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In a related story, two swans are AWOL

The Brooklyn Paper
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Two swans with fishing-related wounds have mysteriously disappeared, and some avian advocates fear the worst.

The pair of sibling cygnets, dubbed “Hooky” and “Wired” for their scars from fishing hooks and line, were last seen around Dec. 14 in Prospect Park by swan-enthusiasts Ed Bahlman and Anne-Katrin Titze, who remain concerned about the missing swans’ well-being.

“We don’t know what happened,” Titze said. “Why would they abandon their family?”

Last month, The Brooklyn Paper went global with a story that revealed how aberrant anglers had discarded fishing line into the lake and inadvertently trapped waterfowl.

“Hooky,” with a hook through his beak, and “Wired,” who had a line wrapped around his chest, were the focus of The Paper’s ground-breaking report.

Yet shortly after the story was published, the two swans went AWOL, according to Titze, who, with Bahlman, visits the swans daily.

Another birdwatcher, Larry Zirlin, said that no one should jump to any conclusions about the swans’ fate, pointing out that it is not uncommon for cygnets to leave their flock.

“Probably — hopefully — they flew off,” Zirlin said. “Often the parents don’t want them around after a while.”

Still, concerned parkgoers should remain on the lookout for two young swans with a mix of brown and white feathers, one with a small hole in its beak, the other with a string of fishing line dangling out of its breast.

If spotted, call 311. All calls will be kept confidential.

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Reader Feedback

Manu from Manhattan says:
It is unlikely that the missing two cygnets left the pen and cob to explore a completely new environment on their own - at barely six months old.
The young normally and wisely stay with their family through the first winter. Prospect Lake was not frozen in December and all the swans were established at the lake peacefully.
They are no threat to the adults or other cygnets at this stage of their development. Going into new territory with unfamiliar swans would be a recipe for disaster.
Mute swans and their brood are not that dumb.
Jan. 20, 2010, 12:08 pm
Michele Sevik from Kensington says:
If all concerned groups and individuals work together, we can do a lot to clean up the staggering amounts of dangerous garbage in the park and prevent future damage and injury.

On the bright side, I am very happy to report that FIDO, the dog advocacy group in Prospect Park, shares many of the concerns of bird lovers and is going to help by purchasing recycling containers for fishing line for use around the lake.

It is my greatest wish that Park Administrators become aware of the importance of caring for the park's ecology and join in our efforts. For example, if the park were to make signs informing people who fish about park regualtions and why they are so important, it will be enormously helpful. I sincerely hope they pause to consider this.
Jan. 27, 2010, 3:59 pm

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