There is an ongoing war between the Canada geese and the swans. It has, it seems, been going on forever and will go on forevermore.

Ducks get along with every other kind of waterfowl. Swans, geese, even herons will swim with ducks. No friction. It doesn’t matter what kind of duck, either. Any color, any shape duck will swim anywhere with any kind of fowl.

Between Canada geese — or maybe any geese — and swans, there’s an ongoing battle. You will see swans on a pond or you will see geese, but unless they are fighting, you won’t see both.

Why not? You’d have to ask the birds because I have no idea.

In the nest

In the reeds


Swans have possession of Whitin’s pond. They swim there, eat there, nest there, raise their cygnets on those quiet waters before the small dam where the river continues. Really, Whitin’s pond is not a pond. It’s just a really wide part of the Blackstone and it is very shallow. This makes it particularly good as a nesting site.

This year, the geese decided to invade the swan’s nesting site. They cracked open the swans’ eggs and took over the site.

The battle is waged.

The battle is waged.

The swans fought back and ultimately, managed to drive the geese away. The geese are much more agile than swans, at least out of the water. In the water, though, swans are much bigger and a lot stronger than the geese.

There are usually more geese than swans, so by sheer number, the geese have an advantage, but the swans are very persistent in protecting their locations. And this part of the Blackstone belongs to the swans and has as long as we have lived here.

Attack mode!

As it happened, we showed up on the day of the first big battle of the geese and the swans. We didn’t know until a few weeks later who won the war, but there were the swans and their cygnets, so they are the victors. I have not seen any more geese on that part of the river.

Watching for the invaders.

Watching for the invaders.

Where were you while the battle was going on?

Where were you while the battle was going on?

Forgive? Will they build a new nest?

Forgiven? Will they build a new nest? They did and from it came cygnets, so all was not lost.

It’s hard to understand the battle. There are plenty of places to raise cygnets and goslings. It’s a big river and there are more than adequate ponds and lakes. Maybe there is more food on this part of the river.

Swan and nearly grown cygnets

Whatever the reason, this is where the battles begin and end.

Categories: Blackstone River, Marilyn Armstrong, Nature, Photography, Swans and herons

Tags: , , , , , ,

21 replies

  1. You’re incredibly blessed to be able to see such magnificent creatures up ‘close’ like that. And perhaps that particular ‘pond’ is such a great nesting area that it’s battle worthy. Who knows? Only the birds and they ain’t saying.


  2. lol DCMontreal. It’s true, they are more than pesky, they can be downright mean.


    • They can be mean. They can also be very friendly. Some of them become downright petlike — but I don’t trust them. I don’t trust anything that attacks the nests of other birds and that includes the Herons who are very big on breaking the eggs of smaller fowl.


  3. Long may the swans rule.


  4. We Canadians tend to be pretty easy-going folks. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Canada geese; they tend to be nasty birds. So on behalf of myself and many Canadian birds please pass along to the swans this most Canadian of comments regarding the mean geese … sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Canada Geese like to take over wherever they choose. They took over an office park I worked in and you really had to keep out of their way or they would let you know you were in their way. And they march in lines like soldiers. Swans don’t run in gangs, but geese like big numbers.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, I have never seen swans in battle. That’s an amazing photo of the swan and goose fighting. I know they are very protective of their young. You don’t want to be walking around anywhere near a swan family out for a walk because the adults will go for you. They look so serene the rest of the time. I think that the white ones may be larger than our black ones. They seem more solid anyway.


    • Our local swans will walk right up to you, but they are begging for scraps to eat. They are used to getting goodies from visitors. Their nests are not along the shore where people walk which is just as well. The white ones really ARE very big and I wouldn’t want to go hand to wing with one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. They do say nature is red in tooth and claw.


  7. Our water birds all seem to get on with each other very well, but we don’t have any geese


  8. Beautiful shots of the birds — those nesting and those at war! I’m impressed that the swan nests are almost as big as the Great Blue Heron nests — I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me, given the size of the birds!


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