By Polly Keary, Editor
Over Lake Tye, long vee-shaped flocks of geese fly, heading for warmer climates in which to spend the winter.
On the banks of Lake Tye is one goose that can’t go.
Discovered by a Monroe family about a month ago, the goose they call Abby can’t fly because she has a broken wing. Now, the family is working with a local wildlife rescue organization to try to bring the bird to shelter before the weather grows harsh enough to threaten its life.
Quinn Jay of Monroe and her daughter, Cassy, found the injured bird at the lake about six weeks ago.
“I spotted what looked to be a Canadian goose down by the water’s edge on the sand,” wrote Cassy on the Facebook page she made for the goose. “Being Canadian myself, I was thrilled to see a Canadian goose at the local park and so I went to try and get a closer look. When getting closer I found it quite odd that the goose did not fly away from me.”
Then the goose turned, and she could see the problem.
“Her wing is just super mangled and she can’t fly whatsoever,” said Jay.
Their first impulse was to find a rescue operation to retrieve the goose. They spent about three hours on the beach with the goose, calling every rescue number they could find.
When they finally did find someone who was willing to help, that volunteer from Second Chance Animal Rescue arrived only to be unable to lure the recalcitrant bird into a carrier.
That’s not uncommon when trying to rescue a goose. Typically it takes a week or more of constantly feeding a goose to earn the trust needed for the goose to be captured.
But Abby is turning out to be more stubborn than most. Not even a tranquilizer affected it. And it remains too skittish to catch.
While the goose will allow Jay and Cassy near, even eating from their hands, the presence of men seems to drive the bird away. So far, all attempts at rescue have failed.
But Cassy has vowed to keep the bird alive until a rescue can be carried out. So she and her mom come to the lake every day with bags of bread to feed to the goose.
In the six weeks since they found her, they have learned several of the animal’s habits, some of which are amusing.
That is, if you are not a duck.
“She torments the ducks,” said Jay. “She fights the ducks and the seagulls fight her.”
Two weeks ago, it looked as if she might have a chance to join a flock. A large number of geese and landed on Lake Tye en route to somewhere further south, and Abby wandered among them. But when Jay and Cassy called her name, the goose left the flock and came over in search of food.
When the flock departed, Abby was still there.
A bird without a flock as winter approaches is in trouble, according to Love Canada Geese, an organization devoted to informing people about the birds.
“They’re remaining because they or their mates or children are unable to fly south,” the organization said on a webpage about what to do when such a bird is found.
The organization recommends feeding the bird, preferably with cracked corn or other grains.
Capturing such a goose is never easy, but the best method involves a number of people surrounding the goose while it is eating, throwing a bed sheet over the bird, then chasing it down and carefully gathering it up into the sheet and placing it in a bird carrier.
That is what Jay and her daughter hope to do with Abby, as soon as enough volunteers can be found and the bird has grown trusting enough to allow itself to be surrounded.
Until then, they plan to continue to feed the bird and look out for it. But they worry that help might not come in time.
“This poor goose,” said Jay. “You see the weather. It’s getting colder and colder.”