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A gosling looks up at its mother goose from the nest.

Mother Goose

Mother's Day arrives a few days late for the Tache Arts Complex goose

May 17, 2019 —  Though a bit late to celebrate Mother’s Day, the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music is delighted to announce that, after a month of waiting, the Taché Arts Complex courtyard Canada goose, Marcella, has welcomed six goslings into the world.

The goslings hatched at close intervals throughout the morning and early afternoon on May 17, 2019.

The University of Manitoba has long been home to many Canada Geese, who return to campus each spring to nest, and take tours of campus. They often return to nesting sites that they have used in previous years if those sites proved successful. The university is so accustomed to hosting the migratory geese that it has put up signs by the incoming roads asking campus visitors to be careful of the geese on campus.

The university has also implemented a Goose Education and Awareness Plan to teach people about the annual visitors. It houses a map of active nesting sites on campus.

“As temperatures rise, female geese will choose their nesting site on campus. Physical Plant will be providing updates regarding nesting sites on campus on the interactive map below. This map can be used to plan your exterior route on campus as to not disturb the geese as they nest,” reads the website.

This is the first time that a goose has nested in the newly constructed courtyard of the Taché Arts Complex, and the complex’s employees are a bit concerned about how exactly Marcella plans to get her goslings out of the courtyard, going so far as to question her fitness as a parent.

Marcella’s supporters note that she has chosen a site that gives her babies the best chance of reaching maturity, since the courtyard is entirely closed off from wind, human interference and most predators, due to the 20-30 foot walls rising around it on all four sides.

Her critics, however, point out that Marcella seems to have entirely ignored the fact that another inhabitant that frequents the courtyard, a peregrine falcon, tends to perch atop the complex and pick off pigeons, occasionally dropping some grim leftovers into the courtyard.

The peregrine falcon, an endangered species, has called the University of Manitoba its home for several years, now, and loves to hang out on the four-story Taché Hall and Taché Arts Complex. The talented and hardworking Desautels Faculty of Music members use the entirety of their creative energy to teach, compose, practice, and play music. As such, they have very little time left for creative naming purposes. Hence, the goose is Marcella, and the falcon is Marcel, both named for the Faculty’s benefactor, Marcel A. Desautels.

“I hate to say this, but those geese are literally sitting ducks,” says a source who wished to remain anonymous due to her terrible pun. “I can only hope that Canada geese mothers and peregrine falcons are equally matched opponents when it comes to fighting, and that Marcella is successful in convincing Marcel that her babies would taste extremely awful, actually.”

The Physical Plant has been notified of Marcella’s unorthodox location, and Marcella’s many fans hope that when the time is appropriate, she and her brood can be escorted out of the courtyard through the tiny door, and through the Taché Arts Complex halls and outside to a location that will enable them to roam more freely and access more food.

When approached for comment about her nesting site choice, Marcella stated explicitly that she was not willing to speak to reporters, saying only “Hhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissssssssssssssss.

The Desautels Faculty reached out to a translator fluent in Goose, to interpret her statement.

“I feel uncomfortable translating Marcella’s comment, as it translates directly into a string of profanity,” said the blushing translator. “I will say, however, that she has some pretty strong, negative feelings about you, and also the horse you rode in on.”

Marcella’s attitude is perhaps understandable, as she has been gawked at from behind the courtyard glass for the entire period that she has been incubating her eggs. Additionally, mother geese do not leave the nest at all during their month-long incubation, which means they only eat and drink what they can reach from their nest. Marcella has eaten all of the available grass from surrounding her nest, leaving onlookers to deduce that she must be a touch “hangry” at this point.

Marcella’s incubation period has included freak blizzards, downpours, strong sun, and high winds. Her partner was nowhere to be found. Through it all, Marcella has stayed put, keeping her babies warm, awaiting their hatch. Regardless of one’s opinions about Marcella’s nesting choice, everyone agrees that she has been fiercely devoted to her new brood.

Desautels Faculty members have said repeatedly over the past month that they will not get attached to Marcella and her babies, since nature has a tendency to be fickle and cruel. However, sources close to the Faculty say that the Desautels Faculty members are terrible liars and are, in fact, very, very attached to Marcella and her babies.

Welcome to the world, little goslings! We’re all rooting for you!


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