Hey all! Been taking a break right now to focus on my health so I have been slow in coming up with posts. But I had this moment that just hit me as the most Canadian story I have had so far. Read on to find out what it is!

How Things Started:

I had been recovering from my second COVID-19 shot for a few days. My main problem was fatigue, but I was slowly recovering from that. I wanted to go on a short walk at one point, so my Mum said she wanted to show me this little place by the Elbow River. Lately, when I walk by the river, I have been finding these little hidden spaces where I can just stay and watch the river without any interruptions. I am really into that! So, Mum decided to show me a new place by the river that she found and I was excited to check it out.

One significant part of the story is that my Mum took her cane with her on the walk. Remember the cane! We were about a block away from the river when we heard some geese calling. It was a constant call, so we didn’t know what to make of it. We’re used to hearing magpies having corvid parties, so we thought the geese were just having a party on the river.

Then It Got Serious…:

As we got closer, we saw two adult geese by the fence in front of the bench that overlooked the river. They were the ones constantly calling. When we saw some goslings in the river, we pieced it together that these adults were the parents of these goslings and were trapped. They were pacing up and down alongside the fence calling to their babies.

On the left side of the fence, there was a tree that blocked any immediately visible view of the riverbank, so the geese thought they had no way to get to the river. On the right side of the fence, there was a gate to someone’s backyard, which we thought at first we couldn’t open. The geese couldn’t squeeze between the bars of the fence or under the fence either. The parents couldn’t fly because the space was narrow and geese need a sort of “runway” if you will, to take off. 

Those parents clearly didn’t want to do anything that would make them lose sight of their babies, even for a moment. I don’t know how they ended up there, but we knew we had to do something to try and help. What was fortunate for the goslings was that there were other goose families near where they were swimming on the river. The other geese weren’t too close, but they were close enough in case something happened to the goslings. 

The Plan:

Normally, I save the phone number to an animal rescue place as soon as I move someplace new in case I see a sick or distressed wild animal. I found out after moving to Calgary that it’s not possible to call an animal rescue place right now. They are all closed due to the pandemic. So, I knew that wasn’t an option to help these geese. Plus, the longer the parents were from the goslings, the more distressed they got. So, Mum and I began to think of a plan. It was so lucky Mum had her cane with her. She let me take it and get closer to the geese to try and herd them. Mum stayed back to make sure the geese couldn’t get into the road. They could have hurt her more easily than they could have hurt me.

I approached carefully because every Canadian knows this hard and fast rule: our geese are assholes. I tried to herd them around the tree a couple of times, but it didn’t work because they were between the bench and the fence. The goose closer to me did hiss at me when I approached, but it wasn’t too bad. I backed away at first, but then I kept trying. I was wracking my brain for other ideas.  

Then Help Arrived:

There was a guy across the river who was watching this thing unfold and he called to us, “Go, girls!” or something like that. I assume he was trying to think of something to do about the geese before we arrived. Then, this woman came out of the apartment next to the river and tried to help us. She stood at different places to help me herd the geese better. One of them walked around the tree and found its way back to the goslings. Mum noticed the goslings crowded around its parent. The second goose was trickier. Eventually, the woman helping us opened the gate to the person’s backyard and the goose walked in and found a way to the river!

I was so glad that worked! How many Canadians does it take to herd a pair of geese? I was afraid I was going to have to pick up those geese to let them fly over the fence! That thought was especially scary because 1. They bite. 2. Those wings are strong enough to break your arm. I don’t underestimate how strong wild animals are and I just got over the geese hissing at me thank you! The only reason they did a “light hiss” was that I was nowhere near their babies. Plus, they didn’t have the room to lunge at me.

Afterwards, I felt like I just performed First Aid or something. Mum and I decompressed by watching Fly Away Home. That really has been a significant movie for us, especially for this move to Calgary!

Final Thoughts:

This could have been so much worse if a predator had got either the parents or the goslings. Or, what if it was the goslings behind the fence? It’s clear that imprinting goes both ways. It’s not just the parents imprinting on the babies, but vice versa. After the parents joined the goslings, they all swam down the river with their babies as if nothing happened and Mum and I sat on the bench and watched them.

Do you know the expression “herding cats”? Well, I have officially started saying “herding geese”. When I was trying to herd the geese, I tried to think of how they herd the geese in Fly Away Home. Then I realized, they make herding geese look easy! I’m glad I didn’t have to touch them.

One time I was at a beach in Santa Cruz, California eating a sandwich. This seagull came up right behind me and stole my sandwich! The one time I’m mugged is by a seagull! The seagull gave me a dirty look like, “This is MINE now!” Anyone who has seen Finding Nemo knows that to be true. The thing that I remember was the seagull brushed me with its wings. Don’t take “brushed” lightly. I felt how strong that bird was! I don’t underestimate wild animals, even small ones.

This is the most Canadian I have ever felt. I saw comedian Dave Hemstad talking about the news item about the Newfies saving a shark who was choking on a piece of moose. Best Quote: “An Inuit and a Quebecois would have to make love in the prairies on a bed of maple leaves using Tim Hortons as lube to have a more Canadian moment!” Nailed it! The routine is on CBC Gem if you can access it.

