Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Beware the Killer Swans

An angry swan is being blamed for knocking a man out of his kayak in a Chicago pond and then continuing to attack until the man drowned.

Anthony Hensley, 37, of Villa Park, Ill., worked for a company called Knox Swan & Dog which used swans and dogs to keep geese off the condominum’s properties.

Hensley was in a kayak on the condo’s retention pond checking on the animals Saturday morning when one of the swans swam at him, causing him to fall out of his kayak into the water.

Frank Bilecki of the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, told that Hensley struggled to stay above water. Two witnesses saw Hensley resurface a few times in the pond and called police, but by the time crews arrived he had been fully submerged. He was not wearing a life vest, Bilecki said.

The Chicago Sun Times reported that while Hensley struggled in the water, the swan continued to harass Hensley.

Dive teams pulled Hensley, a husband and father of two, from the water, but he was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after.
While it doesn't say so in the story, this is almost certainly the imported Mute Swan, and not one of our relatively common native swans, the Tundra Swan , Bewick's or the much rarer Trumpeter Swan, both of whom would likely have migrated out of the US to Canada by now.

Mute Swans are nasty brutes.  I've had one challenge a 25 foot boat for space in open water.  I understand that MD DNR is winning a sub rosa campaign against these invaders...

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