In mid June we received a message from a very distressed individual who heard from a friend about an injured Canadian goose at the local golf course. Scant details were available, though we did have a photo showing a long arrow shaft through the front of it’s breast and they told us others had tried to help but it could fly making it quite elusive.

Determined to investigate, volunteers went to the scene. On the initial visit we could not locate the goose anywhere, though we did find part of the flock, it wasn’t amongst them. A regular golfer at the course stated it had actually been injured for months but they had not seen the injured animal in a while. Additionally, in the back portion of the course there were definite signs of carnage. We were disheartened but understand that in nature sometimes the weak are taken by predators and the course is in a very rural area.

We left our information with the staff and a little over a week later, it had been sighted again. Our team once again returned to the scene to make an assessment and see if we could help.

Initially we were very concerned. It’s swimming was tilted and in the initial encounters with us, it only flew short bursts, just far enough to evade us. It was attempting to constantly worry the arrow with it’s bill, pulling to dislodge the arrow alone, but the arrow was clearly not moving at all. We hoped to at least cut the ends of the arrow off in order to enable a freer range of motion and greater flight capabilities. However, the flock was always close by and had set up quite a system to protect their injured friend. We never got closer than 25 feet, and in our attempts to do so, it and the flock showed themselves quite capable, calling out to when we neared and blocking our path at points, using the water to their definite benefit. Despite the situation, he seemed to be fairing well and in the end they all took off and had a sustained flight of at least five minutes until they were out of sight, removing our last concern about it’s ability to survive.

While it’s clear some humans were not considerate of this animal, it was obvious it’s flock could and would protect and help it continue to survive without our help.

When leaving another golfer informed us he has been surviving more than a year in that condition.

Animals have the ability to survive in some very rough situations and it amazes me.

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