Last Note About Wild Animal Encounters:

I am not advocating that you should always try to help a wild animal in obvious distress by yourself. I already said I didn’t have the option of calling a wildlife rescue place. One thing I have found to be significant about Canada is you live in closer proximity to wildlife, even in the cities. So, it’s even more important to know what to do when you have a close encounter with a wild animal, especially one in distress or pain.

I know there are hard and fast rules about what to do when you see a wild animal that’s distressed or hurt, but sometimes, you have no choice but to step in and help. There are basic things you can do without training, like what just happened. I have found Canadians seem to have a better idea of how they can help wild animals because they encounter them frequently. That’s not to say stupidity doesn’t happen though. I am thinking of learning more about what I can do in case I ever need to help a wild animal again and I don’t have the option of calling in the experts. And okay, I know geese are jerks that crap everywhere, but I couldn’t stand by and watch those goose parents distressed being away from their babies.

Was this story Canadian or what? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Geese are adorable but vicious- always be careful around them. Lol this was definitely a very Canadian experience but I think you guys handled it wonderfully. The best goose related experience I have is that we have a bunch of geese at my university and they just randomly follow people around and they followed me to the bookstore and back like three times lol- to be honest they were probably planning on attacking me at some point!

    1. Yep. Geese are not to be messed with! That’s quite a story too. Is there a body of water near your university that they were likely nesting at?

      1. Actually I’ve never seen any- even in the areas where the geese mostly stay. It’s kind of weird… maybe they employ someone to clean up after them.

  2. That was a great story and so nice of you to step in and help. You are becoming more Canadian everyday! πŸ˜‚

  3. Congrats on being fully vaccinated!! I’ve heard that the second jab is tougher to deal with than the first. Hopefully the feeling of fatigue will soon go away. I completely agree that our geese are jerks, but I applaud your efforts to help them! That is so very Canadian of you. Fly Away Home is such a great movie and very fitting to watch after your heroic efforts to herd the pair of geese!

    1. The second one was tougher. I will write about it soon. The fact of the matter is I love animals, even the ones that are jerks and I had to do something. Thanks for your lovely compliment and yeah, I absolutely LOVE Fly Away Home! Except they make herding geese look easy. Thanks for commenting 😊

      1. Haha I bet. Geese are generally not pleasant to begin with and I don’t imagine they take too kindly to being herded in the best of times, let alone when they are separated from their babies! But good for you for reuniting them. It certainly makes for a warm and fuzzy story and a great excuse to rewatch Fly Away Home!

      2. Yeah, I was telling a friend about it and all she could say was “Wow!” I am planning to do this course on dealing wild animal rescue because I am pretty sure something like this could happen again. I live in Canada now, so this feels more inevitable. And yeah, Fly Away Home is the BEST!

  4. Poor geese in city settings can always use a hand getting their family to the water. In many cities (Toronto, Vancouver), police even stop traffic to let them cross. Nice to see burly policemen herding geese with a smile on their faces. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    1. So, they are actually able to herd geese? I need to learn that! I’m really glad I was able to help them though. I really love animals!

  5. How wonderful that you and your Mum arrived just in time to save the stranded goslings! In Guyana, I’ve had to share our backyard with the neighbor’s geese. They didn’t like seeing me around.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, we couldn’t believe we were in the right place at the right time. Geese are super crazy sometimes, hence all the jokes about them here in Canada. Thanks for commenting 😊

  6. A great Canadian and entertaining story! I think you can also call the fire department. They’ve come out a few times to rescue/herd various wildlife. Maggie

    1. Thank you! It’s one of those stories that I have heard about, but now I have one of my own! Thanks for the tip about the fire department. I will save a number to a local wildlife rescue place once they are allowed to reopen. Thanks for commenting 😊

  7. “herding cats”. LOL. That’s a new phrase for me. I don’t know cats can be herded, but one never knows a lot of things happening in this world that one doesn’t understand. LOL. You mean wild life in cities and towns? I mean geese are fierce enough. What if you encounter a bear? Or other predators? No wonder your mother carries a stick with her. She is so well prepared for the wild life in town. LOL. it is said when you extend your stick, wild animals will automatically assume you are taller or stronger and they will flee. I don’t know if this is true, but I watched “The Gods must be crazy” and there’s a scene like that.

    1. Well, it’s a common expression “herding cats”. Yes, wildlife is common here. Not sure if that is true about having a cane, but it definitely helped here

  8. You guys did the right thing, well done! I agree, it’s not always appropriate to intervene with wild animals, especially when they have young. I grew up on a lake in Michigan where the geese were a constant problem. They chase you, and will certainly bite not to mention the huge amount of poop they leave behind. Bring on the dog, always ready to chase them off the lawn! There are plenty of Canadian Geese here in the desert believe it or not, just as mean as ever…

    1. Thanks. I was just glad their babies weren’t in trouble either. I have heard about people being injured by Canada Geese. I mean, this isn’t Fly Away Home. I do recommend that movie though if you haven’t seen it. It’s one of the most underrated movies ever. I guess those geese decided not to migrate then, but surprised they are in the desert. There are so many jokes about geese here! It’s so cool! Thanks for commenting 😊

  9. Thanks for sharing, lovely story. That is courageous and generous of you. I now await the story of your first encounter with bears, one step at a time πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you. It was quite unexpected, but I love animals so I did what I could. Yeah, bears will be a little tricky. Maybe a moose (or mice) will be the next step. Lol. Thanks for commenting 😊

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