One of the two baby swans born in Manlius last week has died.
Ornithologist Michael Bean said the cygnet was struggling to swim at one end of the swan pond and a bystander jumped in to try to save it. Bean says the cygnet died less than an hour later.
Bean said he believes the cygnet that died was already in poor health and was not growing. The cygnets were born on May 13th and Bean says the first week is a critical time. Cygnets absorb nutrition from the yolk of their egg but Bean says some cygnets aren??t able to absorb nutrition properly after they hatch.
Bean also believes it is possible that parents Manny and Faye had abandoned the unhealthy cygnet. ??In the wild, if they have a dying cygnet ?? it will attract predators. In the wild they would have abandoned it,?? said Bean.
Bean said he understands that the surviving Cygnet is growing normally and that while the death of the other cygnet is sad, it may have been nature taking its course.
??It was not starting to grow so it was destined to die. It doesn??t happen that often but it does happen,?? said Bean
Bean is also concerned about the quality of the swan??s diet. The pond was dredged last fall and Bean believes removing the aquatic plants took away a natural food source for plants. The swans are fed a balanced diet of specifically produced bird food but Bean says he would prefer the swans to also gain nutrition from water-based plants and insects.
Only cygnet from the seven eggs produced by Manny and Faye this spring has survived and Bean believes the problems may have started long before they hatched. He hopes that the plant life will return to the nearby pond and that the swans will produce healthier eggs next year.
Bean would also like to see the Village of Manlius move a fence so that the swans could eat some of the grass near the swan pond.
Cathy Stolz came to the swan pond on Wednesday to take pictures of the swans. She said the death of a cygnet was hard to hear about.
"This was the first time we had ever seen baby cygnets and they were really beautiful and we really enjoyed watching them over the weekend. We came back today to se them and it was sad to only see one," said Stolz.