Bert and Ernie released back into the wild

A pair of Canadian geese were released back into the wild after a couple months in rehab.
Geese released back into wild 1:46

A pair of Canadian geese was released back into the wild after a couple months of rehab.

Robert Burgener found the geese near his home on the shores of Lake St. Clair.

He had been watching the geese all year long and noticed the pair stood out from the crowd.

"These birds would not have made it through another month," said Burgener.

The two birds could not fly and appeared to have damaged wings.

Burgener named the birds Bert and Ernie.

Damaged wings

Bert had a broken wing. Ernie had a condition called angel wing, a condition which causes a bird to be born with a twisted wing.

Angel wing is believed to be caused by people feeding birds food that's high in sugar, like highly refined bread and popcorn.

"What happens is something changes in the male egg usually when its still in the female's body and so when the geese are born, they're born with this deformity where their wing sticks out at a 45 degree angle to their body or it's twisted," said Mary Baruth, executive director at the Jack Miner Migratory Bird Foundation.

"They can't fly, the can't go south, they can't eat, they can't feed. They can't stay with the other birds. Their only hope was a place like Jack Miners," said Burgener. 

New home

The Jack Miner Migratory Bird Foundation is a sanctuary for water fowl. 

Burgener built an enclosure on the beach made out of lawn chairs and a hockey net to catch the geese.

First, he caught Bert and took the injured bird to the humane society where he underwent surgery on his damaged wing.

Then, he trapped Ernie and took him to visit Bert at the humane hospital. 

When Bert had recovered from his surgery, the pair were transferred to the Jack Miner foundation.

On Thursday afternoon, Bert and Ernie - who cannot fly - were released into the bird sanctuary at Jack Miners, where they will spend the rest of their lives 


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