Beware the Hissing Goose!

Rolling into Vassar Farms, we encountered a Canadian Canada Goose (*) family:

Geese at Vassar Farm Pond 2017-05-21
Geese at Vassar Farm Pond 2017-05-21

The gander pulled straight up and hissed as we rolled by at what we thought was a respectful distance:

Geese at Vassar Farm Pond 2017-05-21 - detail
Geese at Vassar Farm Pond 2017-05-21 – detail

Their little fuzzballs retreated in good order under the fence toward the pond; they don’t need much survival training.

Word has it a goose family (perhaps this one) built their nest near a path around the ponds and defend their turf with sufficient resolve to deter even singletrack bikers.

I occasionally see snakes along the way, but none that hiss:

Black Snake on Rail Trail - 2017-04-28
Black Snake on Rail Trail – 2017-04-28

We approach rail-trail curves with a bit more caution than some folks; I’m at about the spot where that rider began losing control and didn’t quite wipe us out.

Update: They’re “Canada Geese“, with (AFAICT) a legal distinction between Canadian tourists and resident Yanks during the hunting season. Thanks to David for the reminder!

12 thoughts on “Beware the Hissing Goose!

  1. In California, my bike commute would have me on a mixed-use trail. A regular walked her two dogs, and Italian Greyhound and a similar-sized (12-15 pounds) poodle. The IG (Siskel, in my mind) would snarl and lunge at my bike, while Ebert would get ticked off and snap at the other dog. Every. Damn. Time. And, Italian Greyhounds are really nice dogs, unless they really don’t like you. (We had a couple of them years later, and they hated one neighbor. Liked the others…)

    1. Hypothesis: the total weight of human + dog(s) is a constant.

      Consequence: if the only reason a large dog isn’t gnawing on my shin involves a small human hauling back on the leash, maybe the pair shouldn’t be on the rail trail.

      Some times I’m more curmudgeonly than other times, but it really lights my butt when we ride past, dinging our cute little bells, as far away as we can get, and a slack-leashed mutt lunges to take us down. If one of them actually contacts us, there will be gibbage all over the trail.

  2. That’s Canada goose, unless you checked his immigration papers… :)

    1. I am so not gonna read his leg band!

      (If he has one, which certainly isn’t obvious from the pix.)

  3. Here the path is close to a river, and many geese traverse the path each day. My policy is to keep riding when geese are in the path, and if one challenges me I head directly toward it. The squawk a lot, but I have yet to hit one.

    1. We ride slowly past (while avoiding scattered goose cigars), figuring the birds won’t charge if we’re not closing on them and won’t chase a receding target. The story has it a dirt biker tried a direct approach to the nest and met with fierce resistance; the story may have grown in the telling.

      1. Goose vs. bent? Worst case scenario, you get a free dinner… Unless they are like velociraptors and can pull off a coordinated attack from multiple sides in which case you become the dinner :)

          1. Memories of a gantlet on a long ride. Three houses in a row with dogs, and each dog would be alerted by the previous one. About 60 miles into a century, I wasn’t thrilled to have to sprint.

            1. Long ago, the doggie situation was much worse than nowadays. Perhaps I’ve finally outlived all the dogs that like to chase bikes, with some turned into fur flapjacks along the way. In fact, I recently reached for the ammonia spritz bottle in the left bag’s front mesh pocket and didn’t find it!

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