|(a) Alert, wary of danger (b) Conflict, accompanied with hiss (c) Increased threat, accompanied by a call (d) Conflict situation, pumping display, precedes direct attack|
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Most of the folks that know me well know that I am somewhat of a chicken. Yes, that's right, I'm afraid of just about anything you can think of, especially in the dark. Ask any one of the good people that have paced me through a 100-mile race, into deep, dark hours of the night. I remember getting ready to pace my good friend Bryon Powell at the Iroquois Trail 100 (now named the Virgil Crest Ultras). One of his rules of pacing/crewing was to NOT say "did you hear that in the woods" or "was that a bear". I admit it - when it comes to running into animals on the trail, I'm an absolute wimp. Heck, at last year's Grand Teton Races I made sure to hide behind Dusty when passing though areas known to be populated with moose. And at the 2008 Javelina Jundred, I conveniently made sure that Susan was between me and the wild horses as we passed them by.
Today, on my second run of the day, alone and unarmed, I was attacked!
No, that's not me, but damn that's what it was like. I'm running along, minding my own business, when this Canada Goose, hissing at me, charges me as I approach, lets me go by, then proceeds to take flight and attack me from behind, pecking at my head and back. Mother $@#$#$$!!!!! I escaped, unharmed, but was sure to alter my return route to avoid that piece of $^@# #%@#$ @#$#@$ !
These dudes can be seriously nasty, especially during nesting season, which, of course, happens to be right about now. So, I tried to see where I went wrong in my goose encounter today, did a little research, and found some instructions on how to prevent and stop a goose attack. Let's see how I did.
#1 - Pay attention to the actions of the male goose when you enter his territory. If he sounds a warning, that's your signal to leave the area. Use caution around geese in the spring, when the female lays her eggs and sits on the nest for incubation. Male geese are most aggressive at this time. FAILED - I barely noticed this guy until I was way up close. Sure, he hissed at me, but I figured what the heck, I could just drop-kick him if I had to. Just keep running by him, you'll outrun him.
#2 - Show no fear. Geese are particularly attuned to body language and a show of fear may increase the intensity of the attack. FAILED - Show no fear? Are you kidding me? I'm the king of showing fear. I ran like a sissy, weaving back and forth (which, by the way, violates #s 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 that follow).
#3 - Maintain eye contact. Geese have excellent vision and interpret loss of eye contact as an act of fear. FAILED - I suppose it was hard to keep eye contact while running away like a chicken.
#4 - Stay calm. Don't yell or try to hit the male goose. The female may join the attack and then you will be in real trouble. FAILED (and kind of passed) - What the #%$#? Real trouble? I thought I was in real trouble with just the one goose. The good news here was that because I was running away like a pansy I had no time to either yell or turn to hit it.
#5 - Keep your body facing directly toward the goose. Never turn your back on the attacking goose. FAILED MISERABLY - No additional explanation necessary.
#6 - Walk slowly backwards if the goose hisses at you or spreads its wings. FAILED - Hard to walk slowly backwards when I was sprinting forward.
#7 - Continue facing the goose and back slowly away at a 90-degree angle from the goose if he flies up at your face. FAILED - Dudes...not a chance.
#8 - Make your escape and exit the area through a gate if possible. Geese rarely fly over a fence. FAILED - However, I was very close to making my escape by jumping into traffic on the Bronx River Parkway.
If you ever run into these nasty predators (o.k., maybe I'm being too harsh), make sure to remember these 8 tips for preventing and avoiding a goose attack. One thing is for sure. I will most likely not adhere to these "instructions". I will most likely do what I do best.....run!