Why is this swan mauling this tiny gosling?

Why is this swan going after this little gosling? Seems like odd behavior.

Swans are not nice birds.

what leads you to think this is “odd” behavior?

Swans routinely harass other birds, and have attacked humans as well (I vaguely recall one fatal incident).

My grandmother’s skilled nursing facility/rehab center had a couple of swans outside. One week, we noticed they hadn’t had their nesting box cleaned out on schedule. Turns out their keeper was killed by a different pair of swans nearby. :eek:

And swans and geese are natural enemies, in the animal sense. They compete for food and territory, although their territories overlap in ways not obvious to the casual human observation. Adults hold an uneasy truce sharing the same pond, but babies are fair game if they wander too close.

Holy shit. I knew swans were assholes, but, wow. ETA: response to above post.

But they’re so graceful!

Well…so is a guillotine. :smiley:

Agreed. Swans are murderous dicks!

Geese are a common nuisance to people in my area that have ponds. They tend to take over a pond and make a huge mess. One of the ways people deal with it is to buy a few swans for the pond. One pair will keep any number of geese away. Swans are jerks and other birds know it so stay the hell away from them.

Swans are not the only large birds that are dangerous to the young of other species. Geese will routinely attack and kill ducklings in the same pond.

My guess would be that it is an adaptive trait to secure food by limiting the populations of competing species. (Possibly it is a more narrow effort to keep the young of other species from competing with the young of the attacking species.) I do not know whether this is true of all aquatic fowl, but it is most easily detected when the larger birds attack the young of smaller, (even slightly smaller), birds. I have not seen that many swans on ponds with ducks, but I would not be at all surprised if swans treated ducks the way that geese treat ducks and the way that swans treat geese.

Swans will eat pretty much any small animal they can catch. This isn’t unusual behavior at all.

birds are the jerks of the animal kingdom. Geese and swans take it to the max.

or, as I put it while roasting a goose, “geese deserve to be eaten.”

Exactly. Got a problem with goose poop in and around your pond? Get a couple swans, problem solved.

I was trapped on the roof of a gazebo by a nesting swan. It was frightful.

Birds are dinosaurs. You know, like badass.

Swans are bad asses. One moved into a pond where we play golf and it owns that pond now. Don’t hit any golf balls in its general vicinity.

Fortunately, your valet was there to rescue you!

This doesn’t seem to be recommended as a good idea by some state agencies, like Missouri or Indiana. At least when applied to introduced Mute Swans.

Apparently they’ll exclude waterfowl near their nest, but not necessarily from the whole pond and we even act as visual lures to bring more geese in. Further since they are even more destructive to the environment pound for pound and rather more physically threatening to people, they can be a cure worse than the sickness. I imagine they might work in a really small pond, but I’ve seen a lot of geese co-existing with Mute Swans before.

I’ll take your word for it but wikiseems to indicate that they only eat fairly “small aquatic animals” in addition to plant material. I’m thinking things much smaller than a gosling.

Also here-