It’s time for another awesome visit to the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship. Back in April 2011 a Canada goose decided to nest in an urn at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, NY. Canada geese are monogamous animals who usually mate for life, but somehow this goose had lost her gander. Fortunately she wasn’t without protection.

A young male whitetail deer appeared and took up the role of guardian. Canada goose eggs incubate for an average of 24-28 days and the young buck remained close by the entire time. Whenever anyone tried to approach the goose, the deer rose to stand between them and the nesting bird. He also chased off an aggressive group of crows, who are known to predate on baby birds, the day before the eggs began to hatch. It wasn’t until the goslings hatched that the deer gradually began to wander from his self-appointed post.

Photos by Doug Benz and Craig Cygan respectively.

[via The New York Times Lens Blog and the Mother Nature Network]