Even though it was freezing and stuck in a pond, this Canada goose was cooked.
With an injured left wing and stuck in a frozen retention pond near Edwardsville’s Lakeview Corporate Drive area, things didn’t look good for the bird until a delivery driver saw it struggling while he was making deliveries Monday afternoon. That led to a 911 call and a choice by Edwardsville Fire Chief Rick Welle to try and save the bird.
Welle said his department typically doesn’t deal with wildlife rescues because they are a risk for his department. But with his department also needing to get some training in ice rescues, something the department routinely does every year once ice has formed, Welle told his shift commander to go check out the scene and try to save the goose.
Within minutes of the fire crew’s arrival, the goose was saved, and the firefighters got in some ice rescue training at the same time.
“It was a very quick rescue,” Welle said. “It turned out the goose had an injured wing, which is why it couldn’t extract itself from the water, and ice froze on it.”
Once the firefighters made the rescue, they handed the goose off to workers with Dow-based Treehouse Wildlife Center. The center, established in 1979, takes in injured and orphaned wild animals from central and southern Illinois. Their goal is to nurse the animals back to health. A volunteer drove to get the goose Monday after hearing about its plight.
“I’m really so appreciative of what the Edwardsville Fire Department did,” said Rachael Heaton, who is the wildlife center’s director of operations. “I was figuring out how to get a kayak there to get this goose, but the fire department handled it.”
Heaton said the goose, which is yet to be named, has an injury to its left wing that is permanent. The bird will never fly again. Heaton was unsure how the goose was injured. When workers took possession of the bird on Monday, they were able to get the rest of the ice off the bird’s body. Heaton said the bird will be at the center for several weeks while it heals from its experience.
She did not know what would happen to the bird in the long term. She said there is a chance the bird could go to an area residence that houses non-releasable animals.
Heaton said it’s not rare for a bird to be stuck in frozen water and that the center handled a similar case last winter.