Friday, December 08, 2006

On the psyche of geese

It was 59 degrees today, so I did 6.5 miles in shorts and a t-shirt. The Canadian geese seemed to have all decided to congregate around the trail today, so as I was running they would take off all at once and move a safe distance away. All the geese seemed to be on the north side of the trail, with the path cutting between them and the creek. As I was running back, however, the geese had made their way back to the trail, but were now on the south side. As I was running towards them I hypothesized that the geese would not fly away due to the fact that this time they had a clear escape route available to them. As I ran past the geese waddled off, but did not take flight. I was just patting myself on the back for having made such astute observations of goose behavior, when I came upon another small gaggle of geese on the north side of the path. These geese did not fly away either. I realized that I had forgotten the first rule of scientific observation: in observing any event, you fundamentally change its outcome in some way. In this case my hypothesis was proven wrong by a "control gaggle" of geese. Evidently the behavior of the geese did not have anything to do with which side of the path they were on, just the fact that they had seen me run by before and decided that I did not represent a threat.


Some may in fact question why all of these thoughts would be going through my mind at a time like that, in which case this post may be more appropriately titled "On the psyche of Geoff."

4 comments:

lisa said...

My brain just hurts reading about it let alone think about it. Lol. You are way too deep Geoff. Use those brains of your to make me something yummy. Kidding, sorta. :p

Dad said...

Just a question Geoff. How do you know the second gaggle of geese you saw on your return run hadn't seen you the first time also?

Cate said...

ooooh! i was thinking what "dad" was. even if it was that same gaggle, i doubt mean ol' dumb geese could learn that quickly.

Dad said...

Ooops. I see the problem. I meant to ask how do you know the second gaggle of geese had seen you the first time you passed. You can see I'm just a neophyte at this blogging thing.