Family of geese saved from NAIT courtyard

by | May 18, 2023 | News

A family of geese were rescued from a NAIT courtyard on May 17. Two adult geese and their three goslings were first spotted in Courtyard 6 on Saturday, though it is unknown when they first arrived.

NAIT Protective Services (NPS) received numerous calls from concerned NAIT community members, but due to federal legislation, were unable to move the geese themselves. Canada Geese are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, which means that only those with a permit from Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) may remove eggs or nests under specific circumstances.

Geese pictured through the courtyard window. Photo by Amy St. Amand

Instead, NPS called Wild North, a Northern Alberta wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, to intervene. “Wild North is permitted by CWS to intervene with injured and orphaned wildlife, and in this case we know that if we left them in the courtyard, they’d perish,” said Executive Director of Wild North, Dale Gienow. “Either because they wouldn’t be able to leave there, and they’d get picked off, maybe by crows or magpies. Or the parents would leave and [the goslings] wouldn’t be able to get to water.”

In city environments, geese can often choose inappropriate areas to build their nests. “Geese want to find an area that’s really safe for them to be away from potential predation,” said Gienow. “So sometimes they pick less than ideal places to nest, often on rooftops and courtyards, places where they are going to be protected, but often not in close proximity to people.”

Gienow and a Wild North intern, Kyle Bohay, trapped and released the mother goose and her three babies outside the courtyard. The father goose was left in the courtyard to eventually fly out and find his family. As he was physically capable of flying out of the courtyard, Wild North didn’t feel it necessary to trap him as well.

“We don’t like to capture animals if we don’t have to … there’s a real condition called capture myopathy, which means animals can literally die of stress from capture,” Gienow explained.

Performing rescues for geese in inappropriate areas happens often this time of year, said Gienow. “We’re doing several rooftop rescues a day, we did a couple today already. And once we’re out of this busy goose season, then we’re going to be into ducklings.”

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