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Injured Canada goose and stubborn mate refuse to leave Gatineau Park

An Ottawa taxi driver is worried about an injured Canada goose, still lingering in the Gatineau Park long after most other birds have migrated.

The goose can't fly and appears to have a broken wing.

Another goose, presumably its mate, apparently also refuses to leave and fly south.

Bahador Ayoubzadeh, a frequently visitor to Lac Phillipe for the past 25 years, first spotted the flightless pair in mid-August.

'Loyal couple'

Ayoubzadeh has been keeping an eye on the geese, and notified Demsis, the private contractor who manages the maintenance of the park area for the National Capital Commission, about them on two occasions.

injured goose

The smaller of the two geese, likely the female, hasn't been observed flying since Ayoubzadeh first noticed the bird in mid-August. (Stu Mills/CBC)

"On Thanksgiving Monday, I noticed all the geese are gone and just these two, which I call a loyal couple, still, they are here," said Ayoubzadeh.

The Blue Line Taxi driver hoped the injured bird and its mate would have been moved to a sanctuary after bringing their situation to Demsis several weeks ago. 

It appears to be a case of, what's good for the goose, is good for the gander.

"The female, I think her wing is broken or has a problem, and the husband, the male, is staying with her alone and I was thinking that when the snow comes and the lake freezes, and there's no water they are going to freeze to death," he said.

'These birds are amazing'

Ayoubzadeh hopes the birds can be kept together.

"I wish all of us were like them. These birds are amazing. He doesn't want to leave. And I know he's going to stay here and he could die with her."

An NCC spokesperson expressed concern that the company managing Lac Philippe hadn't passed along Ayoubzadeh's warnings about the geese.

'I wish all of us were like them. These birds are amazing. He doesn't want to leave.' Bahador Ayoubzadeh 

Jasmine Leduc said Thursday that the director of Gatineau Park would speak to officials with the company, and that the NCC's own conservation authorities would make an effort to assist the injured bird.

Kelly Reid, a worker at Ottawa's Wild Bird Care Centre, said in some cases the wings of Canada geese can be mended. 

"With geese, it's usually vehicle impacts," she said. "We tell people that the sooner they come in, in the better because their bones set really quickly. If it's not put in the right position, they can't fly ever again." 

In situations where a broken wing cannot be fixed, the rehabilitation centre is required by law not to euthanize the bird because it cannot be re-released into the wild..

Reid said Canada geese separated from their mates will usually find a new mate.

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