Have you ever been walking down the sidewalk, crossing the street, or just trying to go into a building and suddenly out of the corner of your eye you see a greyish-feathered mass with a long black neck hurdling towards you? If you already identify with this scenario perhaps you live in Indiana and it’s spring time.
Yesterday I was walking toward a medical building, minding my own, and it happened. It was a typical rainy spring day; I was heading beneath an overhang and preparing to put my umbrella away. I shook it at my side and as I was pressing the handle into my hip to close the canopy there he was. Papa Goose. A male Canada Goose had me in his sights.
He was fast approaching, his beak ajar so I could see his pink tongue as he hissed at me. His wings were starting to splay; I had seconds to react. As soon as I saw he meant business I knew what to do. Retreat! I let out a quick, “Oh!” and swiftly made my way down the stairs avoiding a full-on attack.
I don’t blame Papa Goose. In my haste to escape, I briefly saw the reason for his agitated state just a few feet behind him. Up against the brick building, behind a small plant lay his mate nestled atop her eggs. This brazen Papa was there to protect them at all costs, no matter the size of the foes that presented themselves. His job was clear.
I made it indoors unscathed to receive my first round of the COVID vaccine. After waiting for 15 minutes to confirm no serious side effects from the injection, I ventured back out in the rain and once again, into Papa Goose’s domain. Seconds after I walked out the door I saw it. Papa Goose was still on duty and an older gentleman had either not taken Papa seriously or had just not been paying enough attention. I watched as he threw his hands up, swinging them around his head while trying to escape.
Papa Goose had most likely warned him, but it was too late. This man was on the wrong sidewalk. As Papa Goose took flight at this poor man’s head I secretly felt lucky I had not endured such wrath. Papa Goose had bested him and protected his territory. The man evaded any physical injury, although his pride, most likely did not. As I passed the man I simply nodded, pretending I had not witnessed his embarrassing defeat. When I reached the top of the stairs I looked to my left to get one last look at Papa Goose and I’m pretty sure I could see the satisfaction of a battle well-fought in his little, dark gleaming eyes.