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Seven swans, er, geese, a-swimming
By Catherine Edman | Daily Herald Staff

The resident Canada goose at P.M. Bedroom Gallery in Naperville, Wilma, keeps a close watch on her newly-emerged babies Wednesday morning. A contest to name them ends next week.

 

Tanit Jarusan | Staff Photographer

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Published: 4/30/2008 5:05 PM | Updated: 4/30/2008 6:50 PM

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Fuzzy faces made their hesitant debut sometime around 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Mom was protective, but every now and then a little beak, followed by a fluffy head, would peek from beneath her wing outside P.M. Bedroom Gallery in Naperville.

By Wednesday morning, all seven goslings had emerged from their shells and were wide awake.

Mom, aka Wilma, and her brood were the talk of the town -- or at least the store -- since late March when she and her mate (we'll call him Fred) arrived in the parking lot.

They deposited seven eggs in a nest just in front of a store window before Fred set up a vigilant patrol protecting his beloved from all interlopers.

The family drama continued Wednesday as employee of the store watched to see whether Wilma would lead her new offspring off premises, into an adjacent field and toward a nearby stream. As of the early evening, she hadn't.

At first, folks inside the store caught only passing glances of the new babies, explained Jeff Cleasby, Illinois sales manager for the furniture chain.

"We knew two or three hatched," he said. "That was all she's let us see."

Eventually, though, Wilma walked off her nest and her wobbly babies followed, walking around the landscaping.

The company's tale of woe -- Fred had a propensity to attack visiting customers -- attracted nationwide publicity and fans.

A man from California asked for routine updates on their condition, as did a bird-watching group from New Hampshire and supporters of www.lovecanadageese.com.

Storeowner Arvid Huth decided to hold a contest to pick the most creative and original name for the goslings -- with a $1,000 television as a prize. As of last week, 2,000 folks submitted entries, many at www.pmbedroomgallery.com.

One of the best so far: "pickles, ketchup, mayo, mustard, lettuce, onion, tomato."

But the Seven Dwarfs and the Seven Deadly Sins aren't bad, either.