concerned and said that if it were possible to get the injured goose to them, they could help but they, too, were concerned about the mate.

In the end, Steve said he would keep watch over the injured bird and stay in touch with me. In the meantime, he began to call the protective male, 'George'.

Last night (Tuesday), I received a call from Steve saying that a 'wildlife officer' had come and carefully taken the injured bird.  The officer however, said that the rescue would have to remain anonymous as it was a different jurisdiction than that where the officer was employed and it was very political.

The injured goose is 'somewhere' hopefully being taken care of.  'George' in the meantime, maintained his watch through the night, where he and his mate were last together.

'George' was killed today (Wednesday).  Standing watch, he was hit by a vehicle.

If only, one of the agencies had answered the call. 


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011