Goose attacks more common than expected


Although sophomore accountancy major Samantha Lopez has never been attacked by a goose, her mother was not so lucky.

“[My mom] was bending over to get something out of a cooler, and a goose bit her,” Lopez said.

“She couldn’t sit down for the longest time because of the bruise.”

The perpetrator of the attack was a Canadian goose, a bird native to Illinois, which was once thought to be extinct, said Roy Domazlicky , Urban Waterfowl project manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Domazlicky said the geese reside in a wide variety of wetland-type habitats.

“They mostly live near a source of water with associated short grass, including retention ponds, rivers, lakes and streams,” Domazlicky said. “They move around quite a bit.”

Because geese will nest near any area with a good amount of water, they can become aggressive toward intruders including humans.

“Typically the male is more aggressive,” Domazlicky said. “He may walk up to you, hiss, push his chest out or slap his feet on the ground. In more extreme cases, he could fly at you without warning.”

Domazlicky added any goose showing these warnings does so to make itself look bigger in order to scare any predators away. The best way to avoid any attack is to be aware of any geese in the area.

“Be sure to give them room,” Domazlicky said. “If you’re carrying something, put it between you and the bird.”

Domazlicky said opening an umbrella in front of an aggressive goose can deter attacks and scare the goose away.

Placing an object in front of the bird is not the only way to ward off unwanted attacks. Maggie Brasted, director of Urban Wildlife Conflict Resolution for the Humane Society of the United States, said the Humane Society does not have a problem with mild harassment that does not hurt the bird and is for a legitimate reason.

“If the point is to force the geese to leave a park where people are by using noisemakers, distress calls or well-trained dogs, we consider that a humane way to solve a problem,” Brasted said. “Chasing or provoking an animal or hitting them with a broom is beyond what the law would allow and not humane.”

Lopez may not be afraid of geese, but she still has a method of avoiding any attempted attack.

“My best advice to keep them from attacking is to run away as fast as you can,” Lopez said.