1273Deer who stood guard over nest admires chicks with mother goose
- Apr 29 12:06 PM(Reuters) - Now that a brood of seven goslings has hatched at a Buffalo
cemetery, a deer that stood guard over their expectant single mother for weeks
is beginning to wander off, a wildlife official said on Thursday.
One of the most dramatic moments in this animal kingdom saga came the day before
the eggs hatched on Wednesday, when the storied stag chased off crows
threatening the goose nesting on a large urn at Forest Lawn cemetery.
"The deer was acting pretty much like the gander," said Erie County SPCA
Wildlife Administrator Joel Thomas.
"Crows are big predators of baby birds. (The babies) are pretty defenseless and
the deer was obviously chasing the crows away."
For three weeks, a Webcam has broadcast images of the buck watching over the
soon-to-be mother goose that lost her gander. For weeks, the male white-tailed
deer had consistently worked to discourage any visitors or passing vehicles from
coming near the nesting Canada goose, positioning his body broadside and staring
until the threat passed.
While experts have called the buck's behavior highly unusual, examples of
similar co-existence in nature do sometimes crop up, Thomas said.
"This is really kind of a special socialization between these two animals and
we're all still sort of scratching our heads," he said.
Just hours after the first little beak cracked through its eggshell, the mother
goose hustled her babies out of the urn on their first walk around the grounds
on Wednesday afternoon. As the family paraded by, the deer watched from a nearby
hillside, apparently recognizing the fruits of his labor.
With the goslings comes a change in the adult animals' relationship, Thomas
"The last time I saw him he was pretty much beginning to wander more," Thomas
said. "I see this bond diminishing now that the chicks are with Mom."
A cemetery spokesmen said the deer has lived for several years at the 269-acre
cemetery, which was founded in 1849 and is home to some 160,000 plots, including
those of captains of industry and President Millard Filmore.
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