A Goose Standoff

A charming story from Kendalite Don P., describing a recent encounter that brought back fond memories. Don provides a vivid picture, both in words and image, of his son’s youthful adventures.

While I was running earlier this week along the parking area service road for Phase II (“Rock Pond”), I saw a pair of geese ahead of me on the side of the road. As I approached, the large gander lowered its head, spread its wings and, hissing, charged me. Immediately I faced it, spread my arms and hissing in goose fashion I bent forward and took a couple steps toward it. The goose turned and headed back to its mate still hissing. I started to continue my run and it came at me again. I repeated the maneuver and it backed down, returning to its mate, hissing a few veiled threats about what it would do the next time.

Eric & Dobbie tussling

Eric & Dobie tussling - sketch by Don Parker

Now, I didn’t just make up this tactic on the spot. I learned it from our youngest son, Eric, who had a pet goose when he was about 10 years old. He called the gander Dobie (Joyce and I conjectured it was short for Doberman). This goose had an attitude. It would hiss at Eric with wings out and Eric would sass it back, arms outstretched and crouching. They would circle each other, taunting and feinting. The goose looked almost as big as Eric. If the gander actually attacked him, which it occasionally did, Eric would grab its neck just below the head and they would wrestle, the goose pummeling Eric with its wings while he tried to wrap his free arm around the goose. This would usually end when the goose squawked “uncle” and Eric let it go; sometimes only to repeat another round. Eric loved Dobie and it was apparently a mutually agreed upon form of tussling that they enjoyed.

The take home message is: don’t be intimidated by the aggressive bluster of the male goose protecting its lady love. After all, you are bigger than it is. Just stand up to its threats and sass it back. You can use the Eric posture and stance, if you wish –and no one is watching.

When I was running back the other direction on the same road that morning, the two geese were in the water at the edge of the pond behind Phase III (“The Ponds”). As I ran past, the gander got out onto the bank, lowered its head and started coming toward me. I stopped and called, “You want to take me on again? Alright, come on. Come on!” Neither of us raised our wings (arms), the goose backed down and hopped into the water with its mate, and the standoff ended peacefully.

Our son was a good teacher. I learned my lesson well.

© Don Parker, March 25, 2012