Aggressive Swans

We often think of swans as large, serene birds. A recent visit to LaSalle Park in Burlington Ontario confirmed that aggressive swans are alive and well… and busy defending their territory and mates.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 220 mm, efov 440 mm, f/6.3, 1/1250, ISO-1000

Many of us think of swans as large, majestic birds. Often they appear slow moving and docile.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter, f/8 @270 mm, efov 540 mm, 1/1250, ISO-2500

Their long necks can form graceful curves, enhancing the birds’ sometimes regal demeanor.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 220 mm, efov 440 mm,, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-2000

During mating season, or when defending their young, swans can be quite territorial and aggressive.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 220 mm, efov 440 mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-2000

Aggressive swans often single out other birds and make a commotion as they chase them across the surface of the water. Most of these altercations only last a few seconds. At times aggressive swans have been known to fight, inflicting serious injuries, or worse,  on other birds.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 220 mm, efov 440 mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-2000

This aggressive swan behaviour can erupt without any notice. As one bird charges another you’ll hear loud splashes as their wings beat against the surface of the water.

I did manage to capture one short continuous auto-focus image run of this aggressive swan behaviour. The next 9 consecutive photographs were captured in a total of 1/2 second.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 180 mm, efov 360 mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-6400
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 180 mm, efov 360 mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-6400
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 180 mm, efov 360 mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-6400
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 180 mm, efov 360 mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-6400
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 180 mm, efov 360 mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-6400
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 180 mm, efov 360 mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-6400
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 180 mm, efov 360 mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-6400
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 180 mm, efov 360 mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-6400
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 180 mm, efov 360 mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-6400

Technical Note:
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Photographs are displayed as 100% captures without any cropping.

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