Licensed, trained professional and Chicago Bird Collision Monitors director Annette Prince captured an injured goose at Burnham Harbor today (pictured above). CBCM received calls yesterday about the goose and volunteers were unable to locate her until today. We took a trip down Lake Shore Drive (dodging Bears tailgaters and triathletes) to see if we could spot her. I watched Annette perform a goose rescue with no net! I thought about my own goose capture struggle and how Annette made it all look deceptively easy.
As a side note, do NOT try this yourself as it is against federal law to disturb a migratory bird like a Canada goose without a special permit. Also, you could do more harm than good to the goose, even with the best of intentions. Geese are difficult! Take it from me. Call the hotline in the metropolitan Chicago area at 773.988.1867 to report an injured bird and wait for a trained monitor to assist you.
The woman who rescued this gull was one of the most generous people I have met in a long time. She waited for us to leave the bird patrol downtown, rescue the goose, and then drive all the way up to Belmont and Lake Shore to pick up this injured gull she held in her arms as one might hold a cat. This gull was unusually docile in transport, likely because he was immature and injured. (As a side note, I don’t recommend ever putting your face this close to a wild animal – they don’t understand we are trying to help them and will do anything they can to escape your clutches.)
Still, it was so touching to see the care with which she handled this little creature, whispering to him in Polish and telling us that the gull knew we were there to help him. Annette gave her a hug and thanked her for her kindness and patience. She said goodbye to the gull after he was loaded in the carrier, and as we drove off, I watched her in the rear-facing mirror looking both relieved and teary-eyed.
I have met the kindest people on these rescue missions, and it is a privilege to experience human empathy and concern for our fellow creatures. It was worth traveling downtown at 4 a.m. in a thunderstorm to be a part of this project. Days like today, I have great hope for human beings.