WTF Weds: The Geese in the Back Bay Fens, Boston

Posted on
Jan 30, 2015

I know this is a WTF Wedsnesday post, and today is Friday. What can I say, folks? Laziness is a hell of a drug.


Stand-off with the geese.


I feel like most normal people are irrationally scared of at least one harmless animal.

I speak not of rational fears, mind you. I think it’s totally reasonable to fear certain animals, like baboons or moths, both of which are fucking terrifying. My fear of them makes total sense; they are obviously trying to kill me and suck out my delicious eyeball juices.

There are thousands of cases each year of people being killed by baboons or moths, or some hybrid of the two that the military accidentally created in a lab. If you can’t find evidence of this online, it’s because it’s part of a huge government cover-up.

But I also am a little afraid of possums, and that’s just ridiculous … and part of the human condition. I knew a guy who hated ferrets because he said they were like snakes with fur, and a woman who was so freaked out by a geriatric chihuahua that she refused to enter the room it was in.

For a long time, I thought that my husband’s disdain for geese fell into this latter category. I figured it was an irrational little quirk that made him human, and consequently more lovable. I soon learned, though, it was nothing of the sort.

Because the geese are out to get Rand. I understand that now.

Here they are, blocking our escape route.


All of this came to light last time we were in Boston, a city which I can only assume is weighing on my mind because my beloved Seahawks are playing the Patriots this weekend in the Super Bowl. I realize my last post might have seemed like a love-letter to all things Boston, and that is not entirely the case.

There is evil lurking in the city.

Last time we were there, I toured Fenway Park, and the nearby Back Bay Fens from which the stadium gets its name. A fen, a word previously unknown to me, is a marsh, or any area that is swampy and covered with water.


I wandered around the fens on my own one day, and found it oddly creepy. The grasses of the fens were at least 15 feet tall. I started to venture into them before I realized that I could easily get lost, and quickly backed out. There were geese everywhere, silently staring at me as walked passed.

The grasses of the fens, as seen from my vantage point.



Like most things that are weird as hell, I knew I had to share it with the love of my life.

The next day, I took him there. I should have perhaps thought more about that decision.

Rand and geese have a long and ugly history that can be traced back to his childhood, to the day when he acquired scars, both visible and emotional. I won’t go into the dark story any more than that. All you need to know is that the geese were total dicks to him.

Rand, of course, was less than convinced when I told him it would be fine.

“So I just want to warn you, before we go, that there are geese.”

“What do you mean, ‘there are geese’?”

“I mean that there are geese all over the Back Bay Fens.”

“So then we’re not going there.”

“It will be fine.”

“I hate geese.”

“I know. I will be there. They won’t bug you.”

“You won’t be able to stop them.”


Miraculously, I managed to get him to the Back Bay Fens, and like me, he marveled at the tall grasses and the peculiarity of it all.

This photo cracks me up, because you can see how little Rand wants to be there.


And we were having a really nice time. Until the geese showed up.

Now, keep in mind, I’d been there the day before. And I’d seen a few geese, and they just peacefully wandered by. But now I was there with Rand.

For a second it seemed like everything would be okay … and then they charged him.

I swear I could hear that one stand-off song from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.


Maybe the geese mistook him for someone else. Maybe they were drunk. Or maybe his photo is passed around in sketchy geese bars, where they talk about people they want to mess with.

I don’t really know. But the point is this: when the geese saw Rand, they started freaking out. Like, really freaking out. They lowered their heads and started rushing toward him, making these strange honking noises. I have never in my life seen an animal act like that, ever.

“I want to leave,” Rand said, as a circle of geese began closing in on him.

“They’re acting really weird.”

“They are acting like geese. This is how geese act. They are terrifying.”

“Actually I think this behavior is normal …”

“I want to leave.”

“… when they’re about to feed on human flesh.”

“I’m leaving.”

I managed to take a video before we fled with our lives barely intact. It does not do the scene justice. They calmed down when they saw I was filming them (like the frog in the Warner Brothers cartoons that would always dance and sing in front of exactly ONE person, and then would stop the second anyone else was around). Still, it might provide a small idea of what we saw that day. Just multiply it by a thousand.

The point is, I now get it, Rand. I do. If I haven’t been there to see it, I never would have believed it. The geese are trying to kill you. There’s nothing more to it than that.

Leave a Comment

  • Jen

    Ooh, I wonder if Rand’s childhood experience with geese was like mine. (Although, maybe not, since I’m not still scared of them, and they don’t seem to be out for my life.) Basically, when I was about 7 or 8, I was feeding some geese leftover bread, and they wouldn’t take no for an answer once I ran out. They started coming for me, so I turned around and ran, right over an overgrown fire pit. I hit my arm on a rock and broke it. That’s my goose story.

