SWAN ATTACK! Well, not really, but close…
This time of year swans are rampant throughout the lakes, rivers and parks of Ireland. These magnificent birds are beautiful and fun to watch but not always friendly to encounter. Early this spring, Mr. Grump came to live in the little bog lake near our home. He, maybe she, as I don’t really know how to identify which is which on a swan? Looked so lovely swimming around the pond. From time to time we brought bread crumbs to feed him along with the other ducks, but we soon found out that Mr. Grump doesn’t love to share, which is how he acquired his title. He would follow us around the little lake, sometimes even coming on shore to hiss or fluff his feathers until we gave him some food. We learned quickly to keep our distance and keep moving.
One day Mr. Grump had a fish hook hanging from his beak. He greeted us with a healthy warning hiss before settling back into the lake and waiting none too patiently for a treat. I called the local veterinarian clinic to make sure someone was aware of the injury. They said a couple of fishermen and people from the Aviary had spent several unsuccessful hours trying to catch the bird to free him from the hook and they would continue to try. Thankfully, on our next walk we saw Mr. Grump without the contraption.
For about a month Mr. Swan has gone missing from the little lake and just today we noticed that a group of six young swans have taken his place. This afternoon on a family outing to another lake we saw a swan that looked strangely like Mr. Grump. Though I am not an expert on the subject, and most swans look the same in my opinion, I could swear that this has to be “our bird;” for, just like Mr. Grump, this lonely swan followed us around the lake, hissing and puffing up his wings at us. Wary of our fowl friend we kept our distance and did not get out our picnic until we were far away, however, the lovely looking, unfriendly bird, decided this just wasn’t good enough! Several times he raised his wings high and arched his neck charging straight toward us, my husband had to throw a couple rocks at the water to get him to turn away more than once, fearing that the swan would attack our toddlers.
You know, everyone in Ireland always has a story to tell, so sometimes I wonder what Mr. Grump’s story is? Some say swans mate for life…did his spouse pass away, get hunted by a poacher, or caught in a trap? I guess we’ll never know..