Goose Catching Season

A lone goose by a lake.
His wing or leg dragging.
The weather is turning colder.
The pond is freezing up.

We receive many calls from concerned members of the public about injured geese. In Manitoba, our weather can be very difficult on our resident wild neighbors.  With temperatures dipping below -30 degrees, the ground covered in two feet of snow, its hard to imagine why that goose would stay in this climate. Our Canada Geese migrate south to a warmer climate where they have daily access to food (grasses) and water. Once the geese start to leave, the injured ones are easier to spot. They may be alone or their mate is standing by their side.  It’s also one of the most difficult and at times, the most dangerous rescues wildlife rehabilitators face. These injured geese realize their safety is in the water. However, the safest and easier captures are best done on land. We usually require two to four people to help with blocking the access to the water source and trying to outrun the goose on land. If you spot an injured goose at your man-made lake, start feeding the goose to build a trust and relationship. Slowly moving the feeding station further and further away from the water will make this rescue a success. It may take up to two weeks for the goose to begin to trust. You get one easy chance at capturing the goose so we don’t want anyone to attempt a capture unless they’re sure they can grab it the first time. If the rescue is a failure and the goose runs into the water, it will take a longer time to regain that trust. Sometimes these geese will never trust you again. When trying to capture, have a large box or crate ready to place the goose inside, large blankets to throw over top of the bird to capture, and fishing nets to help with the rescue. If there’s no one feeding the goose and he’s near the water, we have to wait until the pond freezes up and its safe to walk  across. Never risk your life trying to rescue a goose by walking across unstable frozen water. Some winters, it could take a month or more for the ice to be thick enough to walk across which might take  too long for the goose. Some rescues we never manage to catch the goose and the goose just “disappears”. Catching an injured goose is always a challenge.

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