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What should I do when geese attack?

April 21, 2011 - Andrea Johnson
I have an ongoing war with a gander in Camp Owetti in Minot's Oak Park.

Every time I round the corner of the walking trail there, the gander steps out onto the path, blocking my way through. He stares at me and hisses loudly. If I take a step towards him, he spreads his wings in a threatening fashion. A few days ago, he flew at me. I backed away quickly (in the direction I intended to go all along) until he decided I'd gone far enough and left me alone.

It is nesting season and he is a protective papa, guarding a nest full of eggs that is probably a few feet down the river bank. I understand this, believe me. I also have every intention of walking the full mile and a half around Oak Park and don't plan to let his inconveniently placed nest deter me.

So far I have tried staring him down, while walking backwards in the direction I intended to go all along. All the while I tell him loudly and firmly to go away because I have no intention of stealing his eggs. I've also tried hissing back at him, which generally works on my cats. Sometimes the gander will move away when I do this. Mostly he just looks at me like I've gone nuts, which I probably have.

The available articles online about what to do when geese attack aren't all that helpful. Most of the articles advise backing away slowly, making sure there's nothing to trip over while you're doing it. They say that a gander is territorial (no kidding!) and humans should leave them alone in their territory. Under no circumstances should I get aggressive, according to the articles, because then the geese will get downright mean. Apparently geese have broken bones and left bruises on their victims. They're that serious during nesting season.

On the other hand, I was under the impression that Oak Park and its walking paths were also there to be enjoyed by humans who pay taxes to support the park, not just territorial geese during a month or more of the year.

I'm not going anywhere. Neither is the gander. Any suggestions?

 
 

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Blog Photos

An angry gander thinking about attacking me in Oak Park.