Swan attack!

Swans may be lovely and graceful creatures, but they’re also territorial, as you can see clearly from this hapless swimmer attacked by two of them. According to the YouTube video, this took place in Russia. If they’re speaking Russian and you understand it, we’d welcome a translation.


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 15, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Gimme an ugly duckling any old day.

  2. Posted March 15, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Let me guess…

    SOO-ka and b`lyad are in there.

  3. Alex B
    Posted March 15, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    “Oh my they will peck him”

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 15, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I believe this is the administrations idea of white supremacy in the world.

    On a more serious note just minutes ago the president was asked about white nationalist, this is after the massacre that happened in NZ. He said no, it was a small group of people. His people love this kind of answer. He just vetoed the congress and proceeds with his southern wall agenda to save us from all the darker terrorist crossing the boarder. The idiots march on distracted by nothing.

  5. revelator60
    Posted March 15, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    This reminds of W.C. Fields’s epic struggles with a rogue swan. The text is from “W. C. Fields, his follies and fortunes,” by Robert Lewis Taylor.

    It was not uncommon for Fields to be bullied by animals other than dogs. His trouble with a swan, later on in Hollywood, was notorious. He had rented a large establishment on Toluca Lake, a body of water inhabited by a peevish, noisy, outsized white swan, which took an instant dislike to Fields.

    …For several days after he moved in, the swan would catch him near the shore and chase him back to his house. Then Fields got a cane with a curved handle and took to hiding in the reeds near the water. He would produce noises that he fancied were recognizable as authentic swan talk, and, when the bird came in to investigate, he would rush out and try to get the cane around its neck.

    “Mr. Fields was sure enough scared of that swan,” one of his former servants says. “Almost every time they met, he wound up runnin’.”

    After three or four futile brushes with the cane, he decided on heavier ordnance, and he switched to a golf club, selecting a number-four iron. The bird showed considerable respect for the iron, and Fields went on the offensive. He bought a canoe and chased the swan all over the lake every day. But no matter how hard he paddled, the bird managed to stay out in front. It was hot work, and Fields, on one occasion, lay back to rest and get his strength up. He dozed off, and the swan circled around, like
    Nelson at Trafalgar, and fell on him from the rear.

    The comedian returned home in a homicidal humor. He stormed around the house trying to enlist sympathy for his cause. “The goddamned bird broke all the rules of civilized warfare,”
    he kept saying. He got a revolver and loaded it up, but one of his household talked him into sticking to the golf club.


    Fields might have brought this trouble on himself, since he used the lake as a golf driving range from his backyard and would aim at the swans. The swans responded by waddling onto shore to attack him.

    After chasing one off his property, Fields was heard to shout “Either sh*t green or get off the lawn!”

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 16, 2019 at 4:40 am | Permalink

      I can picture Fields waddling & huffing after a swan. This rings a bell somewhere & I wonder if fields used a swan in a film to recreate this.

  6. Roger
    Posted March 15, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Yikes those birds are huge!

  7. Posted March 15, 2019 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    My sisters and I were threatened by a swan when we were rowing a small boat in an English river. It wanted the rest of our sack lunch. It was amazingly aggressive and fearless. I think we sacrificed some scrap of food to the swan and got the hell out of there.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 16, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      For several years there was a running gag on “The News Quiz”, I think from Andy Hamilton’s Demesne of Damnation, about “a swan can break your leg with it’s wing. While I’m somewhat dubious about that claim, I wouldn’t want to get onto the receiving end of an angry swan. They are, after all, theropod dinosaurs.
      Distract and scarper would be my response too.

      • Posted March 16, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        Yes, I’ve heard the bit about swans being able to break a leg with their wings. I really don’t see how that is possible. For one thing, a swan is not going to risk injuring a wing, IMHO. Birds like these attack with their beaks. But I doubt they could break a leg with their beaks either. They might poke an eye out though.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted March 20, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

          from Andy Hamilton, I’d take advice on how to pen a bon mot, but not necessarily on avian threat assessment.

      • Posted March 16, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        It looks like the BBC has answered the “Can a swan break a leg?” question and, as we expected, it is negative.


  8. Stephen Barnard
    Posted March 15, 2019 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Because ultimately everything is about Trump. Even swans.


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 15, 2019 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      It was a black swan, worth $1000? (And property of Donald Trump).

      We’ve got plenty of black swans, including in Christchurch. Not sure how that relates to anything…


      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 15, 2019 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Supplementary question: Could a black swan and a white swan mate? Would they? And is the result black, white, brown, grey or patchy?


