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Mutual of Freaking Omaha

Seriously, this is in my back yard. Actually, has been for a week. They don’t nest here; they nest up the canal somewhere. They come to this spot — mama, papa and seven cygnets — to catch the afternoon sun.

Thank goodness for the ditch between us. Papa swan lunges and hisses when I get close to take pictures. I’d just as soon not test the old wives’ tale that these things can break a man’s arm.

There’s another happy family unit up the creek aways, by our neighbor’s farm. Six babies plus two unhatched eggs. Sadly, just three babies this morning. Stupid foxes.

I saw our lot again this today and they’re all okay. So, woot.

Note to young persons and foreigners: the insurance company Mutual of Omaha once sponsored an iconic ’60s wildlife program called Wild Kingdom.


Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: May 29, 2012, 10:09 pm

can break a man’s arm

Same MO as geese: they grab your pants (or shirt or whatever they can) and whack you with the knuckle bone on their wing. I’ve had it done by many geese (we used to have a few as “pets”) and it hurts like hell. Given that they’re much larger & stronger, I’m sure a well/poorly placed thwack by a swan on your forearm could fracture a bone.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: May 29, 2012, 10:36 pm

When I was a kid, one of my relatives who farmed kept a small number of domestic geese. They were worse than a pack of dogs. They bite! They’re vicious. When you are only 10 years old, or so, they are as big as you are.

So Swans? They’re wild animals. Ducks, on the other hand, are friendly. Wild geese, once you begin to feed them, demand to be fed, should you try to stop, they’re like #Occupiers.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: May 29, 2012, 10:42 pm

I used to eat that show up when I was a kid. Probably why I’m addicted to DISCOVERY and SCIENCE channels today…

Oh, and if you think THAT’S bad, try my work building mid to late summer. The Canadian Geese show up and start turning the whole place into a poo pellet minefield, and GOD help you if they manage to surround you.

Foul tempered fuckers.

The resident Runny-Babbits are nice, though. I like to talk to them when I head to my car at midnight. They aren’t much for conversation, however.

Comment from AliceH
Time: May 29, 2012, 10:54 pm

Can’t believe you missed adding “I take a photograph of the swans while Uncle B wrestles with the alligator”. Or something. Ah, Marlin Perkins was the best.

Comment from redd
Time: May 29, 2012, 11:10 pm

Can’t you build some sort of protection for the baby swans? Don’t all the swans belong to the Queen?

Comment from huerfano
Time: May 29, 2012, 11:15 pm

They won’t just break your arm. If you are unlucky enough to stray too close in your kayak, they will dump you out and pursue you or hold you underwater until you drown. Happened in Chicago a few weeks ago.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 29, 2012, 11:34 pm

Only the swans on the Thames belong to the queen. And she’s not fussy about it.

I don’t think you can kill them, though.

Comment from redd
Time: May 29, 2012, 11:46 pm

I’m surprised that there are swans on the Thames. It looks so dirty.

I was watching that series City of Vice but it was too gross for me. I think of all those diseases and the worse cures. Blech!

Comment from redd
Time: May 29, 2012, 11:50 pm

Stoaty, maybe you need a gun. Watch that video Huerfano linked. Just shoot the SOBs!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 30, 2012, 12:02 am

redd – funnily enough, the Thames is a very clean river again, these days. I’ve seen seals way-up past the City and it’s full of fish.

100 years ago, not so much… Fall in and if you didn’t drown you’d catch typhoid.

Oh, and AliceH. I took the pic. Weasel wrestled the alligator. How dumb do you think I am? 😉

Comment from J Foster
Time: May 30, 2012, 12:26 am

Wild Kingdom ran well into the 70s, I remember what a bummer it was when it began because it meant all the cartoons were over. Granted these were the crappy Sunday morning cartoons, not the awesome Saturday morning ones, but I still preferred them to withered old Marlin. Damn things were a lot simpler when I was six years old.

Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: May 30, 2012, 12:41 am

I love anything with feathers. I always try to make it my friend. In fact the geese in St James Park Lake know me by name and run to me when I walk up!

This swan however was trying to get to know me better.

And yes, I still have my face but after seeing that picture I’m just a tad more careful now.

Comment from rustbucket
Time: May 30, 2012, 1:11 am

OT, Stoatie, but Doc Watson passed away today.

Comment from Frit
Time: May 30, 2012, 1:56 am

Scubafreak: I used to eat that show up when I was a kid. Probably why I’m addicted to DISCOVERY and SCIENCE channels today…

I also grew up on Wild Kingdom, later to watch National Geographic as well. (I don’t watch TV any more, so other than owning a DVD of the “EARTH” series, I’m not familiar with the newer shows.)

