Mother’s Day is all about recognizing the many sacrifices that moms often make for their kids, but last Sunday took a symbolic turn for one Canada goose in Erie County, Ohio, when she tried to put out a fire in her nest by sitting on it.

According to the Sandusky Register, county wildlife specialist Tim White and his daughter were walking by an office building when they noticed smoke coming from the ground. When they investigated, they found a smoldering goose’s nest with several eggs inside. The mother goose was nearby, but a large section of her flight and tail feathers had been burnt clean off in her attempts to smother the fire. The goose’s bill was also damaged by the flames.

“She was doing the motherly thing. She was very protective of those eggs,” White told the Register. “She took the brunt of the heat and the fire.”

Burned tail and flight feathers of Canada goose deliberately set on fire.

Posted by Back To The Wild, Castalia, Ohio on Monday, May 4, 2015

White and his daughter was able to put out the fire more effectively using buckets of water from the office, but the damage was already done. The goose and the five eggs that survived the heat were then transported to Back to the Wild, an animal rehabilitation clinic in North Ridgeville. For the time being, the goose appears to be doing well and is eating regularly, but experts are unsure if the eggs can be saved.

“Sadly, the eggs had burn marks on them and are unlikely to hatch,” wrote staffers at Back to the Wild on Facebook. “We are going to keep them for a period of time and give them a chance. The mother is lucky to be alive but all of her flight feathers and tail feathers were burned off. Her tongue is singed from trying to preen while her feathers were still burning.”

Workers added that the fire may have been intentional. White confirmed that he discovered cigarette butts in the nest, and like others, suspect that someone may have wanted to set the nest ablaze.

“Someone had lit cigarettes and set her, her nest, and her eggs on fire. If it had not been caught as early as it was it would have killed her and possibly burned down the building she had nested against,” stated Back to the Wild. “This is not only a reprehensible act, it is also a very illegal one.”

The event has since been reported to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Erie County Sheriff’s Office. Should the eggs hatch, the chicks will be reunited with their mother—who more than lived up to her title last Sunday.

Images from Facebook

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