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Longboat Key Wednesday, May. 12, 2010 7 years ago

Swan family grows on Harbour Links pond

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Seven new cygnets, or baby swans, hatched May 2 in the nest of Harbour Links swans Henry and Vickie. Days later, three new cygnets were spotted with Wendy and Stan, bringing the total number of swan family members to 21.

Better late than never. Resident David Novak, who looks out for the swan family, said this year’s cold temperatures meant that swans got a late start mating.

“The conditions this year were not for a good year,” he said.

According to Novak, Henry and Vickie’s nest also had seven hatchlings last year, an unusually high number. Of those swans, four have survived, although one is currently at Save Our Seabirds rescue facility.

“The strong will survive, and the weak will be weeded out,” Novak said.

Wendy and Stan’s nest included an egg that did not hatch and a carcass, both of which Novak removed.
Novak hopes to bring a veterinarian to the pond to pinion the newest cygnets so that they cannot fly, a procedure in which one side of the swan’s wing is clipped. This ideally happens within the first 21 days of a swan’s life. The young swans could eventually be transported outside of the pond to avoid overpopulation.

The Harbour Links swan family was started 15 years ago, when resident Alan Stone bought original swans George and Gracie for his wife, Beverly, as an anniversary gift. Gracie died unexpectedly in 2007, and George was moved to Lakeland. Today, the Key swan family includes three mated pairs: Henry and Vickie, Wendy and Stan, and Alan and Beverly.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].

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