A hunter in Maryland was left with hefty medical bills, a possible concussion, and two missing teeth after a dead Canada goose plummeted from the sky and knocked him unconscious.
Robert Meilhammer was shooting with three friends near the town of Easton on February 1 when one of the buddies fired blindly into a passing flock and struck a goose about 27 meters (90 feet) high.
After he came to, Meilhammer knew his name and "little else", according to a National Resources police officer. He was subsequently transported to a local hospital and then airlifted to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. He was last reported to be in stable condition and undergoing further tests on February 2.
The ironic news serves as a pertinent reminder that we should never underestimate geese.
Weighing in at 3.5 to 5 kilograms (7.9 to 11 pounds), Canada geese are not exactly monstrously proportioned. What they lack in size, however, they make up for in tenacious attitude.
Usually instigated by males who are trying to defend their nests, a handful of Canada goose attacks are officially reported each year. Assaults typically begin with the goose chasing down an offending human before beating them with their 1.85-meter (6-foot) wingspan, adding in a few bruise-inducing bites for good measure.
In 2017, a security camera captured footage of such an incident to an Indiana police officer, who was attacked without any provocation. Back in 2014, a woman in Ottawa suffered severe facial injuries after a goose knocked her off her bike when she attempted to ride around a gaggle that was crossing the path.
Wildlife attempting to defend itself against humans is hardly a new phenomenon. Just last week, a pride of lions decapitated a would-be poacher in South Africa. In May 2017, a dying African elephant crushed a big game hunter to death as the two were entangled in a battle for survival. Moose, deer, and elk are also known to turn the tables on hunters from time to time. But most people know not to mess with these majestic animals thanks to their size and formidable tusks, claws, or antlers. Beady-eyed geese do not normally command such respect.
Thankfully, those who have experienced run-ins with geese are now sharing their newfound wariness with others via the Internet and social media.
Several people have gone so far as to make an illustrated wikiHow guide on how to stop a goose attack. Be sure to read up: Nesting season begins next month.