I’ve always enjoyed working on a university campus. There are many advantages. And with summer coming comes a campus that is lighter on students, thus even more enjoyable.
However, here at the University of Waterloo, the coming of spring/summer also heralds another significant change on campus — the return of the Canada Geese, in all their poopy glory. Sure, sure, they are attractive enough birds, but what they do to campus sidewalks and lawns is decidedly unattractive.
And, as a friend and I discovered earlier this week, they are down right vicious at times. My co-worker and friend Sarah and I go for a morning coffee every day. We walk over to the Timmy’s at the Student Life Centre (which, incidentally, is the second highest grossing Tim Horton’s in Canada [the 1st being somewhere in Toronto]. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Proud? Disgusted that I contribute to the fat-cat ways of a major corporation?). On our journey back to our building, in a courtyard leading to our door, we encountered a goose. A goose that hissed at us. And waddled toward us. We diverted our path (Sarah more quickly than I) and continued on our way to the door (Sarah more quickly than I). I turned around to look again at the goose, while Sarah admonished, “Pick up the pace McGrath”; and we both watched as the goose took flight and headed straight for us. At this point we both picked up the pace and ran for the door. We arrived there and because we were both pressed to the door and therefore unable to open it, Sarah nudged me aside to get the door open and we were able to get safely inside (in the retelling of this story to our co-workers I have taken great joy in embellishing this detail to explain that Sarah PUSHED aside the pregnant lady in order to get herself to safety in a George Costanza-like maneuver).
After we started telling our very dramatic story of escape from near maiming at the beak of a goose, we found that a number of other people have had their own encounters — and not all have been as lucky as we were. The first co-worker we crossed paths with was struck in the head by a wing. My sister saw another man beat repeatedly in the head. One of the dearest women that Sarah and I work for was also attacked and took a wing AND a beak to the head. We were lucky to have gotten away with some minor pushing and shoving (I’m still looking for bruises, you know, anything to add to the story). Seems there is a nest in that courtyard and our ‘friend’ is just protecting his own.
Shortly after our experience plant ops put up barriers — two saw horses with signs that read “Caution: Nesting geese may attack”. And not signs made from poster board and magic marker. Professionally printed signs. Evidentially, this has been a problem before.