Family portrait

Hissing geese!

Last week, after I had decided I was finished mucking about a trail near a pond, I made for the trailhead, which is what one does when one wishes to stop mucking about on a trail. To my surprise, I found the trailhead blocked by a family of Canada geese.

Stop blocking my path! Hey, Mama Goose is tagged.

I wasn’t really sure what to do, and neither were they. They were standing in a narrow bottleneck between the parking lot and a larger concrete landing at the beginning the trail, and neither of us could pass the other right there.

I decided to press on, in hopes that they would back up into the parking lot, giving me clearance to exit the trail and return to my car. But they stood their ground, and as I drew near, I heard a funny noise— hissing. Hissing geese!

It suddenly hit me that these were protective parent geese, and I was a threat to their goslings.

Visions of savage goose attacks flew into my head.

I backed away slowly, and quietly stood as far to the side of the trail as I could.

Mama Goose, keeping her head down and pulsing it forward like a sleepy snake, hissed and led her family past me. And without a word, they ungracefully slipped into the pond and swam away in a single file.

But not before I got a family photo.

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