Ultimate Faceoff: Watch Swans Protect Babies From Geese
It was a faceoff worthy of a Hollywood movie. A gaggle of geese had a recent run-in with a mating pair of swans in Newburgh, NY, and the tension could be cut with a knife.
Chadwick Lake Park in Newburgh, NY is home to winding trails, elaborate playgrounds, affordable boat rentals, and quiet fishing spots. It's also the literal home of two massive swans who have recently hatched a handful of fuzzy little swanlets (okay they're actually called cygnets). Swans are knows as one of the more aggressive birds, so what happens when a gang of Canada Geese get too close to their babies?
Aggressive Swans in Newburgh, NY
I could see the standoff from across the park. Roughly 10 geese seemed to be trying to enter the water, only to be blocked by two of the most aggravated swans I had ever seen. Both birds were in attack posture, with their wings raised high and their head ducked low (above). It took a minute to realize what was going on.
Swan Broods in the Hudson Valley, NY
Rounding the corner, I saw what was causing the commotion: behind one of the swans swam five little babies. Swans, which are generally aggressive on any day of the week, can get exceedingly agitated when their young are involved, and not just when facing off against geese. Recently a UK man went viral for being attacked by a swan while he was trying to rescue their cygnets (below)
While the Newburgh, NY standoff didn't erupt into violence, it was still a fascinating peek into the lives of the Hudson Valley wildlife. As the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) warns, "During the nesting and brood-rearing periods swans are very territorial. Both males and females are aggressive toward people and other waterfowl within their nesting area."
Swans are considered a "prohibited invasive species" in New York, and the NYS DEC has banned "the sale, importation, transport, or introduction of this species" in the state. In efforts to curb their population growth, swans are also only encouraged to live and breed in government-controlled land, like Chadwick Lake Park, to better manage their population.