Goose stranded in Regina after electrical shocking rescued by firefighters
Salthaven West says goose will hopefully recover by spring and be free as a bird
Some firefighters and wildlife rescuers were sent on a wild-goose chase after one bird couldn't seem to follow her fellow geese south for the winter.
The Salthaven West Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre in Regina started getting calls about the bird roughly three weeks ago when community members in the Rochdale area noticed she was by herself.
"She couldn't fly. She would just be in the middle of the pond. They were thinking that something might be wrong," said Megan Lawrence, director of rehabilitation at Salthaven.
At the time, the pond wasn't yet frozen over so no one could get close to her in the middle of the pond. Once the water began freezing, it became clear the bird could not leave.
Last Saturday, Salthaven West attempted a rescue, but she was a gone goose; they couldn't get within 10 feet of the bird without her fleeing to the middle of the pond.
Salthaven West and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan were getting daily calls about the bird by this point.
"We couldn't risk the safety of any volunteers to walk out on the ice to get close to her in case somebody fell through," said Lawrence.
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan called the fire department to ask for their help to get the goose.
The fire department happily agreed, and took on the rescue mission with their water rescue gear in tow on Thursday.
"The goose, she stays in the middle of the pond because she knows that's where safety is," Lawrence said.
Lawrence said about six firefighters went out on the ice and created a perimeter around the bird.
"As they got closer and closer to her, she slipped between them, and then went up on shore while there was people watching and waiting up there," Lawrence described.
"They managed to block her and then the firemen came up kind of behind her … and were able to net her at that point when she was on shore."
Diagnosis & Recovery
The goose was taken to the Animal Clinic of Regina for x-rays and examination.
"All of her flight feathers in her left wing were gone, were broken and damaged," said Lawrence. "Then, we started noticing there was some wounds on the bottom of her feet."
Lawrence said these wounds on her feet indicate the bird may have been shocked by hitting power lines when taking flight.
"[This] will snap the flight feathers, and then the electricity exits through the feet."
Lawrence said the bird is healthy, but thin. She's now in care at Salthaven, where she's readily eating and drinking.
Lawrence said the bird will be with Salthaven at least until spring.
Salthaven will either release her in summer to an area like Wascana Park for her to molt out the broken feathers and grow in new ones, or keep her in care until she molts out the feathers.
"We'll just sort of base that on timing and weather, and how she's tolerating captivity."
- A previous version of this story stated the goose was electrocuted. The story has been changed to read the goose was electrically shocked so as not to imply a fatality.Dec 12, 2016 9:40 AM CT