Comment from the fella what is called sandman and such like
Time: May 30, 2012, 2:00 am

Was gonna tell you that Doc died today after a week or so in the hospital, from complications from colon surgery and a fall.

Earl and Doc, dueling in Heaven. They’re already being missed.

Sandman, esquire

Comment from Allen
Time: May 30, 2012, 3:31 am

Marlin: Jim is wading into the river where a 30 foot Anaconda snake is waiting, hopefully Jim can bring it out.

Jim surfaces a couple of times, writhing coils, and so on.

Marlin: Jim, what was that like?

I always wondered how much Jim was getting paid.

Comment from mojo
Time: May 30, 2012, 4:27 am

“Jim will go in the river and wrestle with the crocodile, while I stay up here in the helicopter…”

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: May 30, 2012, 7:49 am

@Frit – Science channel has some cool programs… Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, Curiosity (Think Robin Williams narrating a show on the effects of drugs, Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs being used as a lab rat to show the different parasites that infest us, Eli Roth (the Bear Jew from Inglorious Basterds, and the director of the HOSTEL movies) doing a study on how evil the average person is, etc), and things like that….


Comment from Mike C.
Time: May 30, 2012, 9:01 am

Well, it’s just a freaking horrible year here in the Appalachians, music-wise.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 30, 2012, 3:26 pm

I think the swan thing is over-rated. We had an aggressive male on the pond at school that lurked by the path on the way back to my room. It would hiss at people and rush them and everyone was terrified of it. Finally one of my friends got so pissed off that he yelled “fuck off!” at it and punted it ten feet. They only weigh a few pounds, so it described a perfect parabola and landed with a splosh in the water. It was a very chastened swan after that and would give people a wide berth (it wasn’t injured, just re-apprised of its position in the food chain.)

Comment from Goober
Time: May 30, 2012, 4:16 pm

Give me a freaking break, people. They are a bird with hollow bones that weigh on the high end 20 pounds. They can’t hurt you beyond ruffling your feathers a little bit. I’ll never understand why people are afraid of birds.

I had a 25 pound goose attack me once. I grabbed it by the neck and threw it. It left me alone. Birds are harmless, regardless of how much bluster and pomp they throw your way. They can’t hurt you. At best they can flap their wings around you and scrape you with their claws a bit, but even that comes with the caveat that there is less than 20 pounds of bird behind it.

Comment from redd
Time: May 30, 2012, 5:07 pm

Excuse me, but they’ll peck your eyes out, causing you to drop the gas pump, and then some guy with a lit cigar throws it down in the pooling fuel and its KA-BOOM!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 30, 2012, 5:07 pm

That is the best snapshot ever, Mrs C.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: May 30, 2012, 5:43 pm

Be careful of those swans Stoaty; remember what happened to Leda when she decided to go slumming in some Swan Dive!
Just sayin’.

As for ‘Wild Kingdom’, I have a very vivid memory of Jim, Marlin’s macho sidekick, jumping out of a speeding Land Rover, barefoot, and body-tackling something….a wildabeast?

Comment from mojo
Time: May 30, 2012, 8:36 pm

BTW: as I recall it was after Marlin got, well, “tangled up” in an angry Anaconda, which was headed for deeper water to drown it’s catch when Jim and a cameraman intervened.

After that, Marlin stayed in the helicopter.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: May 30, 2012, 8:45 pm

“Be careful, Jim”: Marlin from the safety of the Land Rover, while Jim tried to artificially inseminate a rhino using a bendy straw.

Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: May 30, 2012, 8:56 pm

OMGOMGOMG, it’s back!!!


Comment from Nina
Time: May 30, 2012, 9:22 pm

Mutual of Sussex?

But awwwwww! They’re so cute. If you feed them maybe they’ll stop hissing at you.


Comment from Clifford Skridlow
Time: May 31, 2012, 12:06 am

“Jim will go in the river and wrestle with the crocodile, while I stay up here in the helicopter…”

Someone did a parody of Wild Kingdom, Carson, I think. Jim Fowler was the guest, and they played a clip of him doing something like wrestling a giant snake, and they cut to a doctored shot of Marlin Perkins in a fake helicopter with two go-go girls, all of them with martini glasses in hand, and the voiceover was something like ” while Jim wrestles the deadly anaconda, I circled overhead with Bambi and Thumper looking for signs of danger”. My Dad spent the next twenty minutes cleaning up the Pearl beer he spit all over his recliner. One of my fondest childhood memories.

Comment from Mike
Time: May 31, 2012, 8:31 pm

“I’d just as soon not test the old wives’ tale that these things can break a man’s arm.”

Why not? If you can’t think of any men’s arms you’d like to see broken, I could probably suggest a few for ya.

Oh. YOUR arm. Well, never mind, then.

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