Sue Harsh was driving on a busy road recently when a tiny blurb of yellow caught her eye.
It was a small, fuzzy yellow gosling, trying to cross three lanes on Random Hills Road in Fairfax. Harried drivers flew by, not bothering to stop or slow down their cars. By Harsh's count, nearly 10 almost hit the gosling.
The mother of two, who's been a pet-sitter with in Centreville for the last three years, knew that she couldn't just leave the little fellow to his fate. So she drove a little further, swung a u-turn and pulled over at a safe spot. The bird was huddled on the side of the road, all filled out with yellow feathers and fuzz.
“He just jumped up onto my hand and took a little nap. I think he was stressed,” said Harsh.
Where he'd come from wasn't terribly clear. There were no traces of a mother or siblings nearby. There was a small lake nearby—"more like a swamp," though, Harsh said. A friend suggested later that a hawk could have snatched him up, then dropped him, although hawks tend to kill their prey right away.
Whatever the case, Harsh decided she would take the gosling back to her Fairfax home. Her family promptly nicknamed him "High"—for "Highway," and he stayed with them for the next few days, enjoying swims in the kitchen sink. He also got an introduction to Buddy, one of her two pet Beagles. Harsh knew that her other Beagle would have eaten the little gosling, but Buddy, who's cautious and a bit fearful, wouldn't hurt him. Her young daughter also enjoyed playing with High while they looked for a wildlife rescue.
After a few days, it was time for High to go back into the wild—though he was "very cute and very hard to give up," said Harsh.
Anyone who needs information on how to help orphaned or injured wildlife can call the Wildlife Rescue League's hotline at (703) 440-0800.