Why Are Geese So Aggressive? – BEHAVIOR Guide

A groupd of white geese outside

Geese are known as aggressive birds that will sometimes hiss or chase after people who get too close. So why are geese so aggressive and what does it mean? We’ll explore the behavior of geese in the sections below!

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The History of Geese and Their Aggressive Behavior

geese flying in sky
Geese are some of the most feared birds when it comes to pedestrians walking in parks and other areas where they might be around.
Native to Europe and Asia, these birds were first brought to North America by early settlers. Since then, their numbers have exploded and they can now be found in every corner of the continent. Their aggressive behavior is actually a relatively recent development. Geese are incredibly social creatures in the wild, forming bonds that can last a lifetime. Geese, before really integrated with humans, weren’t always aggressive unless a predator or other goose was near its nest or babies. Ultimately, humans became a bit of a threat to geese in their eyes. This is why humans tend to see geese acting this way when they are around.

What Causes Geese to Be Aggressive?

There are a few reasons why geese might become aggressive.

They’re Protective

Just like any other animal, geese are hardwired to do whatever it takes to keep their offspring safe. This instinct leads them to chase away potential threats, including humans. In addition, geese are highly territorial creatures. They view their nesting areas as personal property and will fiercely defend them from intruders. As a result, it’s essential to give geese a wide berth during the breeding season. Approaching a nest or trying to touch a gosling can trigger an aggressive response from the adults. In some cases, this aggression can even lead to physical contact.

They Don’t Like to Share

goose in air
If a goose is acting aggressive then it is usually for a good reason and you should be watching for their nest, goslings, or food to be near.
Geese are generally social creatures but can become aggressive when they feel territorial. This is especially true during the breeding season when geese are trying to protect their nests and young. However, other factors can contribute to goose aggression, including lack of food or water, illness, or injury. Read More: What Do Geese Eat? Here’s what geese eat in the wild and in captivity!

They Aren’t Easily Spooked

Geese are large birds and aren’t easily scared off by humans. This can lead to aggressive behavior, as the geese may not be afraid to approach people or animals. In addition, geese are attracted to food sources, such as picnics and garbage cans. This can make them aggressive if they feel that their food is being threatened even though they are in “our area.”

How to Avoid Being Attacked by a Goose

Here are some tips to avoid being attacked by a goose:
  1. Do not approach a goose nest. The female will be very protective of her eggs and will attack if she feels threatened.
  2. Do not feed geese. They may become aggressive if they think you have food.
  3. Do not bother a goose that is eating. Again, the bird may feel threatened and attacked.
  4. Stay away from goslings. The mother will be very protective and may attack if she thinks you are a threat to her offspring.
  5. Keep your dog on a leash around geese. Dogs may look like predators to the bird and trigger an attack.
  6. Do not run away from a goose. The bird may interpret this as a sign of weakness and give chase.
  7. Do not make loud noises or sudden movements near the geese. This can startle the bird and lead to an attack.
Here’s a video showing how you can avoid a goose attack:

Read More: When Do Geese Lay Eggs? Knowing their laying season can help you avoid unwanted interactions.

What to Do if a Goose Attacks You

If you are unfortunate enough to be attacked by a goose, there are specific steps you can take to minimize the damage.
  • First, try to keep your cool and remain calm. This will make it easier for you to assess the situation and help prevent you from panicking.
  • Second, try to identify the source of the attack. Was the goose provoked? Is it nesting? Once you have determined the cause of the episode, you can take steps to avoid further conflict.
  • Finally, if all else fails, remember that geese are wild animals and can be aggressive. If you are under attack, do your best to protect yourself and seek medical attention if necessary. With some knowledge and preparation, you can minimize the risk of being attacked by a goose.


goose over water
Don’t panic if a goose attacks you, but it’s important to know that they aren’t on a mission to attack humans. We must watch out for them as usually, we are in their habitat.

Has a Goose Killed Anyone?

There is no recorded instance of anyone being killed by a goose. While geese can be aggressive, particularly when defending their young, they lack the size and strength to cause serious harm to humans. Furthermore, their wings are relatively weak and designed for flying, not fighting. Consequently, while a goose attack may result in bruises or cuts, it’s unlikely to cause serious injury. In conclusion, it is safe to say that a goose has never killed anyone.

What Happens if a Goose Bites You?

If a goose feels threatened, it may attack by biting. A goose bite can be painful and may introduce bacteria into the wound. In some cases, these bacteria can lead to infection. For this reason, it is essential to seek medical attention if a goose bites you. The wound should be cleaned and dressed, and you may also need to take antibiotics to prevent infection. Read More: Where Do Geese Go in Winter? Learn why and where geese migrate during the winter seasons!

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, geese are aggressive mostly because they aren’t used to being around us humans. They are territorial and they tend to be aggressive to show dominance against predators. It’s important to be safe and don’t provoke geese when you’re around them. Keep all these tips in mind when around geese!

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