Dead Geese dumped in Pitt Meadows and a Gyrfalcon...

Today I went birding in Pitt Meadows. I ended up seeing the Gyrfalcon that my friend Mike Tabak first found in early February. It only took me 7 visits (!!!) to track down the Gyr. He wasn't in his usual spot but was near the Connecting Rd area. The same area where the Prairie Falcon had been (who seems to have now left). This is also where 4 days ago we found a rare Golden Eagle. Well today I got the best photos I've ever got of this species. I guess he took pity on me because he just sat there on a telephone pole and let me walk out of my car and shoot him. I had the pleasure of watching him for 30 mins when he finally decided he had enough. By April 1st he will be long gone to his breeding territory up north so I was really hoping to catch him this winter.  These are the largest falcons in North America and I love their fierce expressions and great power in flight. It was a nice reprieve to see him because of what I saw earlier.... I was hoping to find an early Mountain Bluebird but saw something else instead.

Immature Gyrfalcon in Pitt Meadows - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Let me explain... before this happy sight, I found over 40 carcasses of dead Cackling and Canada Goose and their bodies looked fully intact. It is illegal to dump carcasses like this. It was a waste of an animal to just throw these beautiful Geese away like this.

I took photos and reported them to the Conservation Officer. I told a few friends and some suggested it may have been upset farmers who didn't like the geese feeding on their land. Others guessed hunters who had dumped them or someone just being cruel using them as target practice.

When I got home my friend Hilary emailed me a news story about 30 Canada Geese that were found with their breast meat removed (still a waste as there is a lot of meat on the legs too!) at Pitt Lake,  north of where I found mine. Obviously both crimes are most likely connected. It's sadly legal to take just the breast meat of a bird during open hunting season (which ended March 10) but it is illegal to dump them like this. It can attract wildlife like bears too. It is so close to the road these animals could also get hit by cars. Ravens were already tearing some of the carcasses apart when I was there.

To read the news story about this click HERE.

I highly doubt they will catch these people but sure hope they do, and if they do I hope they get more than just a slap on the wrist.

Here are my cell phone photos showing some of what I saw. This was south of Catbird Slough and many were floating down the channel, so I couldn't get them all in one frame.

Geese carcasses near Catbird Slough - Cell Phone Photos: Melissa Hafting


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