This is what I witnessed
I had never seen violence at the park before. It is an oasis of peace and tranquility in a wealthy enclave of New Jersey amid horse country. I go there to walk the dog regularly because there is a short, level path around the pond. The pond is populated with water fowl. The town has added some swans in recent years that seem to be more fertile. I had watched the pair that was there for years lay many eggs on the island but they never hatched. With the introduction of different swans, five babies hatched this year. They were down to three by the time I noticed them, but a fellow walker told me they started with five when I commented I had seen three there a few weeks ago, and now there was only one. We guessed the red tail hawks had picked them up.The geese also hatched six babies this spring. Within a few weeks, they nearly tripled in size.
I had seen the aggressive nature of the swans a few times when they tried to look huge by extending their wings and hissed at my dog who barked at them. Coco is an eight pound chihuahua who is generally friendly, but she is descended from wolves so she knows how to threaten potential prey.
As we were approaching the walking path, I saw a disturbance in the water. There was wild thrashing about and water splashing. An enormous swan was viciously attacking one of the baby geese with what looked like a serious intent to kill. He was pecking at it and trying to keep it under water. It looked like it was trying to drown the baby. The adult geese paced nervously on the shore. I thought I heard the baby screaming.
I turned to a woman who was carrying her young son over from the playground. I said, “I think that swan is attacking that baby.” The swan seemed to step up its attack. Another woman noticed, and the two of them ran to the shore with what seemed like the intention of saving the baby. They said they felt sick. It was sickening to watch a fierce attack on a helpless baby.
The women stomped their feet and yelled at the swan to stop it. I felt their instinct, but tried not to laugh at them. Nature was taking its evil course for reasons we could never understand. I tried to imagine what would motivate an adult swan to ferociously attack a baby goose. Maybe the adults were battling for territory for their babies, and the swan got carried away. Nature can be brutal sometimes.
I walked on, thinking there was nothing to be done. I need to walk with hyper vigilance for my safety on the sloping incline toward the walking path with a chihuahua tethered to my spastic arm so I missed the baby’s escape but in a few minutes I did notice a dazed and drenched baby goose on the path ahead of me. The other witnesses told me it had gotten away.
I hope the park will be a tranquil place of peace the next time I visit.
Thank you for reading :)