Wild turkey smashes UW window after Canada geese attack

by Wendy Chamberlain on March 7, 2014

It had been a wild 24 hours in the Hagey Hall heart of a goose friendly campus with its creek, little lakes and marshlands that pushes stuffed geese and I survived nesting season T shirts at the school swag shop.

It started with a few bangs above the mostly enclosed courtyard.

The wild turkey, who had inexplicably taken up residence in the area late last week appeared to have been harassed and hemmed into the square by territorial goose tormentors, was trying to fly to freedom, school officials confirm.

The bullied butterball made it three stories high before crashing into an empty philosophy seminar room.

“He banged on the glass a few times,” said Dorothy Hadfield, a fourth year lecturer with an office beside Morrison’s. “The people up in philosophy, they thought maybe if they turned the lights off, he or she wouldn’t be attracted to the windows to the same extent. It didn’t work.”

The Kitchener Waterloo Humane Society was called. The bird had to be euthanized.

“It flew through the window on the third floor,” Humane Society spokesperson Jamie LaFlamme said. “Cut itself up pretty badly.”

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Pretty rare occurrence, society executive director Jack Kinch agreed.

“They don’t fly into buildings too often,” he said.

Late Tuesday morning, the window was replaced. Five geese honked and cavorted on the tops of the buildings while teachers graded exams indoors and a few remaining students strolled underneath, paying little attention to the mid air hullabaloo above them.

“They’re a little annoying, but I haven’t been attacked by them or anything,” said Cheryl Chan, a first year master’s student with the environmental resources faculty. “I see them and I usually just make a wide berth around them.”

Dodging goose droppings is known as UW hopscotch, or so the on campus joke goes.

In response, the Faculty of the Environment posts an online goose watch map. It’s an open data project that helps students or teachers chart courses around the campus to avoid geese, if they wish.

“It’s a very Waterloo answer to this situation with the geese,” university spokesperson Nick Manning said on Tuesday. “We harboured a technology that’s helping us live with them.”

But, on Monday morning, the plot took a Hitchcock ian twist.

“I cannot make this stuff up,” associate professor Jennifer Harris posted to her Department of English Language and Literature blog on Monday.

On Tuesday, she was counting the thousands of global ganders her blog entitled “Turkey Demolishes Hagey Hall” had plucked off the world wide web.

And the Spawn of Satan was still out there. Morrison was sure of it. Another goose appeared to be sitting on a nest by the corner of the roof where he hollers at passersby.

A week ago, Morrison was punching numbers into her mobile device as she approached the path to her office in the middle of the afternoon.

She had no time to type SOS, for Spawn of Satan, as the bird swooped. She didn’t make eye contact. She looked small in her dialing hunch and there was a goose nest on the ground just around the corner.

“I was attacked,” she said. “He came at me from I don’t know where, at about seven feet in the air. He went right past my hair, ‘Wah, wah, wah!’ He landed beside me, started honking and chased me right down the driveway.”

She escaped unharmed. Now, like an academic Ahab, she watches the bird that watches her. She even posted a photo to Facebook of her Moby Goose perched on the building corner beyond her desk window.

“He looks around like he hates everybody because he hates everybody,” Morrison said.

But all geese are treated equally at Waterloo, no matter what their perceived demeanour.

“There isn’t something we do for one goose over another,” Manning said. “But obviously, we have ways, that Environment Canada approves, to manage that population and make sure we do co habit this park campus with the animals.”

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