'Swanzilla' Vs. Plymouth Residents

An entrance to Fort Hood Army Base in Fort Hood, Texas, near Killeen remains in lock-down following a mass shooting on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Jack Plunkett) AP Photo/Jack Harris

In historic Plymouth, Massachusetts, where the pilgrims landed to stake their claim on the new world, there is another claim to be dealt with from a most unlikely settler.

He's earned the ire of the natives, who call him everything from "Swanzilla" to "Ghengis Swan." He is unquestionably one mean bird.

"He never does anything inappropriate when were facing each other," says Jessica Almy, of the Cape Wildlife Center. "It's when you turn your back on the swan that things get a little more interesting.

"He's a devious swan."

The swan is apparently territorial, obsessively territorial, as he seeks to protect his mate from any threat, including canoers or his neighbors on the shore.

Dexter Olson had to defend himself against the swan with a shovel.

"I just waved it at him trying to get his attention, and that didn't work so finally I ended up banging it," Olson said.

It's chased Nick Nickitas off his dock more than once.

Nickitas, a big guy, says the swan scares him because, "I don't know how he's going to react."

It's easy to joke about the swan, but the people who live up and down haven't been laughing. He's been a problem for about two years and has already knocked over two canoes filled with people so the city fathers decided it's time to do something.

They called in Almy and her colleagues from the Cape Wildlife Center. When the swan attacks they spray him with a chemical that's sort of like grape juice.

"It's part of the process of teaching him not to approach canoes," says Almy.

But the authorities in Plymouth are running out of patience.

"As far as I'm concerned, if he dumps one more canoe he's out, he's gone," says David Rushforth, who serves on the board of the Plymouth Selectmen. "That's it."

That means the swan could be exiled, cast out of Plymouth and sent to a wildlife sanctuary, where he'll be free to pick on something his own size.
  • Jaime Holguin

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