HILSBORO, N.D. (CNN/WDAY) – A North Dakota man and his geese are turning heads.
Adam Gettel is a bit of a bird whisperer and what started as a simple plan to help an orphaned goose has turned into the talk of the town.
Gettel is a hunter and avid outdoorsman but lately neighbors and friends have called on him to take care of some orphaned honkers.
“Every summer we end up with some kind of animal. It’s just this year, they’re just all feathered,” said Gettel.
The newest Canada Goose, Wilbur, Adam got just days ago.
“Wilbur is usually the one that follows me wherever 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. Hi baby baby baby. Hi baby baby baby.”
Adam rescued Wilbur from the gas station and brought him to the farm, where the goose is never far from his human friend. 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 just to see him in all of his natural beauty just 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 even reach out and pet them while they’re flying next to you.”
There’s a reason for all this, Adam knows what is best for the geese. He wants Wilburn 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.”
Adam said the reaction from the oncoming vehicles is still usually 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 flying right out the side of the window.”
Adam has been working on this ultralight, in hopes the two a day practice continue.
“Whatever means necessary required to get them the exercise they need is whatever we’re going to have to do.”
Training the geese to fly as a team, a flock. But until they fly south, workouts with Wilbur alongside a truck on a trail country road, there is a chance Wilbur will stay near Hillsboro for the winter.