For his birthday, Gareth wanted to visit a new playground. Most of the parks in our area have the usual no-longer-migratory flocks of Canada geese and mallard ducks, but this park has a clique of cormorants and a flock of snowy white geese whose ancestors must only recently have made their escape from a nearby backyard coop. They're farm geese gone feral.
As long as Gareth and I were playing on the slides, the geese were content to keep us under surveillance from a distance of about forty feet. The instant they realized we were heading for our car without having fed them, they rushed us. I thought at first they'd back off when they saw we didn't have any food, but that only made them more aggressive. Gareth grabbed my leg and started making worried noises, so I scooped him up, and then I didn't have my arms free. Usually I can fend off over-curious geese by honking at them. Honking at these geese provoked unanimous goose body-language, and I realized I would have to model violence against animals in front of my toddler. Not my preference, dammit. Stupid geese.
The lead goose grabbed the hem of my sweater in its beak, and it flapped its wings in reverse so hard, it seemed like the damn thing was trying to drag me into the pond. I'm not sure what else it could have been trying to accomplish. The goose behind it started flapping and darting its beak at Gareth, so that was the goose I kicked first.
Not wanting to do serious damage, I just bumped it in the chest with my shin, hard enough to lift the bird off its webby feet. Bumped the other goose the same way, and it let go of my sweater. The flock paused a moment in what looked like surprise.
It was a very short pause. Fortunately, I'd already taken off up the hill toward my car when the geese charged after us. The strangest part of the whole encounter was that the flock stopped exactly at the boundary of the park. Gareth and I were only ten feet away from them while I fussed with my car keys, but the geese came no closer. There they stood, honking and flapping in the international, interspecies signal for Come back here this instant so we can bite you some more! Perhaps their farm-dwelling forebears had been cross-bred with terriers.
As I bundled Gareth into his car seat, he looked back over my shoulder, beamed, and shouted, "Again!"