Those of us who enjoy walking, jogging, or commuting to work along the D&R Canal Trail are likely familiar with a particular threat around this time of year: angry geese! During the spring, Canada Geese, which seem to have made Lake Carnegie their year-round home, breed and become extremely protective of their nest sites and young goslings. Especially around Bike-to-Work Week, safe passage along the trail could not always be guaranteed owing to these geese, who are not particularly afraid of humans.
If you come across some geese who are guarding a nest or protecting their young goslings, you might assume that you can scare them off by clapping or waving your hands, or otherwise hollering. Don’t count on it. These geese sometimes stand their ground, and any attempt to pass them may result in aggressive behavior. First, you may see the geese arch their long neck in a poised, angry manner. Then they may start hissing. If you observe this, you want to back off slowly and wait for the geese to move on at their own speed. Rumors about the potentially ferocious nature of these birds are true, just check out this poor guy (things get serious about 25 secs in):
You definitely don’t want to engage a goose in hand-to-hand combat like this guy. It just can’t end well– and at worst you could end up falling in the canal, in which case you aren’t just soaking wet and fighting a goose, but also fighting a goose in its home arena! Seriously, just give them some time and space. They usually waddle on. And now that we are into June, the goslings are getting bigger, which seems to mean the adult geese are more chilled out. We can all share the amazing canal trail with these wild specimens in peace.
Have you ever had an encounter with a goose or other wild animal while walking in the Princeton area? Leave your comments or stories below!