A Scary Swan Encounter!

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

Last Sunday, I stopped by one of my favorite spots to photograph migrating ducks. On the east side of Reedsburg flooding there’s a secluded area under cover of oak trees and tall pines. Having a 7-10 foot sandy bank to slip down to reach the water's edge, as soon as you’re down the hill.

If you've ever fished Reedsburg flooding, you'll know that it's full of stumps and you're more likely to lose your bait than catch a fish. In 2018, Reedsburg flooding was drained to allow for maintenance and repairs on the dam.

Completed in 2020, the flooding still hasn’t reached its previous water levels so you can see all the stumps, but not nearly as bad as the photo above.

Lucky for me, the stumps don’t seem to bother the migrating ducks a bit, and it makes for more visual elements in scene which render nicely.

Finding a large piece of driftwood to sit on, I silently watched my favorite Bufflehead ducks swimming in the distance. Locking the camera with elbows on knees like a tripod, I hoped and prayed to be lucky enough to capture a close-up.

Suddenly, two swans glided around the corner along the shore heading right toward me. Of course, I turned and took aim capturing a few shots as they swam amongst some decoys someone had left out – probably to capture some shots like me.

At the first honk it seemed I was the topic of conversation between the two, and rather than swim further away, these massive birds decided to check me out and see if I was a threat.

If birds can sense a nervous heartrate, they were certainly picking up on mine. Knowing these birds had giant wings and an attitude like a goose, I took a quick look around for a stick to defend myself just in case they decided to beat me up.

With nothing but my camera to protect myself, I waited with dread as they moved to within five feet of me!

The pair seemed to wait for me to run, but knowing you never run from a dog, nor do you keep eye contact, I hid my face behind my camera and continued with the occasional click of the shutter figuring if I got my ass whooped by a couple of swans, I would at least have photos of the event!

With subtle honks to each other, one moved on while the other kept its beady black eyes locked onto my form as if begging for a reason to thrash me. Praying for safety, I thought, “Please don’t hurt me, please don’t hurt me, please don’t hurt me,” over and over until he finally decided to move on.

Waiting for the pair to get a fair distance away before moving, I lit out of there with a grin on my face and a quick thank you to God above for watching over me.

I could hardly wait to get home and see what shots were captured in the camera!

The Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) is North America's biggest native species. Thanks to my very knowledgeable cousin, I have corrected their identification from 'Tundra Swan' to Trumpeter.

Being sensitive to humans in their breeding ground, I'm hopeful that I didn't disturb the pair too much. I’m really happy they weren’t Mute Swans, which are known for their voracious appetites and aggressive behavior which could pose a threat to humans! I'm not sure if they would've beaten me up like a Mute Swan surely would have and I'm thankful they moved on!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Watch for more photos to come!

To see more photos of the swans, see them here: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/marianne-kuzimski

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