On June 6, Len Twist of Kearny’s TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) program for feral felines, found a small gosling trapped in a wire fence at one of the cat colonies in the meadows. The bird’s foot was injured, obviously from efforts to free itself. Twist rescued the gosling, patched it up and placed it in one of the cat shelters where it could recuperate.
Photos by Len Twist
Contrary to popular belief, there was no animosity between the species. In fact, the gosling — which Twist named “Trooper” — was welcomed as a colony member, even eating out of the same bowls as the cats.
One day, though, Trooper was gone, and Twist feared the bird had succumbed to its injuries. But a couple of days later, it was back, “limping down the railroad tracks like Chester from ‘Gunsmoke,’” Twist said.
And it had its entire family in tow. Despite the limp, Trooper appears to be in fine shape. In a month, Twist noted, it has “grown from the size of a pigeon to that of a small Butterball turkey.”Probably from all that nutritious cat food, for the ferals still welcome Trooper and the other geese at the feeding stations.
There reportedly is an argument promoted by some researchers that TNR programs threaten birds because ferals and birds are natural enemies, the former feeding on the latter. What is happening in Kearny indicates otherwise.
As Twist says, “Why would a cat want to eat a bird when it’s got 9 Lives and Fancy Feast? It’d be like you having a filet mignon in front of you, but you decide to dash out for a White Castle.”
[Among the photos here are one of Trooper as a baby and one of the ferals happily sharing its kibble with the grown bird.]
— Karen Zautyk