As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Asbaby the swan: terrorising Cambridge punters, just like his granddad

Students and tourists are being attacked by a swan on the River Cam where the legendary Mr Asbo – reportedly his forebear – once wreaked havoc
Wed 19 Jun 2019 17.46 BSTLast modified on Thu 20 Jun 2019 10.39 BST
Name: Asbaby.
Age: Unknown, though he has been cropping up in reports of violence since 2015.
Location: The River Cam in Cambridge, which, like the city itself, is full of entitled students and tourists paying a fortune for punts, who find themselves united in the battle between humans and swans.
And so who is Asbaby? A hero or villain – it depends whose side you are on. He is the latest swan to wage war on humans, and was recently photographed attacking students who had jumped into the river after college celebrations.
What do you mean by “the latest”? Asbaby’s “grandfather” – it is far from clear that a familial link has ever been established – was Mr Asbo, a wonderfully combative swan who terrorised rowers and everyone else on the river from 2010 until he was controversially moved to a secret location 60 miles from Cambridge in 2012.
Asbo? Oh come on, you remember, it’s the acronym for anti-social behaviour order – Tony Blair’s big idea that was introduced in 1998 to stop public drunkenness and other loutish behaviour, and which has now gone the way of all his other big ideas, such as economic growth, being on friendly terms with Europe and waging wars in the Middle East.
But back to this battleground ... Well, no sooner had Mr Asbo been carted off to some rural backwater where he could no longer wreak havoc than his supposed son Asboy appeared on the scene, pecking punters, roughing up rowers and scaring students.
So what happened to Asboy? Well, swans do all look pretty similar: could Asboy and Asbaby be the same swan? Or have generations of an entire flock been driven mad by posh students in rowing blazers?

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