Tha’s Some Evil Wee Beasties

Ah, swans.

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.

Perthshire 11

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.

5 Replies to “Tha’s Some Evil Wee Beasties”

  1. Wow, great train shot! I’m starting to think that most things that are cute/beautiful are really mean tempered, but that could just be my time on the farm speaking (think goats, think sheep).

  2. I have the funniest shot from the first time I visited Bruge. I wandered up all dreamy to these gorgeous swans to take a photo and they came hissing at me in full attack mode. So, I have a shot of the open throat of a white swan. Makes watching Lohengrin take on a new meaning!

  3. Bill tells a funny story from when he was at Mount Allison University. There is a swan pond complete with swans in the middle of the campus. One beautiful spring day while he was lounging around on the grass doing some studying for up coming exams, some punky teenagers came around and started to harass the swans. The swans tried the retreat route, but the idiots followed them and kept harassing. Then one swan decided that enough was enough and burst from the pond, grabbed the jerk by the pant leg and started to haul him into the pond! He would have managed except that the kid had a friend with him and they ended up playing tug-o-war with the kids getting away.
    I wonder if the swan would have taken him down to the bottom of the pond and jammed him under a log like alligators do……….

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