MANLIUS, NY (WSYR-TV) - The anticipation of baby swans in Manlius has come to an abrupt and disturbing end.
Police are asking for help in finding who is responsible for smashing seven of the eight eggs just weeks from hatching at the Manlius Swan Pond.
Manny and Faye are the Village of Manlius icons, and they were going to grace the village with baby swans for the first time in eight years. Now, an empty nest is all that remains.
Investigators believe the incident happened in the overnight hours between Saturday and Sunday.
"I think they're [whoever is responsible] stabbing at the heart of the community," said Rick Recuffa, owner of Bella Cigna "Beautiful Swan" Restaurant. "On a beautiful day, everybody is around the swan pond."
Eight eggs were ready to hatch in May, but the shells and yoke were found smashed outside the pond fence and on the wall of a nearby bar.
Only one was found intact. Ornithologist Michael Bean tried to save it.
"You can take a light, called a candler, and you can shine it on the egg and you can look inside and actually see it's heart beat," said Bean. "Unfortunately, it wasn't beating. It was dead."
Bean donated Manny and Faye to the village last year. He says the swans probably put up a dangerous fight with whoever stole the eggs.
"Swans look nice and they're pretty," said Bean. "But if that cob feels as though his family is threatened, he will turn very aggressive."
The people in Manlius are as protective as the swans.
"You don't want to mess with Manlius when it comes to our swans," said Village of Manlius Mayor Mark-Paul Serafin. "I mean, a disregard for our wildlife, and a disregard for our village landmark. These swans mean so much to our residents. They represent everything that's great about the Village of Manlius."
Bean says the swans will go through a short mourning period, but they will likely lay more eggs in just a few weeks.
There is still plenty of time left in the breeding season, he says, and villagers can be optimistic.
Manlius police ask that if anyone has information about this incident, give them a call at 682-2212 or leave confidential tips at 682-8673.
Rick Recuffa, owner of Bella Cigna Restaurant in Manlius, says he is offering a $1,000 reward to whoever helps local police find the person or persons responsible.