Over the past several years, the Canadian geese at ETMC Athens have become a relatively common sight.

Historically, the migratory birds have been drawn to the small lake next to the hospital, and settled in for extended stays.

Unfortunately, for many of the geese in more recent times, what should be a layover has become permanent residency. The development has placed the birds in danger.

“Over the years, because some of the geese have actually been hatched at the hospital, they think the hospital is home. So they’ve become domesticated,” explained Steve Lowe, the director of engineering and safety at ETMC Athens.

“Consequently, they stay into the winter and get frozen because they don’t know to go somewhere warmer or they get hit on the roadways,” Lowe said.

In response to the problem, ETMC personnel contacted the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. On Wednesday, members of the state agency placed a geese-safe sedative inside bread, which the birds were then fed. Thirty-five of the geese were sedated, and then transferred to a wildlife refuge in Panola County.

“They are being provided a home that’s a lot safer for them,” explained Lowe. “We’re still happy to be a stop for migratory birds, but we needed to relocate these geese that have become domesticated and endangered themselves.”

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