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The Story of the Ducklings and the Swan

Updated on May 15, 2013

The Hero Swan


When I walked my dogs today, I witnessed a beautiful natural phenomenon between a family of ducks and a male swan. I even made a video but unfortunately, it is not that clear on the video as it was in real life. I am still a bit in disbelief about the incident.

We live in Germany next to a natural reserve in which there is also a huge pond. This pond is the habitat of many different types of birds including swans, ducks, coots and Grey Herons. It is amazing to watch them breed and take care of their chicks.

A Coot Nesting


When I saw the nine ducklings and their mother duck for the first time and they saw me and my dogs, they quickly swam away to the other side of the lake. I always keep my dogs very close to me and watch out that they don't scare the birds too much.

This morning, however, was different. I came to the lake and saw the ducklings again. As they saw me, they started to swim away. Then suddenly, they stopped and stayed not very far from me close to a small log. I could see a male swan swimming towards me. I know it is the male swan because not far from where I was standing, the female swan is currently incubating her eggs and I never see her away from the nest. I also read that swans always choose the same partner during their whole lifetime and since this is the only other swan on the lake, I figured it is her partner.

Sorry for the upside down part but keep watching till the end!

It took me a while to realize why the ducklings were not swimming away. It was because the male swan was protecting them from me. They considered me to be an intruder and dangerous. The male swan approached me at a pretty rapid pace. I felt like he was trying to scare me away. At some point he was so close, I knew it was time to take a step back. The swan seemed to relax a bit. I kept watching the ducks and the swan from further away. Then the ducks starting moving past the swan with the swan being between me and the ducks. The swan was acting like a bodyguard and keeping them safe. It was amazing for me to see that.

I know it doesn't seem that way in the video but I wanted to share this experience because I was amazed at what I saw and I am 100% sure that this swan was protecting the ducklings from me.

Animals are such wonderful and intelligent creatures. They don't only protect their own species but also others. Humans should take that as an example to follow. Too many times, humans don't even manage to protect their own species. It is time that we change our way of thinking. If you want to read more about eco-friendliness and information about ways to respect animals and our Mother Earth, take a look at my Earthblog.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      A wonderful story!

      Way to go, little ducklings!! :)

    • tlmcgaa70 profile image


      5 years ago from south dakota, usa

      i agree with you. the swan was protecting the ducklings. i have heard of a lioness that adopted a baby (can't remember what it was called) type of large antelope, and she kept it safe til one day a male lion found and killed it. then she went out and found another one and took it for her own. she did this with 5 or 6 different babies. and i am sure we have all seen the video of the jaguar that killed a baboon, but upon finding its tiny baby, had no clue what to do so took it up a tree to keep it safe from other predators. i have seen videos of crows who have adopted kittens. it is not so unusual for animals to make friendships with different species. we once lived near a pond that hosted many ducks and geese. the odd pair was a goose and a duck that wouldn't mate with their own species because they had formed a bond with each other.

      thank you for sharing this wonderful story. voted up and then some. shared to.

    • vandynegl profile image


      5 years ago from Ohio Valley

      It is amazing the way animals protect their young! We have a deer family on our property and I am fascinated by their "protective" instincts. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    • GwennyOh profile image


      5 years ago

      I loved the article. Thanks for sharing this beautiful experience. It felt like I was there looking on the way you described it.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 

      5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      It sounds like a beautiful experience. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Jennifer Madison profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Madison 

      5 years ago from Lohmar

      Thanks Livingsta and Moonlike. I am glad you enjoyed this story and that you can see the same thing I did. Birds are beautiful creatures. You can see so much when you go out into the nature. You don't need a TV at all to witness some awesome things.

    • moonlake profile image


      5 years ago from America

      Your video was great and I'm with you that swan was protecting the ducks and his territory. If it was just his territory he would have ran off the ducks. He followed the ducks wherever they went. It’s not unusual for animals/birds care about and protect other species. My brother had a large baby grosbeak get on his birdfeeder and tiny little wren bird would come over and feed the baby grosbeak.

      If that swan wanted to he could kill the baby ducks in no time.

      I enjoyed your hub. Sharing, voted and pinned.

    • livingsta profile image


      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us. What you say is so correct. Animals and birds protect their young ones and their species more than we humans do. This is beautiful.

      Voted up beautiful and sharing!

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 

      5 years ago from New York

      Swans are extremely territorial and dangerous, and if you got closer to the nest it's likely it would have attacked. Yes, humans do not always protect every animal, especially animals they aren't so fond of like insects or if they have some other pressing interest. Humans are exceptionally diverse, but one thing I do know for sure is that they (as a whole) have a much higher degree of awareness for the welfare of other species than all other animals. Most animals will never do this without human interference (or corruption of an instinct, such as when a looney lion 'adopts' a baby antelope), which is why you probably found what you witnessed surprising. It's a nice story though.

    • Jennifer Madison profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Madison 

      5 years ago from Lohmar

      Dear Melissa,thanks for your comment. If humans do protect other species so much, then why are there hundreds of species becoming extinct every year because humans are stealing their territory. I only think of poachers in Africa, apes being used as sex slaves in Asia, even in the industrialized countries common pets are mistreated daily. Regarding the swan you may be right. I still believe what I saw. The swan was 500m from his own nest. Maybe I should have clarified that in the article. When he was swimming towards me he was swimming away from his own nest andit could have easily been attacked without him seeing.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 

      5 years ago from New York

      In my experience, humans protect other species about 30,000% more so than non-humans do, perhaps higher, but I'm just throwing out an impressive number. These birds behave pretty much entirely on instinct, unlike humans. I believe it's likely that the swan was protecting its territory as you mentioned he had a partner on eggs. I think the other ducks just happened to be there at the time.


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