Winter goose no longer loose near south Winnipeg car wash

A goose that stayed in Winnipeg when all its friends flew south this fall is now warm indoors after being captured near the south end car wash it called home this winter.

Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre says goose has wing injury but otherwise in good shape

Will seems happy with his new indoor pond and feathered friends, said Zoe Nakata. (Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre/Facebook)

A goose that stayed in Winnipeg when all its friends flew south this fall is now warm indoors after being captured near the south-end car wash it called home this winter.

A goose nicknamed Will that had been living outside a Shell gas station and car wash on Pembina Highway since October was caught Friday morning, according to the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre.

"We were so very excited," said Zoe Nakata, executive director at the wildlife haven. "Our whole team was head over heels that we finally get to help this goose out."

Efforts to catch the goose were unsuccessful for weeks. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

The five-week long goose chase became a draw for those in the neighbourhood who would come by the car wash for a gander. 

Nakata said the goose is doing well at the centre, where it has access to a pond and a gaggle of new feathered friends to keep it company.

The bird seems to be in good health, Nakata said, although it still has an old wing injury the centre believes could've kept it grounded here in Winnipeg during fall migration.

The mission to catch the goose started in earnest over the holidays on Boxing Day, said Nakata. Several attempts to catch the goose failed.

"It's the quintessential wild goose chase," she said.

"There's a reason that that's a saying, and the funny thing is that it's not as easy as it looks to track down and capture a wild goose. It was pretty smart, it was able to evade us many, many times."

A Wildlife Haven worker tries to sneak up on the goose with a net in a previous failed capture attempt. (Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre/Facebook)

Eventually the goose left the car wash and waddled into the nearby residential area and walked into a backyard.

"It was very on high alert and very jumpy any time we'd get close to it," said Nakata.

The homeowners with the yard agreed to leave out some food and let the goose stay on their property through the recent cold snap as Wildlife Haven staff decided to scale back capture attempts until conditions warmed. 

The team devised a plan for the homeowner to sneak up on the goose. She did just that when the temperature rose Friday between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Donna McDugald helped the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre monitor and capture Will near the south end gas station its called home this winter. (Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre/Facebook)

"She crept up to the goose and she chased a little bit and she was able to get it," said Nakata.

"Despite surviving one of our coldest Winnipeg winters ... it's faring very well."

Nakata said the plan is to rehabilitate the goose's wing and hopefully release it after the snow melts.

"We're just going to start the road to recovery," she said. "Very good ending to the story."

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