Parenting

Geese Are Feathered, Dinosaur Murder Machines And We Need To Talk About This

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When I was a small child, my grandparents used to take us to the “duck pond,” a local park overrun with waterfowl. We’d bring stale bread and toss it to quacky little mallards. Then Canada geese would appear. Honking menacingly and spreading their wings, these geese would run at us. My brother and I would fling our bread sideways in a desperate attempt to distract them while we fled — every goddamn time. We were basically in Jurassic Park, and the raptors had escaped. The geese had learned that sneak attacks on small humans got them more munchies.

This is because geese are fucking assholes.

Canada geese are infamous for their aggression. When we began providing more urban environments full of manicured lawns and devoid of predators, they actually stopped migrating to the Arctic to breed each summer. Apparently Canada geese either know a good thing when they see it, or they’re lazy bastards. Because they’re generally protected by the Migratory Bird Act, their American population has ballooned to seven million. Seven honking, shitting, terrifying million.

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Geese Will Cut A Bitch

They’re everywhere. The nest in our parking lots. They nest in our parks. They nest in our ponds, and you do not want a Canada goose to nest anywhere because they are vicious defenders of their adorable little yellow goslings. They will also shiv you for snackage. This isn’t a metaphor. They have a serrated tongue. It helps them in some evolutionary way but really only exists to make them even scarier.

One Redditor remembers:

At least the kid was luckier than this man:

But geese are fucking smart, as one river guide found:

Moral: unless you want to take your life in your hands, do not feed the fucking geese.

They Shit Everywhere

Each Canada goose shits approximately one kilogram of slippery, smelly poo a day. This is from an animal that weighs anywhere from 3 to 9 kilograms. Translation: best case scenario, these things shit a ninth of their body weight a day. This would be like the average American woman pooping about nineteen pounds, an amount that cannot be explained either by chili dog consumption or medical science.

This shit actually contaminates our waterways and adds to pathogens in our lakes and streams. Accidentally ingesting Canada geese feces — like, your kid is playing on the beach, the sand’s contaminated… you know how it goes — can cause severe illness, since it contains several different parasites and pathogens. This is knowledge you never needed. But as G.I. Joe tells us, knowing is half the battle.

Unless you’re fighting geese. Then knowledge doesn’t fucking matter.

They Nest Everywhere

Geese nest in office parks. They nest in parking lots. They nest where small children can toddle through unaware.

One man found this out the hard way:

The worst part? This is not an isolated incident.

Those goslings are so freaking cute that I sneaked up behind some when I was sixteen and actually picked it up to cuddle. The mother or father Canada goose hissed and began waddling towards me at speed. Gingerly, I set down that gosling and held my hands up. The goose did not stop. I backed up. The goose kept coming.

If you’ve ever seen a Canada goose, you’ve probably seen an angry Canada goose, because they get angry all the goddamn time, so you know their wingspan rivals the height of a human being. Their wings are beefy too, like they’d make good eating if someone had the balls to catch them. So when that goose kept coming, I turned and ran. It waddled far more quickly than the word “waddling” implies. I ran faster. It took off. Suddenly I was pelting barefoot through goose shit as an enormous migratory waterfowl dive-bombed me. It slammed my head with its wings and beak, which is where the fucking term “goose egg” comes from (not really. But it should).

I survived, albeit with goose-shit feet. My teenage pride did not, since my friends simply stood back and laughed their asses off as I tried to escape a pissed-off, territorial dinosaur.

They Don’t Just Hate People, Either

Geese also hate each other. When they fight, they don’t just kind of peck at each other. They go at it like street fighters with serrated tongues, and the rest of their flock standing around honking like kids on a playground chanting, “Fight! Fight!”

This is obviously hard to believe, but YouTube has the evidence:

And they are such ridiculous protectors of their goslings that they’ll fight off other animals, too. Some Redditors claim that you can only have one goose at a time, because having more means they’ll gang up on your dogs. Then there’s this:

Geese Are Such Bastards People Use Them As Guard Dogs

This is not bullshit. Apparently geese of all stripes are so vicious that they’ll chase people off your property faster than a pitbull. But unlike a pitbull, they generally don’t like anyone and don’t discriminate between friend or foe. This can lead to major problems with visitors:

And one goose is better than two, which apparently present a problem greater than the sum of their whole:

Translation: geese will attack people who come to your house. But by “people who come to your house,” I mean “everyone, including you.” They will also attack your pets.

So Please Do Not Feed The Geese

If you feed them, you will train them to expect bread (or french fries) from people, and they will learn to attack. Sort of like alligators or bears, only more honk-y. But not less toothy because of their freak tongues. Anyway, feeding geese is bad for them, because then they ingest too many carbs and protein and get sick or deformed. And if they get deformed (too much human food can cause their feathers to grow the wrong way, for example), their flock may reject them, because geese are unmitigated dicks.

The only good news: about 20% of some geese species actually form same-sex partnerships. These seem to be more close-knit than other pairings. They don’t have to care for goslings, so they display more and generally seem more lovey-dovey. Pause for cute aw’s over gay geese.

Then remember that geese are feathered dinosaur murder machines who will attack you, your dog, a hawk, or each other at the slightest provocation.

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