A Canada goose poisoned by prescription medication that it found at an Orange County park is flying free after recovering at an animal care center.
Brian McDaniel rescued the sick goose after he found it wandering last week on a street. He was there to open the crate Wednesday and release the goose he calls "Buddy" back into the wild in Huntington Beach.
Buddy was in poor shape after eating an assortment of pills found at Carr Park. The pills scattered on the ground included sedatives, heart, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication.
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McDaniel called the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center, where the bird was treated. The goose likely would have died without care, according to the center.
"His head an neck were rolling all over the place," McDaniel said. "It couldn't keep its head up. It started flapping its wings aggressively. I thought it was dying."
McDaniel said he was happy to see a safe and happy Buddy take flight Wednesday. After he opened Buddy's crate on a pond shoreline, the goose appeared to wobble at first before confidently striding into the water and swimming away.
Police are looking for the person who discarded the medication, which included sedatives.
"It's discouraging to know people are that irresponsible," said wildlife manager Lisa Perrone. "Or, maybe they just don't think of the consequences."
The wildlife center continues to care for another bird poisoned by the medication.
Correction: A previous version of this article indicated the goose was released Thursday. It was released Wednesday.