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Picture This: Survival of the fittest

Published: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 10:17 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 16, 2014 8:27 a.m. CDT

I headed to the retention ponds near the Walmart parking lot to see if I could get a cute photo of a new family of geese. At the north end of one of the ponds, I noticed four adult geese standing near a little yellow fluffy thing on the ground. That little thing was a baby goose, or a gosling.

From my car I zoomed in with a longer lens on my camera and saw that the gosling was laying on its back and it didn’t look like it could roll over. After a while the gosling stopped kicking its legs and the four adult geese walked away, as if they all decided at once that the baby was a lost cause. 

The gosling was near the curb, and now it was alone.

I wanted to get a closer look, so I got out of my car and approached the gosling carefully just in case mama goose came flying in from afar. The photo is exactly how I found it – laying on its back – and good thing it started kicking again because I thought the little thing was dead.

The dozens of geese near the retention pond seemed like they could care less about what I was doing and how close I was to the gosling. The poor thing was shivering.

When I flipped it over, I noticed its back was still wet. I waited for it to waddle around and noticed it wasn’t strong enough yet. I didn’t know what to do, but I didn’t have a good feeling about leaving it there to shiver since its mother had abandoned it and was basking in the sun with the little gosling’s siblings.

My first instinct was to grab a towel to put around the gosling to try to keep it warm. Next, I called my photo editor, Danielle, and she knew exactly who to call.

From Danielle: Having taken photographs at Oaken Acres Wildlife Rescue in Sycamore two months ago, I called Christy Gebritz, the director of operations. She asked me how long the gosling had been alone and told me leave it alone unless it was uncontrollably shaking. Monica had confirmed it was shaking so she asked me to get it to her house since it was after normal Oaken Acres hours.

I drove to the parking lot to find Monica and the goose, cranking the heat up in my car on the rather humid day. I found both of them in the parking lot with the goose still shaking wrapped up in a towel. Gebritz later said the gosling’s back likely was wet after being attacked by a dog or some other animal.

On Friday, we called back to see how the gosling was doing. Gebritz said the gosling’s foot was better, and it had been sent to the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn to be around other goslings.

• Picture This is an occasional column showcasing photographs by Daily Chronicle photographers. You can reach photographer Monica Maschak at mmaschak@shawmedia.com or 815-756-4841, ext. 2234. You can reach Photo Editor Danielle Guerra at dguerra@shawmedia.com or 815-756-4841, ext. 2265.

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