This wild goose chase was no wild goose chase!
A Kensington hero herded a sickly Canada goose off Ocean Parkway and protected him from traffic for more than half and hour on June 22, saving the bird from certain death, according to a local animal rescuer — if not under a car’s wheels, then by roasting in the summer heat.
“He definitely would have died,” said Sean Casey, who runs a namesake animal rescue center in Windsor Terrace, and answered the call to pick up the bird and take it to a local vet. “It was too weak to fly, and it was a hot day out. He would have just cooked.”
Antonio M. Rosario said he was on Ocean Parkway while heading for home when he spotted the hapless avian just off the service road near Avenue C at 1:45 pm.
At the time, another pedestrian and two workmen looked on curiously, but Rosario was ultimately the only witness who bothered to approach the creature.
When he did, Rosario says he found the gander choking, gagging, and having an overall rough time breathing — though it was bird’s general disinterest that left the man fearing the worst.
“When I approached and it didn’t react, that’s when I knew something was wrong with it,” he said.
Eventually the goose did manage to regain its webbed footing, and the Kensington resident then spent the next half hour herding it off the road — as it waddled onto the sidewalk and ducked under nearby parked vehicles — while simultaneously signaling drivers to slow while passing the distressed fowl.
Meanwhile, Rosario managed to get Casey on the horn, who promptly swooped by in his van and managed to pluck up the fowl without any great struggle.
“He reached out and just grabbed the bird by its neck,” said Rosario. “It freaked out a little bit, but it settled down.”
It is still unclear what made the bird sick, Casey said — he suspects lead poisoning, but it could be any one of a variety of dismal fates that commonly befall feathered critters, including parasites or plain old dehydration.
But the gander seems to be on the mend now, Casey says. The last time he checked, it was taking water and had regained some of its strength.
Once it is better, he will place the bird in the care of a licensed animal rehabilitator, before it is ultimately released back into the wild.
Cars aren’t the only dangers facing wild geese in the borough, however — federal agents famously slaughtered more than 250 of the birds in nearby Prospect Park in 2010 in an effort to stop them from colliding with passing passenger jets.
And this isn’t Rosario’s first high-profile animal rescue on Ocean Parkway — he made headlines in 2012 after rescuing a kitten who had crawled under the hood of a Mercedes.