Territorial birds cry fowl, attack when students, faculty get too close to their nests on campus

Geese in front of Spellmann act fierce to defend themselves against students who pass by the building early on Friday, March 24, 2017.
Photo by Madi Nolte

Nesting season has begun for the Canadian geese at Lindenwood, and that means students should steer clear of the creatures as they move across campus.

The pesky poultry are back patrolling their campus domains around Pfremmer Pond, the Spellmann steps and the pond north of the Student-Athlete Center.

The species is well known for its ability to live in human-altered and inhabited areas, such as parks and ponds, which provide fewer natural predators and more food sources than in “the wild,” according to conservation experts.

“I turned and walked really fast toward the door, and the goose followed me, hissing, until I got there.”

Jodi Hoover

A video about student encounters with the geese last year went viral after it was posted to Snapchat, and it seems a sequel is only a matter of time.

The geese at Lindenwood often nest in areas with a lot of activity, which makes them hard to avoid. The geese are particularly aggressive in their nesting months of March, April and May.

They not only will hiss at anyone who gets too close to their nest, but may attack anyone perceived to be a threat, as Lindenwood student Phillip Dillard found out.

“I was casually walking up the stairs of Spellmann, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a goose was walking toward me,” he said. “The goose looked right at me and began hissing.”

Dillard said he stared at the goose as he walked past and managed to avoid a full-fledged attack.

Graphic design major Jodi Hoover also was harassed by the goose that patrols the Spellmann steps.

“I walked up the stairs near Spellmann, and the goose started moving toward me immediately,” she said. “I turned and walked really fast toward the door, and the goose followed me, hissing, until I got there.”

Students or faculty who encounter the geese should heed these tips from ohiogoosecontrol.com:

Dealing with Geese

  • Stare down the goose. Canada geese have excellent vision and will be able to perceive where you are looking and how you are reacting to them.
  • Slowly back away. Don’t turn your back, or stop looking at the goose. Using your peripheral vision be aware of obstacles in your pathways.
  • Remain neutral in your demeanor. Do not hit, kick or swing at the goose. This will only agitate them more, and may even bring the female off her nest to support her spouse in the attack. If you remain neutral, you are less of a threat.

If the goose flies towards your face, duck or move away at a 90-degree angle to the direction of the flight still facing the attacking goose.

Students may also want to keep in mind that Canadian geese are a federally protected species. Non-compliance can result in fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.

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