Apr 24, 2012 Amanda Seef Uncategorized
The attack on the swan eggs at Manlius’s Swan Pond is being called “brutal” and “unwarranted.”
That’s why several community members are working to create a reward fund for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for destroying several swan eggs over the weekend. The eggs would have been the first to hatch in eight years.
Two Manlius businesses and the village board have each allocated $1,000 for the reward fund, Mayor Mark-Paul Serafin said.
Earlier Monday, the owners of Bella Cigna restaurant, which means “beautiful swan” in Italian, brought forth $1,000 for a reward.
“It’s the least we can do,” said Rick DeCuffa, co-owner of the restaurant nestled near the Swan Pond. “Most of the community is just devastated by this. We’re hoping the person can be brought to justice.”
DeCuffa says he, like most in the village, were excited to see the cygnets in the pond. They were the first that would have hatched in the village in eight years
The village board voted Monday night to add $1,000, the most allowable by the village for a misdemeanor. Should the crimes escalate to a felony, which police said they could as the investigation continues, the reward could spring to $5,000 from the village alone.
The owners of Hollowick Candle, Jerry and Ann Menter, also pledged $1,000 to the reward fund at Monday’s board meeting, Serafin said.
Serafin said a village resident has approached him about going door-to-door with her daughter to solicit funds for the reward.
“It’s amazing the response,” Serafin said. “It has been absolutely, positively tremendous. The residents never fail to amaze me with their depth of support.”
Police say the suspect removed the eggs sometime overnight Saturday or early Sunday morning. Seven of the eight eggs were destroyed. The eggs were taken from the nest and thrown or dropped near a wall outside Buffoon’s Bar, at the corner of routes 92 and 173. The eighth was left near the nest and taken to an incubator by a swan expert but the embryo did not have a heartbeat.
“We initially thought it was a natural predator,” Serafin said. “But raccoons don’t do that.”
The eggs, expected to hatch in mid-May, would have been the first to hatch in the village’s iconic Swan Pond in eight years.
“It’s a distressing situation for the village,” Serafin said. “It’s disheartening.”
The silver lining, Serafin said, is that the swans, dubbed Manny and Faye, are still early enough in their mating season that they could produce a new nest of eggs. Manny has been collecting feathers and such to create a nest, which will be moved to a floating nesting platform that village crews have started to construct. As of Monday evening, the platform was in the water, but it still needed more work, Serafin said. Once it’s complete, mud will be packed onto it and the swan’s nest will be moved to the platform.
The platform was suggested by swan expert Michael Bean, of Skaneateles. Bean donated Manny and Faye to the village two years ago. The cygnets would have been given to Bean once they were old enough to leave.
A storied past
The swan pond has been situated in the village since at least 1804 — before the village was a village, according to the Manlius Historical Society. It was build to power a mill until the 1860s, when it became part of a farm. Historical records show the daughter of the farm recalled seeing swans on the pond as she grew up. Eventually, the Cheney family bought the farm and put the first pair of swans on the pond in 1905.
The pond was given to the village in 1952. Myrtle the swan, who lived on the pond when the village took it over, died in 1957. She had been on the pond for about 25 years.
In 1958, the village put a fence around the pond to help keep the swans in one place. They were known to cause traffic jams and chase children, newspaper archives show.
The attack on the eggs is not the first trouble the swans have had in the village — there have been numerous assaults on the swans over the years, including a brutal decapitation of one of the swans in 1994.
Anyone with information about the situation is asked to call Manlius Police at 682-2212.
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