I Was a Victim of Bird Strike

But seriously, what the fuck, goose?

Yesterday morning, I was hit by a goose. A mile and a half in to a seven mile run, a goose flew directly into me. Physically, I’m mostly fine, if a bit sore. I don’t appear to have any beak bruises, at least. But mentally? Man, I don’t know!

The banks of the river Charles where I do much of my running are infested with Canada geese, munching on grass and honking the day away. They’re generally just benign poop factories, though they might be a bit too tame:

A goose directly below the photographer
So I’m just sitting on a bench and eventually I gotta say “Ay, goose, ever heard of the concept of personal space?”.
[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

And when they have goslings, they’ll hiss up a storm at you:

A goose directly below the photographer
[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

That’s usually as far as it goes though. So when I spotted two of these pests flying low at my 2 o’clock, I didn’t think much of it. As I kept running, it seemed they were going to be landing pretty close to me, but that’s fine. At the last moment, however, I realized one of these hefty bastards was going to collide with me. In a split second, I turned my body away, it slammed me square in the back, and I yelled out “Jesus!”. The goose, I would like it noted for the record, never made a single sound.

After I got hit, I slowed down and looked around, but there was absolutely no one in sight. Nary a soul had witnessed this honest-to-goodness bird strike (not engine suck). I swiveled my head to look back at the winged pair, who were now standing around, goosing it up like nothing had happened. In disbelief, I yelled out “What the FUCK?!”.

I had broken stride when the collision occurred, but thinking it wise to get some distance from my assailant, I hadn’t stopped completely. As I continued on, I again scanned the area for people. I wanted someone to reassure me that they had seen what happened, and that they would commiserate as a fellow human against these out-of-control waterfowl. Alas, I again came up empty. I picked my pace back up and sped away from the site of my bird-based embarrassment.

Frankly, I should’ve turned around and gone home. I don’t think anyone could have blamed me for just giving up at that point, on the run, and even on the whole day. But instead, I ran another five and a half miles wondering what the fresh hell had just happened to me.

It was suggested to me that the goose himself might be having similar confusion. But no! He had a friend there. At the very least, they can talk it over together. “Pete, why was that guy on our landing strip?” “Oh, Gary, I don’t know, he came out of nowhere!”. Or maybe it was intentional, and they’re actually out there laughing at me. “I really whacked that non-flying schmuck! Running – pfft. Get some wings!”.

I’ll never know the truth of the situation. I sure do wish I could see a replay, but there’s no video, no witnesses, no evidence at all. In an effort to restore my own sense of self, I’m chalking the whole thing up to pure avian incompetence, coupled with the law of averages. I’ve decided to simply accept that running thousands of miles along the river meant that sooner or later, I was bound to get nailed by a clumsy goose.