Injured goose victim of fowl play?

RUMFORD — Henry the injured Canada goose has vanished from his Androscoggin River home of two years.

Annette Pratt feeds Henry, a Canada goose with a broken right wing, that Pratt and her boyfriend Alan Pratt of Mexico say cannot fly away from its "home" on the Androscoggin River behind J. Eugene Boivin Park and the Rumford Information Center off Route 2.

But whether the goose with the broken wing met foul play or fowl play wasn't known Tuesday.

“I fed him the morning of Jan. 27 and by 5 that evening he was nowhere to be found,” Alan Pratt of Mexico said by e-mail Tuesday morning.

“Either someone captured him or that big eagle got him,” Pratt said.

A bald eagle has been hanging around Henry's "yard" in the river area between Pennacook Falls Dam and the spillway behind the Rumford Information Center.

“No feathers, no blood; nothing,” he said.

A fisher that had been hanging around the site hadn't been seen for more than a month, but Pratt said the eagle was spotted there Tuesday morning.

“If the fisher had got it, then there would have been something there," Pratt said.

"If a warden or someone else or the eagle got it, then more than likely there wouldn't be anything," Pratt said. "The eagle would have lugged him off.”

Henry's 60 or so mallard buddies were still in the area.

However, with Henry gone, they spend their time along the ice in an adjacent canal when they're not being fed at the center by Pratt and his girlfriend, Annette Pratt.

A broken right wing had kept the goose from migrating, and his speedy reflexes had prevented locals or Maine wardens from moving Henry to a wildlife rehabilitator or to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray.

Unable to retrieve Henry, the Pratts and others decided to feed the goose after researching its nutritional needs.

Alan Pratt said people have checked downriver for Henry as far as the Canton Point Road in Dixfield and Canton, but have yet to find him or any evidence of his possible demise.

“I know the bald eagle is a big predator of many animals,” Pratt said. “I have seen shows where the eagle can lift and take animals almost twice their size.”

State wildlife biologist Chuck Hulsey of Strong said Tuesday afternoon that Pratt's bald eagle theory had merit.

“It's very, very likely,” Hulsey said. “We've got plenty of eagles around. Yeah, it'd be very likely that that would happen, which is probably not the worst outcome in the world.”

Had Henry been captured, he'd have lived out his life in rehab, because wing injuries usually can't be fixed, Hulsey said.

Bald eagles are “a major predator on ducks along the coast, even perfectly healthy ducks that are under stress from the winter,” he said. “They feed a lot on perfectly healthy ducks.”

Hulsey said the eagle would also readily feed on Henry's mallard buddies, which the Pratts verified.

“We watched the eagle go after a duck a couple of weeks ago,” Alan Pratt said.

“The duck used herself as a decoy and let the eagle go after her and she out-flew him. She took the eagle over Rumford and Mexico and returned without the eagle.”

For the Pratts, who have nurtured Henry and fed him and the mallards for two years and watched his antics and unsuccessful attempts to migrate, Henry's disappearance has been like losing a family member.

“We go there each day to feed the ducks in hopes that Henry just got mislocated again like he has a few times in the past,” Alan Pratt said.

“We were always able to find him so we could get food to him, but this time, no sight of him since Jan. 27," he said.

"So, if he is still alive along the river someplace, he will probably die of starvation, anyways,” Pratt said.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Steve  Dosh's picture

Injured goose victim of fowl play . . . ..

. . ..HAhahahah . Great headline, Terry . What next ? " Man Bites Dog "
.. What a winter , huh ? Alo'ha from Pahoa HI 96778 u s of a
Here's an other one , " Biddeford Man Killed in New York Nuclear Holocaust "
Laugh a little . It's like jogging ( on the inside :) ?

Audrey Alcala's picture

Wow....it's nice to see such

Wow....it's nice to see such loving posts!! Thank goodness not all people are as heartless as you folks!! Some folks cared enough to care for the injured goose that was injured by other heartless people!! There will be many people, myself for one, that will be heartbroken if in fact, Henry is gone for good!!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Sorry, Audrey, but Henry's

Sorry, Audrey, but Henry's goose might be cooked.

RUSSELL DILLINGHAM's picture
staff

Illegal feeding

I spoke to one of our local game wardens and he advises me that there are no laws against feeding wild birds. After all, technically you would be subject to fines if you hung a bird feeder outside your window. So, while they strongly recommend not feeding wild birds like this, there are no laws preventing it. However, by feeding wild birds, some that would normally migrate south during winter months, many are tempted to hang around instead of flying south to a warmer climate. Some will die because of the cold weather. It is not advisable to feed them bread or other food prepared for humans. Their digestive system is not used to the chemicals in our food. That is why most public areas near ponds, lakes and streams have signs advising not to feed wildlife. And yes, the droppings from a flock of some of these larger species can make a real mess.

Fred Stone's picture

Finally

Finally the goose is gone, whats wrong with this picture it is supposedly illegal to feed the goose and ducks, but people continue to feed them and allow them to be a health hazard, with the amount of feces they leave behind.
Why is this allowed to continue?

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