Wasaga Beach Naturalist Peter Iden Talks About Canada Geese

Canada Geese are not dangerous.

Many people are afraid of Canada Geese because they believe that they will attack anyone who gets to close to them. That is not true. The Geese are just like people. If there is any sign that they or their kids are in danger by someone getting too close to them the react, first with warning noises and yes, they will take aggressive action if pressed further. Anyone who has ever had gulls or even much smaller birds dive at their head will know what bird aggression is. But Canada Geese do not normally fly or dive at people, because they know that their physical size is enough to scare any person or animal.

A lot of people object to Canada Geese because of their habit of pooping all over lawns and walkways. But you can always avoid stepping in it, wipe your shoe’s soles on grass or snow before you get back into your car, or clean them when you get home!

Photo contributed by Peter Iden: Feeding the Geese at Toronto Island in 1966.

My experience as a professional Naturalist during the 1960’s to the 1980’s has more than familiarized me with Canada Geese. I have fed the first 30 or so Canada Geese in 1966 on Toronto Island during their re-introduction, after they were almost hunted to extinction in Canada. As a result of this incredibly successful Project, there are now 7 Million Canada Geese in our country.

I have sat and walked among the so-called “fierce” attacking Geese and their young in many parks and places. They have sat around my feet, relaxed and preened themselves and slept as I was sitting on benches. I talk to them and have always been accepted as being no threat to them. I walk among them at the pond near my house and they accept me as part of their family without fear for their broods. They have even visited me on my roof, which Canada Geese are not normally known to do. I have not ever been “attacked” by a Canada Gander. And I have hundreds of photographs to document my stories.

Photo credit Peter Iden: Geese gathering at his feet

Incidentally, the Mallard Ducks which nest at the same pond also visit my back and front lawns very regularly, and sometimes eat seeds my bird feeding station at the back of my house.

You too can overcome your fear of Canada Geese. It requires only one thing: Respect. Remember that they are also afraid of you. Respect their territories and their habits. Do not let your children or your dogs chase them. If you want to take photos of them, stay far enough away and use the zoom feature of your camera (even cell phone cameras have that).  Do not attempt to do what I do by trying to associate with them too closely. It takes many years to learn and does not work for everyone.

Written by

Peter Iden is a resident of Wasaga Beach and a Naturalist and Photographer who has a broad range of knowledge of the natural world. Peter is also a volunteer Warden for the Piping Plover Recovery Programme with the Friends of Nancy Island.

Email: cmis-cbc@rogers.com

Latest comment
  • Great article Peter! Thanks for sharing your knowledge of wildlife with us!