How do you catch a bird that might be hurt but doesn't want to be caught?
That's a question bird watchers, area residents and animal welfare experts have been asking ever since a peculiar snow goose touched down in Westsyde a couple of weeks ago.
Students at Arthur Stevenson elementary school were the first to notice the white waterfowl after it appeared on the school's grassy field. For several days, it made regular lunchtime visits to the school.
"He usually sits right out there," said principal Joe Small. "Usually, it shows up around recess time, but we haven't seen it for a couple of days."
The goose — believed to be a migrant bird en route to its winter home possibly in the Lower Mainland — caught the school's attention because it appeared to be injured.
"It sits and, whenever the kids approach it, it gets up and it hobbles," said Small.
Concerned for the bird's welfare, Small said the school contacted the Kamloops SPCA, the City's bylaw department, bird experts and the nearby petting zoo in Westsyde Centennial Park, hoping someone would capture the goose and get it the necessary medical attention.
But so far no one has been able to get close enough. The limping fowl simply flies away too quickly.
"This guy is little tricky because he can fly," said Tara Geiger, animal care supervisor at the B.C. Wildlife Park. "He's flying 20 feet at a time and he's able to elude everybody."
Typically, birds that are grounded because of sickness or an inability to fly can be swaddled in a blanket or coaxed into a box or cage without much trouble.
On Monday, the goose was observed feeding on grass beside a baseball diamond at Westsyde Centennial Park, limping noticeably as he walked closer to a tree.
It's not known what kind of injury the goose has or if it's in pain; surprisingly, the bird was able to lift its leg to scratch the top of its head while feeding at the park.
Kamloops-based bird expert Rick Howie said the fact that the goose is eating and can still fly fast enough to escape captors may be reason enough to leave it alone.
"As long as it can fly and it can get around to feed . . . . I mean, eventually, it may take off and go where it would normally go," said Howie.
"It may just mean that if he hobbles around to feed, then that's what he does."
Kamloops doesn't get many snow geese, said Howie, mostly because the city is outside their typical migratory path.
But the odd strays come through, sometimes stopping to feed for a few days. The Westsyde goose may simply be bulking up his reserves before continuing to his winter grounds.
Even if the bird is injured, Howie is not convinced capturing the goose would be the best move. This may just be a case where nature needs to lead the way, without human interference.
"As long as it's able to fly and get around and escape from anything that's pursuing it, then it will probably be fine," he said.
Still, both Howie and the wildlife park's Geiger understand how difficult it can be to resist helping an injured animal.
"These poor people watching him being in the field and not having the help he needs . . . it would be great if we could catch him and bring him in and treat him but unfortunately it's not that easy," said Geiger.