The Goose Lady of Green Mountain Fallsis asking for everyone’s help.
Especially folks who visit the little mountainside village up Ute Pass. And, in particular, those who fish in its scenic lake.
“If anybody sees our Mama Goose, her two legs are bound by fishing line and she can barely walk,” said 75-year-old Ann Pinell.
“If they call me, I’ll go right down. She’ll come to me. We need to get the line off and get her back with her babies.”
Ann is known around town as the Goose Lady because she takes such good care of the geese and ducks that make their home on the little lake, with its picturesque island gazebo.
She carries a bag of corn to feed the geese and ducks. And she puts up signs when the geese have goslings.
She wants to protect them from traffic and passersby.
This spring has been a roller-coaster for Ann.
First, a nest of eggs was smashed just before the goslings could hatch.
“It was so sad,” Ann said, shaking her head.
A short time later, Ann was tickled when a second nest of eggs produced five baby geese.
“Mama Goose sat on those eggs for two months,” she said. “She laid them in a flowerpot on the roof of a pub across from the lake.”
After they hatched, the mother goose became a popular sight, leading her five goslings waddling around town.
“They’d go back and forth across the road,” Ann said. “She was so proud of those babies.”
Then, a couple of weeks ago, Ann noticed the mother goose was hobbling. She had fishing line wrapped around both legs.
“Geese dive and come up in a tangle of line,” she said. “The danger is that fishing line pulls tighter and tighter and cuts into the bone.”
Last summer a goose lost a leg to a fishing line tangle.
Ann said 20 or so geese have become tangled in line left in the lake in recent years by anglers who simply cut off snagged lines rather than pulling them out.
So when the mother goose showed up tangled in fishing line, Ann and some others tried to catch her and cut it off.
But the goose became scared and flew off, perhaps to Crystal Reservoir along the Pikes Peak Highway, just a few miles up the mountainside.
“She can only hobble and barely swim,” Ann said. “But she can still fly.”
That was about 10 days ago and now time is running out. Geese shed feathers each summer, leaving them unable to fly for weeks. If she molts, she could be stranded and never reunited with her goslings.
“Those five babies don’t have their mother’s wings to sleep under,” Ann said. “We just have to find her.”