It's not often that you can go to a park and get chased by wild animals. Unlike the zoo, where most of the exhibits are safely behind thick glass or wire fences, in this park you can experience the thrill of running for your life from a bunch of frenzied creatures who will stop at nothing to reach you.
The pond in the south-west corner of Caulfield Park (corner of Balaclava and Hawthorn Roads) is home to a large gander of geese with a big appetite and an even bigger attitude. There is a sign hidden on one side of the lake advising visitors not to feed the birds, but most people either don't see it or ignore it. Actually, you don't even need food - you just need to bring something that sounds like it could be food, like a rustling plastic bag that might be mistaken for a delicious wrapped loaf of bread.
These geese are clearly well fed and some of them are as big as a small child. Your kids will love interacting with the geese, but most children also get quite scared when the geese decide to storm forward en-masse like the charge of the light brigade. So make sure there is parental supervision and protection to shield them when needed. The geese are extremely noisy too, squawking to intimidate you to drop that bag of bread crumbs so that they can feast all the more quickly.
Mother and daughter cornered by the gander with nowhere left to run
Apart from the geese, the lake is also home to dozens of ducks and pigeons. I particularly like the laugh-like ha-ha call of the larger white ducks, who sound like they tell each other corny jokes all day and never get tired of them. If you look closely, there are also some tortoises who occasionally poke their noses up out of the water.
I only know one other park in my area which has a gander of geese at D.Laver Reserve in Darling, but the geese there are much fewer in number and far less aggressive. Do you know of other ganders in Melbourne?
Pedantic but correct. I've been misusing "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" for years. Your comment made me curious about the collective noun for flying geese and it's "skein". Geese mustn't fly very often in a group, because I've never heard of that collective noun!