AUSTIN, Texas - Francis Ellis' Austin trip quickly ran afoul, to say the least.
"People talk about cats being the pawns of the devil. I think it’s geese," he said jokingly.
He captured footage of a goose, swimming with a partner goose, and attacking a swimmer Saturday afternoon at Barton Springs Pool.
"Everyone said go check out Barton Springs, it’s a beautiful local swimming pool, and it’s a fixture of this area, so I decided to go. The geese started attacking people left and right," said Ellis, who is also a comic.
A lifeguard later intervened to make sure the swimmers were safe. Ellis said the attacks didn't end there. During his time there, he saw several others being attacked by the geese.
"I asked the lifeguard at Barton Springs why don’t they take care of this problem, and he said because this is federally protected land, we are not allowed to do anything to the geese," said Ellis.
"They've kind of staked out this pool as their territory," said Alex Slivinske, a city lifeguard.
Slivinske has been a lifeguard for more than a decade and often works at Barton Springs.
"Technically once they show up here, pools, since they are a federal habitat, humans are only allowed to come in because we have an agreement with the federal government, as long as they are not harmed, we can swim here," said Slivinske.
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The lifeguard said these particular geese are new to the scene, and they certainly are making a splash.
"We've had a handful of rescues to prevent any submerging injuries from the scuffles," he said.
Slivinske said he notices the geese will follow and target some people.
"Because of certain movements swimmers make, being too passive or not aggressive enough, the geese will target them," he said.
He wants to remind all visitors the area is a natural habitat for wild animals, and people should expect things like this to happen from time to time.
"That insult, ‘You silly goose.’ I don’t think we should use that anymore. We should retire that. These geese were not silly at all. They have a mission, and they were evil," said Ellis.
Austin Parks and Recreation sent FOX 7 a statement about the situation:
"Austin Parks and Recreation Aquatic Division staff has contacted Texas Wildlife Services requesting advice regarding the geese. They recommended making loud noises in an attempt to chase the geese out of the pool area."