Loose goose finally 'noosed'

When Verna Harris stepped outside her Ely Street home last Friday afternoon she was startled to find a wild goose nestled in her hedges.

The Canada goose, with its long black neck and tan tail feathers, is the kind most people see flying overhead in Vs. But this goose did not budge when Harris approached.

“It was just laying there,” she said. “All it was moving was its head.”

Before long, Harris was on the phone to Oak Harbor’s Animal Control and thus ensued what can only be called a wild goose chase.

Armed with nothing but his bare hands, Terry Sampson, an 18-year veteran, began running after the bird. First he managed to shoo the frightened fowl into the gated backyard. But unfortunately for Sampson, that still left the bird plenty of room to roam.

Several acres of yard surround the Harris home and the wild goose made use of nearly all of it, rushing headlong from one end of the fence line to the other.

Sampson, meanwhile, high-tailed it after the bird, with not so much as a crumb of bird food as bait.

“I wish I had a smaller yard!” Harris called out, as the bird dashed about beneath a cluster of fruit trees.

At several points Sampson seemed to have trapped the goose in a dead end but that only encouraged the bird to rear up, spread its wings and emit a mean hiss.

This wasn’t the first wild goose chase Sampson had been on, he acknowledged later. Most of those birds hadn’t done much running around, however, typically having been tangled up in fishing line.

“It’s catch em’ if you can,” said Sampson of his animal-trapping technique.

Within five minutes, a panting Sampson carried a worn-out wild goose back to his white pickup truck for a ride to a local veterinarian to be checked out. He managed to trap the bird and clutch it with his hands.

The bird was bitter to the end, extending its long neck and hissing some kind of avian curse words.

This week, the staff at Animal Care and Laser Center said the goose’s X-rays looked good but it may have gotten gravel in its stomach. The goose is still resting at the animal hospital as it recovers its strength.

Capturing the wayward wild bird was all in a day’s work for the city’s animal control officer, Sampson, who has trapped a variety of ducks, seagulls, snakes and lizards.

“All kinds of things,” he said.

But for Harris, who discovered the bird, the unexpected visit from a wild goose is something she’ll long remember.

“Why it would be in town gets me,” she said.

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