[Mnbird] Returning Friend

REBECCA ORTTEL orttel71 at msn.com
Tue Mar 26 09:42:45 CDT 2019

Hi, everyone.  I've never posted but have read these emails for many years.  The "Returning Friend" post made me want to share my story.  I hope it's not too long!  We live on a creek that is kept open for most of the winter (it's part of the chain of lakes supplying the St Paul water utility), and we have Trumpeter Swans, Mallards, sometimes Wood Ducks, and geese.  Last spring we had around 100 Pelicans that stopped for just one day.  We also have a Bald Eagle nest, an Egret or two, and occasional Loons.

Last summer, a Canadian Goose showed up with a broken wing.  The lower half of her (I think it's a female) right wing dangled.  I tried a few times to catch her so we could bring her to the Wildlife Rehab Center, but no luck.  She seemed just fine -- except she couldn't fly.  We feed the birds in the winter, and I made sure that the goose got enough food.  She was the lone goose this winter amongst the many Mallards.  When the Polar Vortex came, however, the creek finally froze, and our goose started accumulating ice on her broken wing.  By day two the chunk was the size of a basketball and she could barely walk, yet we still couldn't capture her.  I kept feeding her and checking on her, but she was clearly miserable.  On day three when I checked on her, I heard much alarmed squawking and found her facing down an eagle that was standing about two feet away and watching her. The ice chunk had melted enough to then refreeze into the side of the creek bank - with her along with it.  She had been trying to pull her wing loose all night, and there was a lot of blood.  The eagle took off as I appeared, and the goose was frantic.  It was still terribly cold, and the creek was partially open at this point, so the whole situation was precarious.  I grabbed our ice chopper with the plan to chop her out of the ice, but I realized that it would be better to free her from her damaged wing so she wouldn't freeze up again.  Thankfully, a well-placed chop did the trick, I was able to cut off the mangled part of her wing, and she was free.  She bled a little bit over night, and then the creek thawed.  She went away for two days, and I was just sick thinking that my "surgery" had killed her - but then she showed up, energetic and hungry.  Within a week a male goose showed up, and the two have been happily floating in the creek ever since!
From: Mnbird <mnbird-bounces at lists.mnbird.net> on behalf of Art via Mnbird <mnbird at lists.mnbird.net>
Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 8:33 AM
To: Mnbird post
Subject: Re: [Mnbird] Returning Friend

Nice to hear about you friend.
We need all the friends we can get espically wildlife friends
The way things are going I wonder if, in a hundred years, kids will have to lookup in a book to see what a Robin looked like.
> Hello all. Last year I had a robin that was a frequent visitor here.
> What made it distinctive was that it had some kind of growth (tumor?) on
> the back of its neck.  I assumed it was going to end up dying from
> something related to the growth, but it stayed most of the summer.  The
> growth then was almost always bare.  Tonight I saw my robin again, and
> it is apparently doing very well.  The growth is covered in feathers at
> this point, but still very obvious.  Hooray survival!

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