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I have wanted to get this shot for years. When I shot the “How To Go Goosing” video, I didn’t think to take any high-quality stills of the “Silly Pet Trick”. I didn’t think much of the entire concept at the time. That’s probably good. I can claim ignorance and maintain a pinch of credibility. OK, a half pinch.
Just like the video, this was unrehearsed, meaning the first time you see a cracker in my mouth (this shot) is the first time I’ve trusted a goose with having good aim and a patient attitude. No way to tell if it’s one of the same geese all these years later but that would be highly unlikely since more than one type of goose has shared the leap of faith to come face-to-face. And just like the video, I was scared. I’ve been bitten by a goose. It wasn’t all that bad; mostly just a hard pinch with a firm punch. It didn’t hurt but it did surprise me that so much aggression could come from a freakin’ bird. Geese have no teeth (tho they do have a row of semi-humped humps on their beaks. (Well, what DO you call them?) and the three bites I’ve received have resulted in no real harm except the one that got impatient and was standing behind me. Nah, on the butt wouldn’t have hurt but this sucker wanted the cracker and saw a clear opportunity between my legs. I have learned to sit on the ground or on a bench. On the ground isn’t easy since geese tower over me when seated; they get a lot more confident. All that said, getting a poke in the nose be bad and result in either a bloody or broken nose. Getting hit in an eye might blind you so don’t try this to impress anyone with your guts! One goof and you will regret it for the rest of your life. You are forewarned.
The crackers are common Ritz Crackers and geese seem to love them. Unlike turkeys or chickens, these birds won’t peck at anything offered to them. Also, unlike turkeys or chickens (or gulls. More of that later.) a peck usually won’t hurt. Geese beaks are blunt. However, there are geese who will deliberately “miss” the cracker to hit your fingers instead, just the same as gulls. ID’ing the “twitchy ones” isn’t all that hard to do and it saves me some minor pain.
If you haven’t seen the video yet, search BigCatLenny in YouTube (Heck, straight into your browser should work as there are no other people with that screen name). You won’t be all that amazed but you should get a smile from my “Jackass”-like attitude. :-)
About the shot…
Camera was a Nikon D90 with a 55mm lens and the onboard flash. The flash was necessary as the backlight was too bright without it. The camera was triggered by a infra-red remote and there were at least 5 tries before I got the timing this close. The tripod was set about 5 feet away so the intensity of the flash was lowered considerably. It did annoy some of the geese until they got used to it. Also the tripod was set for a height lower than my face but it scares geese unless I already have it set up before they arrive. And the noise is horrendous. Between their excitement, nervousness, and protectiveness of each other, I have to block out what little I can still hear. Their honk is significantly worse than their bite. LOL!
Yes, I have gained a LOT of weight since the original video tho you may not be able to tell easily because I’m not buried in clothing this time. I have new bifocal glasses. I hadn’t shaved before the shoot. If you look carefully at this year’s video (not posted yet), you’ll see that I’m in a full leg brace on my left leg. I’m awaiting word from the specialists as to what sort of damage I did to my knee when I tripped and fell on it…on the carpet at home. In less than 60 days I got rescued off the side of a mountain by helicopter without a scratch and rip up my knee in the hallway of a house. Go figure.
In my ear is a Bluetooth transmitter/receiver for a cell phone rigged as a temporary hearing aid. My left ear has less than 50% ability but that’s significantly enhanced by this technological trick. It doesn’t work all that well unless you’re used to hearing sound delayed and overlapping. And it still doesn’t work worth spit in any sort of background noise. But that’s why you see it here: I’m not trying to be “cool”. LMAO!