In 2009, brothers Alexander and Vitaly Drozdov walked along the banks of the Maza Jugla River in Latvia. They saw two swans lying in the river, hopelessly tangled around each other’s necks and wings. It was a really bizarre sight. The swans swam toward them as if they hoped that the humans can help them.
The Drozdovs carefully untangled them and set them free. You can see it at the 3:10 mark in the video.
This video has gone viral in the past couple weeks. It leads to an obvious question: how the did these swans get wrapped around each other so much that they could not physically separate themselves? Turn to National Geographic for an answer. It interviewed Brian K. Schmidt, a bird expert at the Smithsonian. Schmidt says that these were probably two male swans who fought each other for territory:
This is the first time I have seen this, but I'm sure it does happen on occasion. [It's] similar to deer getting their antlers entangled."
The swans' neck fighting, coupled with hitting each other, caused them to get stuck.
Mute swan battles are rarely fatal but can be quite violent, nonetheless.
"If the intruder doesn't back down, it goes to a face-off with the birds striking each other with their wings and entangling their necks and biting each other," he says.