Them’s fightin’ birds – swans vs. ducks in Amsterdam

There’s a gang war in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, and it’s for the birds. Seriously. The swans and ducks are out to get each other.

I first noticed the commotion because of the ducks. They were so loud, and unlike the placid ducks I know from my home lakes in Minneapolis, they were fluttering and flapping around like mad. I honestly wondered if some of the Red Light District’s more refined substances had accidentally gotten into the canal.


But still. Then, I saw the swans. The swans and ducks were have full-on standoffs. In particular, the swans were tensing themselves up (into a totally beautiful, but definitely aggressive, shape like the one shown) and swimming into duck territory to cause trouble. Or maybe the ducks started it. I don’t know. I’m no ornithologist.

I did, however take three videos of the insanity. I’ll skip the first one, before I walked north through duck territory and encountered the swans. Here’s #2:

Forgive the spinning; I was trying to figure out what in the devil was going on with all these freaking out birds.
Then, these two angry-looking swans charged into duck territory. I started to wonder if somewhere a swan was being held hostage. It’s like something out of a cartoon directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Reservoir Ducks, anyone? Did you see that duck just jump the leading swan in the lower right corner (0:07 seconds)?? From what I understand, these is the usual situation in the Red Light District’s canal. Them’s fightin’ birds.

Videos taken by Annie Scott on location in Amsterdam, Sunday, November 8, 2009.

This trip was paid for by the Netherlands Board of Tourism, but the ideas and opinions expressed in the article above are 100% my own.

Boeing 737 makes duck soup with ducks and lands safely

Not all planes that hit flocks of birds end up making crash landings. When a Boeing 737 flew through a flock of ducks near Fairbanks, Alaska on Thursday, it did make an emergency landing to make sure that there wasn’t any major damage to the aircraft other than the crack in the outer windshield. The only other damage was a dent in the engine cowling.

The description of the ducks bouncing off the jet reminded me a bit of the pheasants (and the black bird , and the chipmunk AND raccoon) that bounced off our car last summer when we drove along the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota on our Great American Road trip. Quite alarming and unusual. We’ve been on this road before with never a problem.

It’s not that unusual for planes to hit birds in Alaska. According to the article in the Anchorage Daily News most of the time, the birds just bounce off the airplane and nothing happens. In our case, one of the pheasants was stuck in the grill of our car, something my husband discovered when we stopped to get gas.

In the case of a plane going through flocks of ducks, I wonder if anyone on board has ever yelled, “Duck!”

*Thanks to Gadling reader, Matt for the heads up on this story.