The feathered fiend, who is now a fully-fledged swan, was nicknamed Asbaby as a youngster when he pecked petrified punters on the famous Backs. But during lockdown punts and boats have been stored away and there is no one on the river, so now the savage swan has taken to chasing people on the towpath instead.
Asbaby was seen squaring up to a dog, attacking a man’s rucksack and even going after a baby in a pushchair. The bad-tempered bird spent the afternoon guarding the path, hissing at pedestrians and cyclists as they went past. At one point he was even seen pecking at a man’s shopping bags.
Local resident Miriam Sharpe, 53, said: “I was walking to the shops and he was standing in the middle of the towpath and wasn’t going to budge, it was terrifying. He certainly rules the roost.”
At the weekend, the swan was also spotted flapping his wings at visitors who tried to feed bread to his new family of eight baby cygnets. Last year the swan was seen grabbing a baby gosling in his beak and viciously swinging it around after it momentarily lost his parents. Asbaby is believed to be even more vicious than his grandfather Mr Asbo, who was moved to a secret location by the river authorities in 2012 after he repeatedly attacked rowers. He is thought to have inherited his bad temper from his grandfather, as well as his dad Asboy, who conducted a reign of terror on the river in 2014.
The Cam Conservators moved Mr Asbo to a secret location about 60 miles away in 2012 because they said his behaviour was risking the safety of river users as well as himself. His behaviour left dozens of rowers with cuts and bruises and a special marshal even had to be employed during a university rowing race to prevent him from injuring the students. In 2015 Asboy was seen attacking punters, birds and even a cow. He also injured a canoeist and a swimmer.