You’ve probably heard a Canada Goose hissing and honking at you – and if you have, experts say that’s when you’re too close.
Every year people get attacked by geese in Winnipeg, said Barret Miller from FortWhyte Alive.
“Right now their major thought if they’re female is to make a nest and lay eggs, the male must defend my partner and the nest,” he said.
Helen Penner was walking with her grandchildren at FortWhyte and says she’s always careful around geese.
“I have a love-hate relationship with geese. I live on the river so they come into my yard. I don’t like the mess they make,” she said.
“They’re very protective of what they think is their territory. I usually don’t go out without something that I can swing around, but I would never hit a goose. I just scare them.”
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Miller says if a goose is going to be aggressive, it will start to make noises, lower its head and will make its wings wide and charge.
“As soon as you see that bobbing up and down, it’s time as a person to take a step back and away. If you look at a goose and you look it in the eyes and you walk around with your shoulders square to it, generally it’s going to settle down,” he said.
“If you do actually make contact with a goose, push them away as hard as you can. Don’t punch, don’t kick just push them away as hard as you can.”
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Miller says if a goose does make contact, it will leave a mark.
“I describe it as a good two-handed slash in a hockey game. It hurts,” he said.
At the University of Manitoba there are signs up warning people of the geese on campus.
Ethan Frose is a student and said he’s been nearly attacked.
“I was walking to grab lunch or something and then this goose walks up to me and spreads its wings and it hisses at me. I’m like ‘back off.’ Because they get aggressive here.”
“Sometimes you can just walk by them and nothing, but sometimes they’ll try to get you.”
There is only about a month and a half left before the eggs the geese are protecting have hatched, and they will be less territorial, said Miller.