When several swan eggs were destroyed in the Village of Manlius earlier this year, the community reacted in a big way. Residents volunteered to guard the second clutch laid by swans Faye and Manny and crowds came out to greet the cygnets when they hatched. A non-profit group's plan to give folks an even closer look at the hatching of next year's young moved forward in the village Tuesday night. Our Sarah Blazonis has more.
MANLIUS, N.Y. -- Simple pleasures like taking an afternoon nap or grabbing a snack are usually family affairs for swans Manny, Faye and their four cygnets, but their family is rarely the only one taking part.
"I've always loved coming here and feeding the ducks and the swans and now that I have my son, I like to bring him here as much as possible," said Manlius resident Anielle Gleason, who visited the pond Tuesday afternoon with her son.
Next year, swan lovers near and far might be able to get an even closer look into the earliest stages of the birds' lives.
"One of the most fascinating things is the process of producing new cygnets. So I'm working to really try to introduce to as many people as possible what it takes," said biologist Michael Bean.
Bean, who donated the swans to the village, has proposed a plan known as the SwanCam Initiative. The project would involve setting up a camera aimed at the nest to follow the birds' progress and broadcast it on the internet.
"I'd like to go in and explain incubation, because all the dynamics are really happening for 37 days inside the egg," said Bean.
Village trustees approved the plan in concept Tuesday night. An agreement will be drawn up between Manlius and Bean's non-profit, The Swannery Foundation, which could be approved next month.
The next step is raising funds for the project, which Bean says won't cost taxpayers a dime.
The program would initially run for three years and cost about $15,000 to start. A main goal is for local classrooms to log on and incorporate the process into lessons.
"They're getting more and more removed from wildlife and education departments are increasingly strapped, so it's harder and harder. So I want to try and take this opportunity to educate," said Bean.
The SwanCam could begin broadcasting in early spring, but will be shut off once the eggs hatch. Bean says the hope is that will lead more visitors to stop by the village to check up on them.
Bean says the success of the program will depend on donations. To learn more about how to help, visit swancam.org.