Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Are the Feds maiming Canada geese? Report on an injured goose

In October, 2007, we reported on an injured Canada goose found feeding along the Charles River. The goose's right foot was missing and it seemed in pain when it tried to stand or walk. It was, however, eating, with much help from its friends at WBZ.

After discussion about whether to remove it, we took it to Maple Farm Sanctuary in Mendon, MA. The goose spent several weeks eating and resting, and in December we released it at the goose meadow, where it seemed to know some of the other geese. It stayed and was fed with the others there.

(As readers of the blog know, the Charles River Urban Wilds Initiative keeps the Charles River White Geese, confined to the grassless goose meadow since September, 2004, from starvation. With the DCR's and Cambridge's campaign against all waterfowl on the river, this means mallard ducks and Canada geese, including several injured ones, also get food.)

On July 20, 2009 I saw a footless Canada feeding near the Weeks Footbridge, and have tried to confirm that it's the injured one from 2007. Instead what I learned from Cheri at Maple Farm Sanctuary is that US Fish and Wildlife banding of Canadas has led to numerous spontaneous amputations of the foot. If the band doesn't allow for growth and proper circulation, the foot dies and falls off. Cheri saw about fifteen Canadas with this injury in the winter of 2007-08.

Her husband saw something fall off one of the migrating Canadas overhead that winter. The object he retrieved was its foot, with band. Cheri spoke with officials at US F&W, who may have acted to stop the cruelty. She's seen fewer geese with this injury this past winter.

So the goose I saw July 20 may or may not be the injured one from 2007. There are many more out there, too many to tell. In any case this goose, too, was continuing to feed.

Cheri (www.maplefarmsanctuary.org) sends her greetings to readers of this blog.

Marilyn Wellons