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Mute Swan Attacks and Kills Man on Kayak in Chicago Pond

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April 18, 2012

Mute Swan Attacks and Kills Man on Kayak in Chicago Pond

By Chad Love

Outside of animal rights organizations that routinely block attempts to control or eliminate it, you won't find many fans of the mute swan, an invasive species that adversely affects native waterfowl and shorebird populations wherever it spreads. It's an altogether nasty, ill-tempered and destructive bird. But now it appears you can add murder to its list of negative attributes.

From this bizarre story on abcnews.com:

An angry swan is being blamed for knocking a man out of his kayak in a Chicago pond and then continuing to attack until the man drowned. Anthony Hensley, 37, of Villa Park, Ill., worked for a company called Knox Swan & Dog which used swans and dogs to keep geese off the condominum’s properties.

Hensley was in a kayak on the condo’s retention pond checking on the animals Saturday morning when one of the swans swam at him, causing him to fall out of his kayak into the water.

...Two witnesses saw Hensley resurface a few times in the pond and called police, but by the time crews arrived he had been fully submerged. He was not wearing a life vest... 

News accounts said the swan continued to attack Hensley as he struggled in the water. Admittedly, this is an unusual way to lose your life, but I could easily see how it could happen, especially if I were in the middle of a pond, fully clothed and without a PFD, as Hensley apparently was. Think you could make it back to shore while fighting off an enraged swan?

 

Comments (15)

Top Rated
All Comments
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Well it's an unfortunate story and incident and prayers go out to his family. So who's to say we could have done any better. But my initial thought is I would have beat the feathers off that swan with my paddle before I let it knock me out of the kayak. I would have done the noble thing afterwards and smoked him for dinner accordingly...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Geez, what a thing to have happen. My sympathies to his family. Yes, Outdoor Envy, slow smoking would be a suitable outcome for the swan.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from kyka1865 wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I can certainly see this happen. Swans are terrible birds and the bain of any farm pond fisherman. MY grandfather's swans have chased me away from big bass many times. I absoloutely hate them and if I ever have a good excuse to shoot one, I will have no qualms about it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kyka1865 wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I can certainly see this happen. Swans are terrible birds and the bain of any farm pond fisherman. MY grandfather's swans have chased me away from big bass many times. I absoloutely hate them and if I ever have a good excuse to shoot one, I will have no qualms about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Another idiot scheme to "cure" the goose problem in codiminium developments that never should have been in the first place (elimination of which is the only true cure!). I'm not sure I see the logic in putting some onery birds in a pond to chase away the others that are pooping in it. I mean, bird crap is bird crap. It's like turning a pit bull loose in the park to keep the other dogs from crapping there. Less crap but more danger. Hmmm. Not a wise trade off if you ask me. Shoot at the gawdam geese a couple of times and they won't come back. And not wearing a PFD in a kayak? This time of year? Please, let's not blame this on the swan. That guy must have had a death wish. He probably wouldn't have made it if there hadn't been a bird of any kind around for miles.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from larson014 wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

cant even defend yourself against swans in Chicago... what a shame

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FL Hunter wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

OH, the swans were brought in not to control the "poop" of the geese but also all the honking and other problems associated with them. The geese attack dogs, small children, and make a racket at all hours of the day and night.

Said story though. Saw the whole thing on the news the other night. The guys parents were devastated. On the situation itself; it was a very small pond and about 50 degrees outside when this happened. I doubt this guy was thinking about dieing when the situation occured.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

