It’s often difficult to tell when a wild animal is sick or injured. They intentionally conceal their compromised condition so predators aren’t attracted. This Canada goose, however, is hurt to such an extent that it is visibly weakened. I first noticed it the day before I took these shots. It was swimming stiffly with its body held in a lopsided manner. On land, it could barely put weight on its right foot.
Most likely it had an encounter with a snapping turtle that shredded its webbing and possibly broken its middle toe (right). I don’t know when it happened or how quickly wounds heal on wildfowl. The close up photo shows the wounds have scabbed over and the foot doesn’t seem to be infected. It will probably heal adequately so it will be able to have a good life, but its paddling will take more effort than the others in its family flock since webbing this damaged will never heal.
We think of birds as soft and cuddly, but this close up illustrates birds’ close ancestry to reptiles. Its scales are similar to those of an alligator or lizard.