What happened to the goose that stole all the attention at Dodgers playoff game?

About 47,000 fans at Dodger Stadium barely noticed at first when a goose made a rough landing in flat right field during the eighth inning of Wednesday’s NL Division Series game between the Dodgers and the Padres.

But then the stadium’s cameramen spotted the bird and beamed its image onto the stadium’s jumbotron screen, prompting cheers, laughter and cheers from the crowd.

Fox Sports TV Shows zoomed in on the disoriented goose, whose head swung from side to side as it sat in the outfield, as a play-by-play announcer commented, “Ducks are very aggressive. I don’t know if you know that. They are very aggressive.”

Another commenter asked, “Is that a duck?”

After something of a wild goose chase, the ground crew wrapped the big bird in a towel, placed it in a plastic trash can, and retired to the Dodgers’ dugout. The crowd booed cheekily, lamenting the end of a break to an otherwise dismal inning for the Dodgers, who were two runs behind.

“Can confirm the goose was safely released,” Nicole Singer, the Dodgers’ vice president of public relations, wrote in an email.

The video of the goose has been shared widely on social media, the latest addition to the fun sport subgenre of wild animals disrupting competition. However, laughter aside, many users took to Twitter to ask: the bird is fine? and Why did the bird land on the field in the first place??

Travis Longcore, president of the Los Angeles Audubon Society and an associate professor at UCLA, identified the wild bird as a larger bald headed goose, which he says is an unusual sight in urban Los Angeles most of the year.

Unlike other species such as Canada geese, which have made their home in parks throughout Los Angeles County, the bald headed geese are only seen during certain times of the year during migration.

They have been known to migrate from the arctic tundra in Alaska, where they breed in summer, and fly south along the Pacific in fall, settling in the wetlands of the Central Valley of California or even further south to Mexico, a flight pattern of the Vogel has been performing for thousands of years, Longcore said.

Wednesday’s bird likely followed that migratory pattern when it was distracted by stadium lights towering over the Chavez Gorge, a common obstacle for migratory birds, he said, whose research includes the effects of light pollution on migratory birds.

Just before the goose landed on the field, fans had spotted a flock of geese flying low in a V formation near the stadium lights.

About 80% of birds migrate at night, preferring the coolness of the dark, he said. However, lights from structures such as communications towers or skyscrapers can attract birds, causing them to either land in the brightness or circle it in flight.

Often, light pollution can cause birds to become disoriented and crash into structures, contributing to the deaths of millions of migratory birds each year, according to a group of conservationists behind World Migratory Bird Day held last week. The initiative calls on cities to reduce light pollution during peak migration periods in May and October.

“It’s like they get into that zone and just don’t come back into the darkness,” Longcore said.

A goose caught on the field during the eighth inning of a Dodgers playoff game.

Los Angeles, CA – OCTOBER 12: A goose kicking up during the eighth inning of the second game of the NLDS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday October 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA was caught in the field (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

He welcomed the ground crew’s use of a towel, which is key to preventing damage to the birds’ feathers.

And while the Dodgers didn’t reveal how or where they released the bird, Longcore hoped it was near a body of water.

Most white-fronted geese are sighted along bodies of water, such as lakes in MacArthur and Echo Parks, on the LA River, or in the wetlands of Playa Del Rey or the South Bay, Longcore said. The goose probably mistook the grass in the field for water, which would explain its hard landing, he said.

Bird lovers have been raving online for the past few weeks about large flocks of bald geese being spotted all along the Southern California coast, said Kimball Garrett, a researcher at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Garrett had been watching the game from his LA home when the unsuspecting goose stopped the game.

Geese have been known to fly together as families, but although the bird was separated from its group, Garrett said he wasn’t worried about its survival.

He estimated the goose was a year old, a full-grown adult, given the white border around the beak and black belly, meaning it had made this southward migration at least once before.

He assured that geese can survive on their own, are strong fliers, and are excellent at finding suitable habitat, food, and other geese.

“They’re really good at finding each other,” Garrett said, “and they’re pretty good at surviving on their own.”

With October being the peak migration season around the world, both believe this won’t be the last meeting of playoff baseball and migratory birds.

“I hope it reminds people that even here in Los Angeles, we’re still part of the natural world,” Longcore said, “and we can do things to do our part to make it safer for them.”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-10-13/what-happened-to-the-goose-at-dodger-stadium-experts-say-its-a-rare-species-from-alaska What happened to the goose that stole all the attention at Dodgers playoff game?

Emma Bowman

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