Thursday, May 13, 2010

c'mon, munchie, let's go see the cygnets.

that’s what i said to andy as we made our way to the river yesterday. (i sometimes call andy “munchie,” or “munchers,” or “munch,” or “münchausen.”) the swans that live near eagle’s perch have six fuzzy little bundles of adorableness this year. last year i think they started with a similar number but lost quite a few to foxes and other predators, ending up with just two.

the parents are highly protective and not to be fucked with. while i was taking photos a few people walked by, and i warned them, and they all got attacked. one particularly amusing episode, with a jogger approaching from the side opposite me, went like this:

she: oh, look at them!
me: caaareful...
she: will they bite?
me: yes they w--
she: AAHHH! (*swan attack sounds*)

another woman came by with her dog, going the same direction. on the first pass she made it through the sphinx gate without being shot to hell by laser swans. then she turned around, pulled out a camera and pushed her luck. the swan went absolutely batshit on both the woman and the poor dog. she dropped the leash and ran for her life, leaving the piteous pup to get wing-flagellated and beak-nommed by a bird of unusual size. fortunately the dog didn’t try to defend itself, it just cowered and slunk away.

it’s kind of a hazardous situation having the swans on the path there. they’re not dangerous, i mean i doubt they could actually hurt anyone beyond delivering a good scare, but they’re constantly on edge having to protect themselves and their babies from dogs and passersby, and passersby have few options for continuing on their way. the path is narrow and there’s water on either side, so you get to choose between turning around, risking attack, or taking a swim. i don’t think many people understand that these birds budge for no one--you can get a duck or a goose to hurry their offspring out of your way, but swans hold their ground until they’re goddamnit ready to move.

i ran past a couple times and it was an adrenaline rush (this was when i came back later in the evening, on my own, without munchie). my strategy was to get a little too close so that the guardian swan would try to muscle me away, but not close enough that it would start flapping its wings and biting. i’d draw it over to the side of the path--amazing how these creatures stomp those huge webbed feet when they’re trying to scare you, it’s an intimidating sound--then dart to the other side of the path and sprint past. i’m sure it looked silly but it worked.


Jessica said...

What cute little fluffers!!!

JJ Beazley said...

Hey, Em. Careful. I gather swans are capable of doing harm if they really mean to.

Coincidence? I used to call Penny 'munchies.'

Emily said...

wow, that is a crazy coincidence. i actually call him "munchies" sometimes too...i forgot to note that variation, along with "munch-a-bunch." is penny the dog in your photo?

JJ Beazley said...

Sure is. Ms Bat Ears. I have another picture of her on my pin board in which her eyes look like Andy's. The one on the profile is the only one I've got on the computer. I don't have a scanner.

Emily said...

i never looked at her closely before--she's so adorable. she looks very clever and sweet also.

weird, i call andy "bat ears" too...and they really do look similar, not in coloring but in face and build for sure.

JJ Beazley said...

Sweetest natured dog I ever knew. I like coincidences. Universal consciousness weaving patterns, maybe.