We have the fairytale — the birds of great strength, elegance, grace, and beauty, with twenty-three neck vertebrae arching into that classic curve. We have the ballet. The mythology. And then, we have The Truth:
Their wings can break a grown man’s arm, they hiss, chase, and bite, crushing fingers, and drawing blood. Beautiful as they are, these things are a nasty piece of work.
We discussed it, and concluded: we’d both rather take on a goose, and D. has had experience with a goose attack. But here, since all swans belong to the Crown, we couldn’t even really kick one if we had to — the rowers at Cambridge who were assaulted last summer by “Mr. Asbo” and are continuing to be pecked, smacked, and bloodied have no recourse but to paddle really fast, and beg the queen for help. Which is just — wow. Quite something. (Who knew the Brits could be such good, obedient subjects? Guess no one wants to risk the public flogging handed down as sentence for anyone who messes with HRH’s birds.)
This is a Mama Pen, Papa Cob, and all ten of their cygnets. It’s hard to believe, but this photo was shot from a train, as we went over a small bridge on the River Tay. And just look at them — all fuzzy and dark, not a one of them a misplaced duckling… from this distance, don’t they look cute?
But YOU know better.
Here are some swan facts for those of a turn of mind to know their enemies. ::cough:: Um, we mean, find out more about the stories, history, and lore of this gorgeous bird. Yeah, that’s what we meant.