swans can do a lot of damage to a person! they have very powerful wings that can kill a person but they are even worse in the water. eliminate these birds or it will happen again!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I lost my boy and it darn near did me in. My heart goes out for this fella's parents. For the sake of our loved ones, we must all think about the worst case scenario when we go out in the field. I have lived on the edge but always took reasonable precautions to at least give me a chance of getting out of one should the need arise. Even my older brother who is a renowned scuba instructor and swims like a fish won't get in a boat without a PFD on. And the lake back home where our family cottage is located and he does much of his boating has water as warm as a bathtub. Anyone who gets in a canoe or a kayak SHOULD plan on getting wet. They are inherently unstable. In my entire life I don't believe I have ever seen anyone in a kayak (outside of historic Eskimo photos) NOT wearing a PFD. It's a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided. And it's not the swan's fault.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I'm sorry for your loss Ontario Honker.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mathiashunter wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Whether it is the swans fault or the guys fault it is still a trajic accident, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Anthony, goes to show a person just never knows when or how the good Lord will call us home.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ol Krusty wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Someone needs to remind them damn birds where they stand in the food chain.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Captjim wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I especially feel bad for his kids. I think it was the heavy boots he was wearing that did him in. I don't understand why Swans have to be checked on in a kayak. I don't understand why the company he worked for didn't have safety rules. Looks like they will be getting a visit from OSHA.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RealGoodMan wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Very sad in deed. The importance of PFDs can't be stressed enough.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from GRR8 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I add two important concerns: (1) the extreme destruction both mute and trumpeter swans do to our Eastern marsh vegetation, and (2) their negative effect on other marsh dwellers. They may drive away Canada geese, but they also drive away other waterfowl as well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from OutdoorEnvy wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Well it's an unfortunate story and incident and prayers go out to his family. So who's to say we could have done any better. But my initial thought is I would have beat the feathers off that swan with my paddle before I let it knock me out of the kayak. I would have done the noble thing afterwards and smoked him for dinner accordingly...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Geez, what a thing to have happen. My sympathies to his family. Yes, Outdoor Envy, slow smoking would be a suitable outcome for the swan.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

swans can do a lot of damage to a person! they have very powerful wings that can kill a person but they are even worse in the water. eliminate these birds or it will happen again!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from kyka1865 wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I can certainly see this happen. Swans are terrible birds and the bain of any farm pond fisherman. MY grandfather's swans have chased me away from big bass many times. I absoloutely hate them and if I ever have a good excuse to shoot one, I will have no qualms about it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Another idiot scheme to "cure" the goose problem in codiminium developments that never should have been in the first place (elimination of which is the only true cure!). I'm not sure I see the logic in putting some onery birds in a pond to chase away the others that are pooping in it. I mean, bird crap is bird crap. It's like turning a pit bull loose in the park to keep the other dogs from crapping there. Less crap but more danger. Hmmm. Not a wise trade off if you ask me. Shoot at the gawdam geese a couple of times and they won't come back. And not wearing a PFD in a kayak? This time of year? Please, let's not blame this on the swan. That guy must have had a death wish. He probably wouldn't have made it if there hadn't been a bird of any kind around for miles.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I lost my boy and it darn near did me in. My heart goes out for this fella's parents. For the sake of our loved ones, we must all think about the worst case scenario when we go out in the field. I have lived on the edge but always took reasonable precautions to at least give me a chance of getting out of one should the need arise. Even my older brother who is a renowned scuba instructor and swims like a fish won't get in a boat without a PFD on. And the lake back home where our family cottage is located and he does much of his boating has water as warm as a bathtub. Anyone who gets in a canoe or a kayak SHOULD plan on getting wet. They are inherently unstable. In my entire life I don't believe I have ever seen anyone in a kayak (outside of historic Eskimo photos) NOT wearing a PFD. It's a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided. And it's not the swan's fault.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ol Krusty wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Someone needs to remind them damn birds where they stand in the food chain.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RealGoodMan wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Very sad in deed. The importance of PFDs can't be stressed enough.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kyka1865 wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I can certainly see this happen. Swans are terrible birds and the bain of any farm pond fisherman. MY grandfather's swans have chased me away from big bass many times. I absoloutely hate them and if I ever have a good excuse to shoot one, I will have no qualms about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from larson014 wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

cant even defend yourself against swans in Chicago... what a shame

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FL Hunter wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

OH, the swans were brought in not to control the "poop" of the geese but also all the honking and other problems associated with them. The geese attack dogs, small children, and make a racket at all hours of the day and night.

Said story though. Saw the whole thing on the news the other night. The guys parents were devastated. On the situation itself; it was a very small pond and about 50 degrees outside when this happened. I doubt this guy was thinking about dieing when the situation occured.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I'm sorry for your loss Ontario Honker.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mathiashunter wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Whether it is the swans fault or the guys fault it is still a trajic accident, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Anthony, goes to show a person just never knows when or how the good Lord will call us home.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Captjim wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I especially feel bad for his kids. I think it was the heavy boots he was wearing that did him in. I don't understand why Swans have to be checked on in a kayak. I don't understand why the company he worked for didn't have safety rules. Looks like they will be getting a visit from OSHA.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GRR8 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I add two important concerns: (1) the extreme destruction both mute and trumpeter swans do to our Eastern marsh vegetation, and (2) their negative effect on other marsh dwellers. They may drive away Canada geese, but they also drive away other waterfowl as well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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