A CYCLIST was knocked off his bike when he was attacked by Canada geese on his way to work.

John Needham, of Shorrock Lane, Blackburn, was cycling along the tow path of the Leeds-Liverpool canal at Eanam Wharf when the birds flew at him.

The father-of-two said that once he had fallen to the floor, two of the geese started to peck at him.

Mr Needham, who works at wallpaper manufacturing company Graham and Brown, said: “I was on my mountain bike when one of the geese flew straight at me.

“I managed to toss it to the side, then another two came at me and knocked me off my bike.

“The handlebar went right through my hip and that is when they pounced on me.

“They pecked at my finger, my elbow and my knees.

“My injuries are painful. My hip is sore. It is badly bruised and there is a big bump there.”

The 49-year-old made it into work but then had to go to hospital because of the pain, where he received a tetanus injection and antibiotics.

Mr Needham said the geese had around 15 goslings with them and might have been trying to protect them.

He said: “It was quite a traumatic experience and I cannot believe how quickly it all happened.

“When I got the last one off me, it still tried to get back at me and I had to shove it off me.”

Stephen Leigh, North West ecologist for the Canal and River Trust, said the most likely explanation was that the birds were trying to defend their young.

He said: “This spring was a bit late and we have found that we have got a lot of goslings around when normally they would be a lot more developed by now."