      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted March 15, 2019 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        The value was inflated as part of a complex, ongoing pattern of insurance fraud.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted March 15, 2019 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

        The black swans in Christchurch and in the rest of New Zealand (Cygnus atratus) are imports from Australia. New Zealand had an endemic black swan, which soon became extinct after we showed up. As for whether one could mate with a white swan, if it worked for Leda …

  9. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 15, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I would be tempted to throw duck snowballs at them. 🙂


  10. Rasmo Carenna
    Posted March 16, 2019 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Yes, swans look so majestic and graceful you would like to think they are gentle creatures but I learnt to fear then many years ago. I was innocently feeding bread to a bunch of well behaved ducks in on of the London parks (cant’t remember which one now) when a hungry swan came charging at us like a German panzer and almost rode over me. It violently took all my provisions and left me shaking in disbelief and slightly hurt (maybe it was only my pride, my wife was looking). Savages! They are savages!

  11. David Harper
    Posted March 16, 2019 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Some years ago, rowers on the River Cam in Cambridge were terrorised by a swan whom the media quickly nicknamed Mr Asbo, a reference to the recently-introduced Anti-Social Behaviour Order, a type of legal injunction that could be used to exclude violent individuals from specific locations.

    Mr Asbo was relocated to a different part of the river, but found his way back, and then had to be relocated sixty miles away.

    One of his offspring carried on the family tradition of aggressive behaviour towards rowers, and was nicknamed Asboy.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 16, 2019 at 4:51 am | Permalink

      Asboy has a son on the Cam named Asbaby – around 3 years old now & just as aggressive. The river conservators say the problem is due to people feeding the swans so they have no caution around people – out of mating season the swans ‘attack’ peoples food & drinks.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 16, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Jerry was asking about what ASBO meant some time last week. I can’t remember if he got a reply then, but he just got answered now.

  12. Posted March 16, 2019 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    I once got attacked by a swan while dozing peacefully in the sun on a park bench next to a pond. I blame the parents, personally.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 16, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Your parents, the swan’s, or the people who dug the pond?

  13. Monika
    Posted March 16, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Yeah, don’t mess with swans. At the Alster lake in Hamburg, there are quite a few swans.

    Fun facts: In Hamburg we have an old law in the books, it’s forbidden to injure, to harass and to insult swans! Each year in late autumn all swans are rounded up and brought to a safe place for the winter. They are fed, get medical attention if needed, and the lake is kept ice-free. All this is paid for by the city. We have the ‘Amt für Schwanenwesen’ The Office for Swan Affairs. They are responsible not only for the swans but for other wild birds in the city as well. I had to call them once, a duck had decided that our company’s rooftop terrace was the perfect place to nest. They came and picked up mommy-duck and the eggs and brought them to a safe place.

  14. Posted March 16, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Swans are disturbed by the myth and ballet “Swan Lake,” in which it is not clear which persona prevails, the dark or light.

    This ambiguity by great artists is felt by actual swans, and they are easily triggered.

  15. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 16, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    and they are easily triggered.

    But as the tale of Asbo, Asboy and Asbaby indicates, not so easily let off.

  16. John Crisp
    Posted March 16, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I used to do triathlon until I snapped my Achilles tendon. There is an annual triathlon event in Windsor, UK (the final run is around the castle). The first stage of the triathlon, a 1.5 km swim, takes place in the River Thames. On two occasions I have been attacked by swans doing this event. And of course, you cannot retaliate, certainly not in that place, since all British swans are held to be the property of the monarch. I went to university at Queens’ College, Cambridge (the apostrophe is correctly placed, since it was named for two queens). At the College’s “May Ball”, roast swan is served, by special dispensation of the current Queen. A few years ago, during one of Britain’s frequent panics about immigration, the Daily Mail (inevitably) published articles about how Central European immigrants were killing and eating the Queen’s swans…

    • Nobody Special
      Posted March 16, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      The Crown has ownership of mute swans only.
      A fascinating history of the Crown and swans: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/fascinating-history-british-thrones-swans-180964249/

    • Posted March 16, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      This trope, with ducks instead of swans (sorry Prof. Coyne!), was used by Bulgarian writer Alek Popov in his novel (and then movie) “Mission London”:

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 16, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      “On two occasions I have been attacked by swans doing this event.”

      Why did the organisers let them enter? They should have been disqualified that!

      (Sorry, couldn’t resist. I’ll get my coat…)

  17. Dominic
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I have seen this clip before – if not here, on twitter…

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