Saturday, 3 January 2015

Flying the Coop - Literally!!!

This is the recent story of NPRR, ringed at the North Bull Causeway on 21 March 2014. Inward-bound this winter, we picked it up on Strangford Lough first on 17 September 2014, where it was recorded half a dozen times, most recently during a WeBS count I was doing on 23 November 2014, located on a tiny off-shore island called Launches Little, on the south coast of the Lough. Four days after that, it was back in Dublin, recorded first by Christer Persson on the mud-flats at North Bull, then, the same day out on one of the pocket handkerchief green areas which are prevalent at Kilbarrack. There may well be subsequent records, but I'm VERY far behind with data inputting and feedback at the moment.
A New Year's Day email from Shane Keogh from Darcystown, near Balbriggan, shattered this pattern of normality. He said he had found this bird on a green area at Donaghmede, and described its leg-rings. It was solitary and clearly had an injured wing, though not broken, and wasn't feeling well. So, what did he do? - he took it home to his chicken-coop at Darcystown, and let it out with his chickens!
I was up in a very wind-swept Donegal over the New Year with Sean Kingston from Dublin, doing some extreme ring-reading, and we only got back last night. Discussions with Shane ensued, which established that the goose, which hadn't been very well at the start, had picked up, and seemed to be in relatively good overall condition. Sean started negotiations with a wildlife rescue centre in Kildare, and I started looking at a Plan B with Kerry Mackie at WWT Castle Espie.
Tonight, however, I have the welcome news from Shane that when he came home, NPRR was no longer there!! No chickens damaged, so not a fox!!
So, though the chicken coop was not that large, NPRR appears to have made its escape!! It will be REALLY interesting to see whether it heads straight back the 20km. south to Dublin! Can any of you from the area please keep a keen eye out for this bird, and let me know as soon as you see it, so that I can update you all!!


  1. The infection among Dublin geese always starts around New Year; TJRB and NLRB had drooping wings yesterday, and i have seen several crash landings in tight spots. I think the northernmost birds, less used to polluted water, are most sensitive.

  2. So: it's all about the stomach, don't put geese with poultry. A brent goose is very dependent on the flock: it is sick within the flock and it is a convalescent within the flock. The real illness seems to last only a day; i assume that the bird bombards its bacteriae with antibodies during that time, to the extent that it creates an autoimmune reaction in its own joints. I myself am familiar with the reaction: when i have a sore throat, my elbows and hip joints ache.