After nearly two years of caring for a stray snow goose that found it’s way into her yard, Nancy Hakeman was able to finally let it fly free this fall.
With a small acreage on the outskirts of town, she’s no stranger to animals on her property.
But something about this goose caught her eye two years ago, when she noticed that it wouldn’t fly properly, instead waddling away when she approached it.
“All I could think of was where the hell did it come from? I thought it was maybe somebody’s farm bird. So when it got dark, I threw a net over it and put in with my ducks and rabbits,” said Hakeman.
“I thought, you’re not going anywhere and I wanted to keep it safe, and I had it ever since.”
Originally, Hakeman was unsure of the bird she had stumbled across, but it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t a duckling or chick like she originally thought.
Believing it to be a runaway farm animal, Hakeman launched a search for its owners, caring for it over the winter while she waited for a response.
In the meantime, she started volunteering for Little Mittens, where she brought up that she had a rescue bird that she was beginning to realize was a wild animal.
“The bird was never friendly, she attacked my grandkids and hissed at everyone but me,” said Hakeman.
“And then one day I heard on CBC that snow geese are grey when they’re young and can get lost while they’re flying and that there’s a flock that migrates in Alberta close to here, and I started to figure it out.”
With the help of Little Mittens, Hakeman was able to get in touch with a sanctuary in Abbotsford., called Elizabeth Wildlife Centre.
On Oct. 8, Hakeman drove her goose all the way out to the coast in the hopes the young bird would get picked up by a migrating flock and join them on their flight.
Not 10 days later, she got the call that her goose had been released when the flocks came in early.
“It broke my heart to see her go, but I knew she was wild and I knew she needed to go,” said Hakeman.
“They said I had done an excellent job of keeping her healthy. But I tell you, it’s still sad to see it go, but I’m glad she went.”
Hakeman gives plenty of credit to Little Mittens to helping her keep her goose healthy and eventually helping her find a place that would release the goose. “They really do an amazing job, if you have any animal that needs to be rescued, they have you covered,” said Hakeman.