“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Friday, April 26, 2013

Surviving Nesting Geese

My friend Lynne and I spiced up our last pre-Nike Women's Half marathon run last night with a little goose attack.  Nothing like fighting off an angry goose and surviving to tell the tale without a scratch on you!

What are the tricks of surviving an angry Canadian Goose attack?
This is what one looks like
Obviously, the best option is to avoid the geese and their nesting spots all together.

The problem in our area is - that the nesting geese are everywhere.  A small grass section in the parking lot?  Goose nest.  Any grassy area near any running trail - potential geese spot.

On Tuesday, I ran the Orange Township trail by my house - I ran 3 miles out and back from my house.  The exact same route as Lynne and I intended to run last night.  No angry geese.

Last night, around 1.8 miles in, out of the corner of my eye, I saw flapping wings near Lynne's head.  She turned around and starting running the other way.  I followed her and we both sped up.

Note to everyone reading this - that is the exact WRONG thing to do when a goose is flying at you in attack mode.  It pursued us, vigorously.  I don't care how fast you are, I don't think anyone can outrun an angry flying goose.

Then I recalled all the stuff about standing your ground and being more scary than they are.  I stopped, turned and started yelling at it.  It stopped flying, but kept hissing and occasionally surging forward.  (looking exactly like the picture above).  Lynne took off her water bottle and started squirting/throwing water from her water bottle at it.

For all those reading - sprayed water does not both a Canadian goose.

Her belt removal gave me an idea.  I took off my running jacket and started snapping it at the goose yelling "get," with each snap.  Yes, I channeled my inner Southern.  It worked.  It backed up with each "get!"  It was angrier when we went back towards my house, so I told Lynne to walk behind my back and continue down the trail while I yelled "get," at the goose.  Then, I made a slow measured retreat continuing to snap and yell.
Apparently, this doubles as an effective goose deterrent, who knew?
Once we'd moved far enough down, the goose stayed where it was without the jacket snap and we were able to stop with safety.  I insisted on a picture to prove to our loved ones how we'd survived the ninja goose attack.
We survived!
I'd neglected to stop my Garmin during all this.  Apparently, survival DOES take priority over Garmin data.  HAHAHA!  We've decided to call this section of the run our "combat cross training."  Obviously, we found a different way back to my house.

I have been hissed at by the geese on several runs, but this was the first time I'd ever been attacked.  Since neither one of us got hurt at all, it became a rather funny story.  Both my trainer and my husband just laughed at me.  My trainer even said he would've paid money to see me snapping my jacket at the goose.  BOYS.

Have you ever been attacked by an animal on a run/walk?

What's the strangest animal you've encountered during a workout?  (Back in Alaska, I had many encounters with moose and bears).


  1. I have actually altered bike routes because of the geese here in Ohio.

  2. You'd have been in trouble if it was warmer out. Now do you understand my fear of geese? I hate them almost as much as puppets.

  3. Lol, that's so funny! Glad you didn't get hurt! I used to run on a game farm just outside of town and would HATE running into the ostriches - those birds are so darn crazy! And pretty scary with those freaky toes and long legs! Fortunately I never got kicked, but I also have some pretty funny (in hindsight) ostrich encounter stories to tell... :)

    1. An Ostrich encounter sounds like an awesome story.

  4. I've been charged by a goose while walking! Innocently! They are nasty creatures! But my scariest running-animal encounter was on the dirt roads around my dad's place in rural Missouri. Lots of very angry unchained dogs out there.....I love the terrain but I won't ever run there again. I'm really lucky I didn't get hurt.

    1. Angry unchained dogs are very scary! I've heard a lot of scary stories of runners and mean dogs.


Comments pretty much make my day - so thank you for yours!