I promised an update on happenings at Iggy’s Wildlife Rehab, but so far, Bell Internet has not been cooperating. So hopefully, I can find a way to send this out into the world.
The goslings that grew up around the pond, under the painted-on eyes of the ‘dummy mummy’ grew to be strong flyers. They would excitedly greet the visiting flocks, join them for their initial take off flights but always return to their territory. I wasn’t worried as this is what so many of the other rehabbed goslings did in past years. What I did worry about is that they did not like to go out into the deeper waters of the pond, perhaps having had an encounter or witnessed encounters with the huge snapping turtle that lurks beneath. So ‘dummy mummy’ kept them nearer the shore.
The opening of the goose hunt on September 1st makes me anxious when I am raising geese as they become used to seeing people. Black Sturgeon Lakes have several popular goose hunting spots and combined with the fact geese are often fed by residents, they are susceptible to being lured in by food to these spots. Hunting waterfowl over bait is illegal here, but still practiced unfortunately.
So, the goslings, now all grown up made it through the opening of goose season, and when duck season opened on September 10th, I knew there were even more hunters out who could be a threat. But I did not expect it would be this particular hunter who targeted my wards.
Early morning of opening of duck season, I heard goose activity on the pond while I lay in bed. I recognized a few warning calls from my two but paid little attention. They normally warned off the intruders.
As the sun rose, I went about my critter chores, feeding the chickens, eagles and others in my care. But there was only one goose sitting by the pond. I walked down to see if I could see the other, but instead I saw a few clumps of feathers and flattened down raspberry canes along the shore. A hunter had taken a goose…not by shot but by tooth and claw. I assumed it was a wolf as they regularly hunt the pond for beaver and try to lure our dogs into range as well.
But something was different. I had a premonition as to where the goose was and convinced Bruce to come with me to search. My premonition took me to a spot across the pond and into the thick woods behind. I felt I was standing at the spot I had envisioned and told Bruce so. He peered through the thick underbrush and said, “What’s that?”
I followed his point and there lay a very large lynx glaring at us from the thickets. As I walked towards it, it slunk off. Near where it had bedded, we found the buried remains of the poor gosling. Saddened but in a sense relieved it was not killed by a human or even a wolf, I left the lynx to its meal.
I also knew it would come back for the second goose if given a chance, so I pushed dummy mummy out into deeper water, hoping the remaining goose would spend the night in a safer spot. But that was not to be, as the lynx came during the night while the goose slept beside her decoy, swam out and dragged it away as well.
On the third day after the attack, I followed my normal early morning routine of putting on the morning coffee and gazing upon the pond. I was missing the familiar bobbing and feeding of the geese along the shore. But I noticed that the local ducks were lined up and staring at the far shore. I followed their point, and saw the lynx, stretched out and glorious in the morning sun. Maybe he was looking for another meal, or maybe just thankful for a full tummy but he posed for photos before gliding off.
On the fourth day, after the attack, same morning routine, and once again the ducks were lined up facing the same shore, but this time it was not the lynx they focused on. And it was Bruce who spotted it first. It was a beautiful white wolf! It lay in the same spot the lynx lay the day before. A spirit guide? A shapeshifter? A coincidence?
As Brucee snapped away with his camera, I was able to take a few photos as well. It lay there posing until the morning traffic started traveling the road. Then it melded into the woods.
Some say lynx and wolves are spirit guides for the souls of loved ones. I don’t pretend to understand why I could envision the location of the lynx. What I saw in my mind would have been what the lynx saw as it hid in the brush. Too much “woo woo” weird stuff for me to comprehend, but not the first time such a thing had happened.
On a saner note, I am happy to say that all three skunks have been safely released to the wild. The first two, born under the old fire hall in downtown Kenora, were part of a family orphaned when mom was run over. They were rescued from suffering the same fate as their mom and some of their siblings by two kind souls. They were healthy, strong, armed with scent and ready for release. The third skunk was a tiny thing, half starved when it was rescued from near the City transfer station. Its mom had been killed earlier, and although I had searched several times for the orphans, I was unable to locate. Fortunately, a kind lady found this one and kept it alive until she was able to contact me. It was skin and bones and very small for its age. With the proper diet and care, I was able to once again release a strong, healthy skunk to the wild. It’s hard to find suitable release sites within the required release distance from their capture site, but I was fortunate to do so. They will have a good chance to live their lives without human interference.
Some other releases include a young of the year bald eagle, a yellow bellied sapsucker, and a Merlin. Still one Merlin in care, but hopefully it will be releasable once healed. The adult eagle picked up at the Silver Lake dump is not improving as I had hoped, but I will wait and see if it has release potential.
Now I await the fall migrants…usually starving juveniles who are unable to keep up their strength for the migration south. Broadwings and Red-tails are the most common fall patients I receive in.