Why was that goose so ᴀɢɢʀᴇssɪve, and what did you do to make it so ᴍᴀᴅ
Canada geese have a reputation for being mean. They are extremely adaptable, finding food and other resources in urban areas, which is where they nest, raise their young, feed and live. “This has led to increasing ᴄᴏɴꜰʟɪᴄᴛs between geese and people,” points out the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Especially when nesting or when they have chicks, Canada geese can act ᴀɢɢʀᴇssɪvely toward people, “ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋing” them when they come too close.
There are two populations of geese: migratory birds that breed in northern North America and fly farther south for the winter, and resident birds that make their homes in urban and suburban areas year-round. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, most of the trouble comes from resident birds.
Resident geese don’t have many predators and are mostly comfortable and safe in their permanent homes. They can digest grass so they thrive on golf courses, parks and neighborhoods. Plus, some people like to feed them, so life is good — and their numbers continue to grow.
If a goose ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋs
Even if you’re a kind person and don’t mean to disturb a nesting site, ᴀᴄᴄɪᴅᴇɴᴛs happen. You might unwittingly stumble upon a goose family and make them very unhappy.
If a goose ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋs, here are some tips:
- Maintain direct eye contact and keep your chest and face pointed at the goose.
- If the goose acts ᴀɢɢʀᴇssɪvely, calmly and slowly back away.
- Act naturally. Don’t yell, swing at it, kick or act hostile.
Thomas Lameris, Ph.D. candidate at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and member of the Goose Specialist Group says there’s so much more to these fascinating birds than just an occasional bout of angry hissing. For example:
There’s a reason for that expression about ᴘᴏᴏᴘing and geese. Geese have a digestive system optimized for quickly digesting grass. They have a “throughput” of about 30 minutes, meaning what they eat comes out the other in just half an hour, Lameris says. Because they are so efficient in getting nutrients, the grass has to be very green and very fresh, which also explains why their ᴘᴏᴏᴘ is also typically green.
- They like familiarity. Resident geese tend to stay in the same general area, says Lameris. They know where to find the best food and where they might expect to find ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀ. Migratory geese will return to the same sites every winter, but that doesn’t mean they stick to the exact same area.
- They’re monogamous. Geese find a partner in their second year and they stick together for the rest of their lives, says Lameris. “In this way they become perfectly adjusted to each other, and become very good at coordinating tasks during incubation and brooding of their goslings.”