Swan attack!

Let’s see if I can post this before Emma does :-)

As noted elsewhere, during the nesting season some of the swans on the river, and one in particular, can become aggressive. The one at the end of the reach seems partciularly provoked by our white blades. So when we were coming back today we were pleased to see it a fair way off over the river, and while it glared at us we seemed safe, several lengths clear.

But no! As we rowed on, we were treated to the sight of the mighty swan nearly taking off in that way they have, with a flapping of wings and a paddling of feet along the surface, followed by it gliding in for a peck at James who was coxing. Jolly exciting for stern four; I was in the bows and so quite safe and could enjoy the spectacle. Alas I didn’t have a camera, but it is almost worth lying in wait at the end of the reach to film a repeat.

[Update: it gets better: from an email:

> The swan on Plough Reach has become very dangerous. This evening just 
> before 8:00 it flew around Ditton Corner to attack me in my single, causing 
> me to capsize. The swan could not see me when it took off and I was moving 
> away from Ditton, and it landed on my rigger and attacked me with its beak. 
> I was in the middle of the river, away from any banks or reeds so I could 
> not have been threatening any nest...

And makes the CEN: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/cn_news_home/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=406136]


  1. #1 Emma

    As I turned and saw it getting ready for take off, I knew we were doomed. At this point, being bow instead of 6 would have been a good place to be, much swearing was coming from cox back to at least 6, not sure stern 4 have ever up the pressure and rating quite so quickly!

  2. #2 Alan Woods

    Ther’s an ad for car insurance currently on Australian TV where a bunch of marauding black swans cause traffic chaos:

    One of the victims phones the ever-so-helpful call centre to report the incident and together they decide that the obvious cause of the malevolent swans is “Global warming. EXACTLY!”

  3. #3 Harold Brooks

    Thanks for bringing back such wonderful memories-coxing with a large angry bird attacking and being told that I was not legally allowed to kill the creature.

    [They appear to be hard to kill. We’ve thwacked a good few with blades and they bounce off -W]

  4. #4 Big John

    Kill it Harold?

    Aren’t you forgetting that the creature lives on the river.

    You merely play on it

  5. #5 Nosmo

    In Austin TX years ago the story was that one of the swans attacked and capsized a sculler. The swan continued the attack until the sculler managed to break its neck. I heard Perl Baily on the radio say that even alligators don’t go after grown swans. Don’t know for sure if any of the above is true, but everyone did stay far away from the swans nesting sites.

    I now row on the oldest bird sanctuary in the US and even smaller birds (ducks, coots, sea gulls) all seem to survive a good whack with an oar.

  6. #6 Tenney

    I seem to be some sort of natural swan attractor — they have gone for me in Arizona, Holland, and Colorado, for no apparent reason. I plan to stay far away from them in future!

  7. #7 polyester mather

    They’re nothing but velociraptors in down vests.
    Best keep a golf club handy, and stoke the barby high .

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