The Final Gab on the Goose and the Gander
Updated: Jan 31
“Remember that time we ate and pooped all day at Kurt & Marianne’s place?”
Geese Have A Great Memory
According to the internet, geese are smart birds and are able to remember people, animals, and events due to their great memories. I’m guessing that the geese hanging around my place know me, and my dogs, very well by now. They must also know and remember the Yard Enforcer, as they completely avoid the area it covers. That’s 1 point for the Yard Enforcer!
Geese will remember and go back to their favorite areas to graze. This isn’t so great for me because geese love lawns that are fertilized, watered, and mowed. They also prefer to be near water.
That’s 2 points for the Geese.
Per the Michigan DNR, if I let the grass grow longer, especially by the water, the geese won’t like my lawn anymore. Instead, the mosquitoes will like it more, the neighbors will be upset, and I’ll probably get a nasty letter from the township reminding me of the blight ordinances.
No points there!
“I’m scared! Go Get ‘Em, Honey!”
Geese Are Great at Guarding
The domestic goose can be used as a guard animal, much like your favorite pooch.
Can you imagine have a guard goose?
Canada Geese are also great guard animals. Canada Geese can be aggressive, especially during mating season and when their goslings are young. It is very important to stay away from their nests and goslings, as well as know the warning signs of an agitated goose.
When geese start honking, it means they are getting nervous. When they hiss, they are agitated. The male, called the Gander, is usually the attacker. When you see this guy lowering his head, spitting, hissing, and rippling his neck feathers, get away! This is your warning that things could get ugly.
Can you imagine a 14-pound goose with a 5-foot wingspan charging at you? No thank you! If he gets hold of you, you could enjoy getting knocked down, bit, and beat up by his massive wings.
Although most goose attacks do not result in serious injury, there have been documented cases of broken bones and head trauma, not to mention the emotional distress that could haunt a person forever.
“I’m watching you!”
Geese have Great Eyesight
According to the Geese-Relief website, Geese have great eyesight and look for body and facial cues to determine if they are safe. They report there is a specific way in which to handle an agitated goose encounter.
First, do not squint or close your eyes. Maintain full eye contact at all times.
Second, keep your body fully facing the goose and slowly back away. Never run away or turn your head, body, or shoulders away from a goose or it may provoke an attack.
Third, never kick at, yell, or act aggressive toward a Goose or the Gander as they may both decide to come after you.
Fourth, never send your dogs after geese unless they are specifically trained on how to rid your yard of them. They could get hurt, and so could the geese.
The other day, I shooed a family of geese off my lawn by waving my arms and walking toward them. Boy, am I glad the one standing his ground and watching me didn’t decide I was acting aggressively. That could’ve ended badly!
That’s 1 point for my dumb luck!
A group of children chasing geese in their Texas neighborhood in 2016 didn’t fare as well. According to the Huffington Post report, flocks of geese nesting on the homes in the neighborhood went after a group of children who had been chasing them. I guess the geese chased back!
Photos of a little girl getting knocked to the ground by a mad goose attacking her head is a frightening look at what could happen if you anger one of these birds. I couldn’t imagine how she would have fared had the entire chevron went after her.
The Huffington Post article mentions not to make eye contact with a goose, at all. I understand this is a way to avoid conflict with a goose, but if you are already in a stand off with Mister-I’m-Going-To-Kick-Your-Butt, it makes sense to use the Geese-Relief rules on how to back away safely.
“I will love you forever!”
Geese Mate for Life
Although domesticated geese are not known to be monogamous, Canada Geese mate for life, and their relationships have been known to last as long as 20 years! That’s a lot of years breeding hungry goslings that love to have grazing, poop parties in my front lawn.
It looks like a tie-breaker is underway, so I am making one last attempt to win this goose battle once and for all! I purchased another Yard Enforcer for the other side of the lawn. It is my hope that throughout the coming days (and years) these goose families will remember the summer of the Yard Enforcer, and will decide to quit visiting “Kurt & Marianne’s Place” altogether.
Keep your fingers crossed!
FAO.org, Chapter 2: Behaviour, www.fao.org/3/y4359e04.htm
Geese-Relief LLC (2019), https://www.geeserelief.com/geese-problems/aggressive-geese.html
Wikipedia (2019), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guard_goose
Washington Nature Mapping Program: Canada Goose, http://naturemappingfoundation.org/natmap/facts/canada_goose_k6.html
Hanson, Hilary (2016) Huffington Post, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/goose-attack-girl-photos_n_572a4d84e4b0bc9cb045898d