A young swan was seriously injured when thugs stabbed it through the wing with a wooden stake.
The cygnet was found speared by the 2m weapon in Boreham, Essex, yesterday.
Dog-walker Wendy Palmer, who discovered the swan, dialled 999.
Minutes later 10 Essex fire officers and RSPCA workers arrived to help the ailing bird.
Passer-by Stephen Huntley, who captured the rescue on camera, said: "It looked like someone had deliberately attacked the bird with the stick - it was no accident. The poor creature looked in great distress."
The swan is now being cared for by the RSPCA.