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  • Writer's pictureTina

This Goose Is Not Silly

We are always thrilled to watch the goings-on of local wildlife from afar. We cohabitate with bears, foxes, coyotes, turtles, rabbits, deer, groundhogs, turkeys, songbirds, Canadian geese, and many other woodland creatures. Most of the time, our peaceful co-existence is a pleasant experience. The deer can be destructive, raccoons and opossums can be bothersome, and snakes can give one a good scare, but other than stolen eggs and crop damage, we share a mutual respect for the wildlife surrounding us. That is to say, until this week.

We have several mating pairs of Canadian geese that come to nest at our ponds and the surrounding wetlands. I have read that Candian geese will return with their mates to the area where they were hatched. We have gone from one returning pair to four. I enjoy watching the geese fly in and land on the pond. I find their honks and calls charming. Watching them fly over in their distinct V formation in the fall makes me smile. I've always enjoyed and appreciated our Canadian visitors.

Over the years, locals have approached us about hunting the geese. It is always a firm no in response. I don't want our local wildlife hunted; we are very particular about who we allow on our land. When we catch individuals helping themselves to our land, and this happens more than one would think, I often hear the excuse, "Well, I knew Ron. Ron always allowed me to hunt here." I wish I were better at saying what I think because my response would be, "Do I look like Ron? My dad's been gone almost twenty years. You are not grandfathered into hunting privileges." or "Oh, do you pay the taxes on the land? No? Do you want to pay the taxes on the land? No? Go away." or "Oh, well, in exchange for 200 hours of volunteer farm labor and $6,000 to split the taxes, you are welcome to hunt here. Oh, you don't want to do that? Go away." However, I merely say, "No." It's a bit unnerving to think about a bunch of "randos" walking around the property with loaded guns. No, we are very particular about who we allow to hunt on our land.

Our ponds are safe havens for our Canadian geese friends. Each year, they safely hatch goslings, and with some luck and good parenting, their babies grow to adulthood. This year, two pairs have hatched goslings. One pair hatched six little ones, and they are all doing well and growing quickly. Most recently, a second pair hatched three goslings. The gander of this pair is one bad-ass mo-fo. Seriously, this guy is not to be messed with. I have never seen such an aggressive goose. Driving down the driveway requires diligence, a plan, and tactical driving skills.

Sunday was the first day we were assaulted by the overprotective father. His family was crossing the driveway. We stopped the truck at a respectful distance to allow them to cross safely. As Mama quickly herded her little ones off the drive, into the grass, and under the fence to safety, the gander decided to confront the large white F150 and teach it a lesson. He ran at the truck full speed with his head down, making an angry honking noise. As we slowly descended the drive, he flew at the windshield, causing us to duck, scream, and swear. Luckily, the windows were up. With him beside us, we cautiously made our way down the drive, hissing, honking, and flogging the truck the entire length of the drive. He chased us out onto Tonkin Road almost to our neighbor's house before giving up and giving one last angry honk. If you would like a good laugh, you can view this attack on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

We must go into ninja mode to sneak out of our driveway. It is futile. No matter how slowly or quickly we travel, he finds us, flogs our vehicles, and chases us. I sit at the end of the drive to pick up The Bean from the school bus. Should the attack goose flog her when she gets off the bus, we have a plan in place. The central part of this plan is recording it and laughing. With the antics of a now surly teenager, seeing her flogged by a goose would be sufficient punishment for snide comments, eye rolls, and a bad attitude. However, I am quite sure allowing your child to be flogged by an angry goose, laughing about it, and recording it is considered bad parenting. Sigh. Why is everything fun wrong? Anyhow, the plan is I will open the back hatch using the interior controls, she will dive in, and I will close the hatch, all with the push of a button. It is not illegal for me to imagine her being flogged by an angry goose, and I spend more minutes than I would like to admit creating hilarious scenarios. Sigh, it's a curse to be a creative parent.

Once he is behind us, I have found it best to gun the engine and race to the house as quickly as possible. Swerving a bit seems to throw off his trajectory so we can stop some of the actual contact with the vehicle. I say swerve a bit because our drive is lined with oak trees. I am sure I would never hear the end of it if I ran headlong into an oak tree, fleeing an angry goose. It is more of a wiggle than a swerve. Seriously, I am not inclined to leave the farm often. Trying to outmaneuver an angry goose makes leaving the farm even more unappealing. I simply don't want to deal with him.

When one thinks of an overprotective parent, one often thinks of a mother bear. Why has no one ever used an angry gander as an example? This guy could put a grizzly bear to shame. He is not only agile but also relentless. Pound for pound, I find the angry goose more intimidating than a bear. This nasty bugger will go for miles to kick your ass. He is not just strutting his stuff or trying to intimidate. He means business, and no one is getting past him.

We have sent messages to everyone who regularly comes back the lane. I sent our mail lady, Cindy, a message to warn her to keep her windows up and to go slow. We also messaged Jenna and Abby. Everyone thought I was joking until I sent them clips of the video. I can't make up this level of ridiculousness. How many people do you know who must warn visitors about an attack goose? The poor delivery guys. We have no way of warning them. UPS trucks often have their doors open on nice days. The poor, unaware delivery guy pulled in, looked flustered, and said, "Wow! That is one mean goose! Seriously, that guy is scary!" Yeah, we know, kid. You should try leaving multiple times a day. However, watching people's reactions to an attack goose never gets old. It takes so very little to entertain me these days.

Hopefully, this overprotective behavior will dissipate soon. It's going to be a long summer if we have to put up with this mean guy until his babies are grown. However, we give him a pass on bad behavior because he merely does what all fathers should do: protect their little ones. We try to work with nature, not against it. Also, as long as there is an attack goose on the loose, we have a threat to hang over our teen's head. If she doesn't lose the bad 'tude, we can always send her out the driveway for an attitude adjustment. Ah, the very thought makes me giggle.

Stay safe and be smart on this lovely spring day. It's okay to imagine your snarky teen getting flogged by a goose. Unfortunately, it's not okay to make that happen. Respect nature and its process. It's always best to keep your distance from wildlife and keep washing your hands.

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