Wounded Canada goose, impaled by arrow, now on the mend

A Canada goose who spent weeks flying around with an arrow sticking out of its body is now recovering comfortably at a wildlife shelter in Edmonton.

Goose caught weeks after being hit by a practice arrow

Staff at the shelter say they can't tell how long the goose has been flying around with the arrow inside it. (Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton)

A Canada goose who spent weeks flying around with an arrow sticking out of its body is now recovering comfortably at a wildlife shelter in Edmonton.

"It's amazing, honestly. It just went straight perfectly through,"  said Carly Stenhouse, education coordinator at Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton.

People first spotted the wounded bird flying around the Coloniale Golf Course in Beaumont, south of the city. Even at a distance, it was easy to see the goose was badly wounded: the arrow had gone clear through its body, just in front of its wings, and came out the other side.

Despite the injury, the goose was still mobile — it took volunteers nearly two weeks before they were able to capture the goose and bring it back to the society's hospital.

"They essentially just chased it around for 45 minutes, they said, and eventually the goose was just too tired to escape," she said.

Staff were surprised to find the arrow hadn't damaged any organs or bones. (Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton)
An x-ray revealed how lucky the goose really was; the arrow had passed through the bird, but has not damaged any bones or organs. Despite how close it was to its neck, the esophagus was also not damaged.

That made removing the arrow pretty simple as well. Stenhouse says it was a target practice arrow, and therefore didn't have any of the barbs often found on hunting arrows. They were able to give the bird some pain medication, disinfect the area and slide the arrow right out.

Stenhouse says it is difficult to tell if the goose was shot intentionally. Even where it happened is a mystery — the goose could have been hit by the arrow and flown to the golf course.

The goose is now recovering at the shelter, where it is still on pain medication and is taking antibiotics due to infection. Stenhouse said it is doing "surprisingly good" and has started eating again.

Once it gets settled, there are plans to introduce it to another Canada goose living at the shelter.

"Canada geese are very social birds, they do very well in pairs," she said.

Stenhouse wasn't sure when either of the geese might be released back into the wild. If they aren't well enough to leave before migration season is over, the shelter will have to keep them over the winter until the flocks return.


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