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‘One tough goose’: Bird shot with arrow in Fall River released back into the wild

Five weeks ago a Canada Goose was found shot with an arrow through it's chest. It was released into Cook Pond Tuesday afternoon.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

A wild goose who became the talk of the town when he strutted around Fall River for days with an arrow protruding from his body has recovered and was released back into the wild Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

“He’s like the bionic goose,” said Katrina Bergman, CEO of the New England Wildlife Center. “To see him go right up into full flight was really just exhilarating.”

The Canada goose was first spotted earlier this spring and eluded animal control officers before he was finally caught in early April. The bird was taken to the New England Wildlife Center’s Cape Cod branch in Barnstable, where he underwent emergency surgery and had the arrow removed from his body.


The Canada goose was first spotted earlier this spring and eluded animal control officers before he was finally caught in early April. Mark Maxwell

It was there that veterinarians discovered that the goose had previously broken one of his legs, had been shot with a hunting pellet, and had elevated levels of lead in his blood.

“This was one tough goose,” Zak Mertz, executive director of the NEWC Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center, said in a statement. “It speaks to the resilience and survival instincts of these incredible animals.”

The goose, now affectionately known as Pierce, caught the attention of authorities in March. Able to both walk and fly, he remained on the loose for several days until he was caught by a biologist from the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, officials said.

The goose was wearing a leg band that was put on five years ago by Rhode Island wildlife officials in the Portsmouth area, officials said.

Dr. Priya Patel, medical director of the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center, said the arrow had damaged the goose’s pectoral muscles and the site of the wound had become infected.

“If this arrow had landed even a few inches further into the body, it would have likely been a fatal shot,” Patel said in the statement.


Pierce spent the following weeks under veterinary care.

Dr. Greg Mertz, the chief medical and program officer for the New England Wildlife Centers, said the goose died twice on the operating table and had to be resuscitated.

Pierce was given antibiotics and pain medication. The goose also had to undergo chelation therapy to remove the lead from his body, officials said.

Once his condition stabilized, Pierce was allowed to go on daily swims and was eventually moved to a large outdoor enclosure so he could rebuild his strength, officials said.

Pierce was finally released back into nature at Cook Pond on Tuesday afternoon. His rescuers were happy to see him enjoying freedom once again.

“It’s been a long time coming for that poor guy,” said Bergman.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.