Wilbur the goose flies to work with Hillsboro, N.D. man


WDAY: HILLSBORO, N.D.—A rural Hillsboro man and his goose are sure turning heads.

Adam Gettel is a bit of a “Bird Whisperer” and what started as a simple plan to help an orphaned goose left at a gas station there has turned into the talk of the town.

Shortly after the fog began to burn off today, a quiet farmyard awakened with some summer barnyard chatter.

Adam Gettel is hunter, avid outdoordsman. But lately, neighbors and friends have called on him to take care of some orphaned honkers.

“Every year we end up with some kind of animals. It’s just this year, they’re just all feathered. Two hatched from eggs. A destroyed nest and there were two remaining eggs that were in the process of hatching,” said Adam Gettel, goose whisperer.

And the newest Canada Goose, Wilbur, Adam got just days ago.

“Wilbur is usually the one that follows me where ever I go. Are you eating my shoe? Did you wreck my shoe? When they hold their head out at you and kind of make that kind of sound it’s kind of a greeting call,” said Gettel.

Adam rescued Wilbur from the gas sation, and brought him to the farm, where the goose is never far from his human friend.

So attached, that when Adam leaves for work in the morning, Wilbur flies right alongside the pickup. Just inches from Adam.

“He is an amazing bird and he likes to maintain eye contact while I’m driving down the road. It’s really amazing to see him in his natural beauty flying right outside the truck window. You don’t usually get that close to a flock of flying geese, especially to be able to see them at point blank range and potentially be able to reach out and pet them while they’re flying next to you,” said Gettel.

And there’s a reason for all this. Adam knows what is best for the geese. He wants Wilbur and the others to migrate like other honkers.

“Just kind of my goal to make sure that they’re healthy and well fed and that they’ve had plenty of exercise so that if another flock of geese does come flying over they’ll be able to join them and migrate with them. Wilbur is now smart enough that he will fly over the oncoming vehicles.

The reaction from the oncoming vehicles is still usally pretty priceless, they’ll slow down, they’ll stop, they’ll get out of their vehicle and they’ll turn around and they’ll be watching and there I’m going down the highway with a bird slying right out the side of the window,” said Gettel.

Adam has been working on this Ultralight, in hopes the “two a day” practices continue.

“Whatever means necessary required to get them the exercise they need is whatever we’re going to have to do,” said Gettel.

Training the geese to fly as a team, a flock.

Until they fly south, workouts with Wilbur alongside a truck on a Trail County road.

There is a chance Wilbur will winter near Hillsboro. The Crystal Sugar factory has open water that is attractive to the Canada Geese.

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