Sherwood Park video shows Canada geese can fly off the handle

They say no good deed goes unpunished. That's the lesson a man in Sherwood Park likely learned this week when he unwittingly entered into a game of duck, duck,goose with a real pro — an actual goose.

Man attacked in Sherwood Park while trying to help goslings cross the street

Man falls on the road in Sherwood Park during confrontation with goose. (Salena Messal)

They say no good deed goes unpunished.

That's the lesson a man in Sherwood Park likely learned this week when he unwittingly entered into a game of duck, duck, goose with a real pro — an actual goose.

On Tuesday afternoon, Salena Messal and her husband, Ian, were on their way to get groceries in Sherwood Park when they came across a traffic snarl on Broadmoor Blvd.

A man was attacked by a Canada goose in Sherwood Park while trying to help goslings cross the road. 0:31

"The traffic was kind of backed up, for some reason, but we didn't really know why," said Messal.

Turns out a family of geese was responsible.

"I can't remember how many geese there were, but I know there was a mama and dada," said Messal. "They were trying to get across the street." 

The goslings were struggling to get up the curb. So a man in another vehicle got out to help.

One goose got into a flap with the helpful human. (Salena Messal)
CBC News hasn't identified or spoken to the man but Messal captured what happened next on video.

"They were just trying to get to the other side and this man was helping them get across," she said.

The situation flew south from there, when one of the geese got in a flap because the man was too close.

"I just started recording because I was like, 'You don't see that every day,' " said Messal. "I'm not sure which, mom or dad, but they were not happy."

The gosling finally mounted the curb after a little encouragement from a parent. (Salena Messal)

The attack was swift and the man was unprepared.

"The goose was trying to peck at him, I guess. And then he (the man) fell down a couple of times."

Messal said she felt sorry for him but also saw the humour in the situation.

"I was just, 'Oh, you poor guy.' But it was pretty funny to watch."

Messal doesn't believe the man was injured. But she said she had no idea that geese could behave like that. The experience has left her wary.

"I don't think I would ever approach them."

That's wise, according to provincial game bird specialist Jason Caswell.

"To be honest if it was me, I would stop my car and just let them by," he told CBC News on Friday.

Caswell knows all too well what geese are capable of. 

"I've been beaten around a fair bit while on my hands and knees trying to separate goslings from adults," he said. "A big male will usually start beating on you and I've had glasses broken, I've been cut, I've been knocked on my back as well."

Caswell explains the birds have bone spurs on their wings that can inflict damage. 

"Like being hit by a little ball peen hammer," he said.

And they fight dirty if they have to.

"Not only will they hit you with their wings, they'll bite and scratch," said Caswell. 

"They don't have a good grip but what they'll do is they'll grab you with their bill, which is a sharp enough little pinch, and then they'll twist. That's sort of their deal, twist and shake."

Fortunately the really aggressive behaviour is temporary.

"Except for that about 30 days when they're caring for their goslings, they're not going to attack people," said Caswell. "They're just defending their little kids."

Salena and Ian Messal caught the dramatic goose attack on video. (Salena Messal)