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Crash Landing: Gym Mats Help Baby Birds Escape Precarious Perch

The goslings, urged by their mother, faced a scary challenge — how to reach the ground from their perch on a balcony.

This mother goose tale has a happy ending.

Some nervous goslings, urged forth by their honking mama, needed to pluck up their courage on Monday for the biggest challenge of their young lives: How to reach the ground from their perch on a balcony at the University of Calgary Outdoor Center.

Luckily, the staff was there to help.

"We realized the fall was quite far down for those little goslings, especially without wings to fly," said Finlay MacNeill, the Cross Country Ski and Paddle Programs Coordinator at the University of Calgary.

"The crash mats fit the bill perfectly," said MacNeill, who captured the family drama outside his office window in a series of phone videos on Monday.

The six goslings, after some hesitation, eventually took advantage of the soft landing, and joined their parents for the next chapter of their lives.

A group of goslings first ponder then finally take the plunge to meet their parents on the ground below.Finlay MacNeill / University of Calgary Outdoor Center
—Seán Federico-O'Murchú