  • Joanna

    Hey there,

    I’ve lived in Boston for the last 15 years and the Fens is pretty well known around these parts for being a haven for weird sexual stuff at night. Like men meeting up with other men to do stuff in those exact tall plants. I went to college in Boston and there are many stories of guys stopping to pee there and people walking up behind them.

    Long story short, I’m not surprised you got a creepy vibe. But it’s nice during the day! Also, I’m a huge fan of your blog! Been reading for quite some time!

  • Dr. Pete

    Geese will cut you.

    In college, my friend and I decided to go play mini-golf. After we paid and picked up our clubs and notepads and tiny #2 pencils, we saw a sign that said “Beware the 13th hole. The goose is pregnant and the gander is biting.”

    We thought this was either a weird joke we just didn’t understand (who knows what lurks in the minds of mini-putt owners?) or some kind of secret code meant for an undisclosed recipient – “The cat quacks at midnight.” Not knowing the proper response, we moved on, certain that this mysterious message had no relevance to us personally.

    Then came the 13 hole. I don’t remember much about it – was it a cantankerous windmill or some kind of mocking clown head? We never got that close. As we neared within 10′ of the tee, a whirlwind of wings and feathers descended on us. The gander wasn’t just biting. The gander was fury incarnate. We never played through that course, and we never returned those #2 pencils.

  • Geese are evil! My Pop has them on the farm and we were ALWAYS warned not to go near them by my Uncles, Dad and Aunt because they would chase you down. I never saw it happen, but hearing the stories that they told about these geese made me want to take away from them.

    Not to mention the chickens when I was told the Rooster story :/

    Sophie xxx

  • Jerusha

    Oh I’ve been charged by a goose before. They put their heads down and charge you and I’ve been told they can break your leg. The trick is to charge them back. I’m not kidding. You lower your head and stomp your feet as you run at them. Then they stop. They are nasty nasty creatures.

    • I’m totally going to try that! Those birds are mean buggers.

  • Geese are truly evil, but for me, it’s ibis birds. Those white birds with the black heads and long curved beaks… since I was about 3, I’ve been sure that they are the spawn of Thoth and Satan, and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

    …my wife thinks it’s hilarious, though, so I do sympathise, Rand.

  • Sha

    Uh oh.

    I knew this was not going to end well as soon as I saw those geese. Take another look guys, damned Blackhat geese!

    Stay safe you two.


  • ZZ Top

    Really not a good idea to be hanging out in the tall grass-it’s full of addicts during the day, and cruisers and muggers (and NU freshman smoking weed) at night. It’s a little calmer at this time of year, since it’s so damn cold, but a good tip if you ever go back.

    Also, those geese are the worst. I live right by the fens, and they have an unpleasant habit of making a mess all over the path.

  • Kate L.

    As with your Fenway Park post, this one also can be loosely connected to the Super Bowl this weekend – the Sunday Night Football crew had several games that were Sunday Night Football on Thursday night, or Saturday. So a WTF Wednesday post on a Friday fits right in .

  • My grandmother used to have a goose and it scared the shyte out of me every time I’d visit. Her name was Pap. The day we ate her was a glorious day.

  • Stelian Mezin

    I had geese on the farm for many years. Geese are not evil, and will not kill you, they just do not trust humans (can you blame them?) . Yes, they can be very aggressive if you get too close to the nest, especially when they have young geese.
    Those geese probably had a nest in the weed, that’s why they attacked. Not because they are evil, but to protect the young, and was not intended to kill you, but drive out away from the nest.
    Charging back will help in most of the cases, be careful if you get very close to the nest.

  • Janet T

    Yep geese are evil incarnate- and so are wild turkeys- what is it about oversized birds with tiny brains?

  • Kristina Cline

    There is this park near us that we don’t visit, because the geese own it. They forage and then walk back to the stream hissing and seething at everyone and everything with their heads raised and swaying like cobras. We grabbed the children and cursed the birds.

  • There are geese at my work complex in Redmond. They his and it is terrifying. I had not been afraid of geese before that happened to me last year.

  • I love that shot in the middle of the tall grass. It is as if you are in the middle of nowhere.

  • I too, have childhood horror stories from Geese. I was slapped in the face by one as a child as I lovingly reached out to pet it. Turns out geese do not want to be petted. Then again as an adult, working for IBM in Charlotte. They used to nest right outside the doors. Everyone had to carry an umbrella just to get into the building without being bitten or hissed to death. Vile animals. Glad you are ok!

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