NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Wildlife officials believe fireworks set off to celebrate the Fourth of July startled a flock of geese on Friday night, sending them out onto Highway 70 where they were hit and killed.
The birds were removed from the roadway by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency on Monday morning. Two geese that were injured were picked up by Walden's Puddle on Monday night, and officials plan to treat them for their injuries.
The carcasses of the deceased Canada geese turned heads in the area all weekend as residents stopped to see what happened to the birds.
"I mean, I hunt and I hunt for geese and ducks but nobody likes to see suffering animals. Even being a hunter... seeing something like that it’ll melt your heart and make you want to do something good for them," said Paul Leah, who lives near where the geese were hit and is now taking care of two of the injured birds.
"We've been giving them a little bit of corn since we noticed them here," he added.
One of the birds appeared to have a broken wing and the other a broken leg.
"He’s basically been in the shade of the tree for the last two days," Paul said.
A Metro Police officer told NewsChannel 5 on Saturday night that their department moved the flock of birds to the side of the road after getting calls about the incident.
The Canadian geese were hit around 10 p.m. on Friday night at a time when wildlife officials said they should be sleeping. Animal specialist with Walden's Puddle believe the flock was likely spooked by fireworks being set off in the area.
"Something probably spooked them, I doubt they were crossing the road at night. They’re not very active at night-- they were probably just hanging by water, sleeping, to be quite honest. Something must have spooked them. It was likely fireworks, it just made them all take off in the same direction all at once," said Laurie Campbell with Walden's Puddle.
Officials aren't sure if the birds were hit on purpose or by accident."Definitely begs the question, what happened? Did they fly into cars? Did they get hit by cars when they were crossing? It’s definitely unusual," Campbell concluded.