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Eggs-cruciating! Park stewards investigating disappearance of swan eggs from Prospect Park

Vanished: One of Prospect Park’s swans with her eggs, before they suddenly disappeared sometime last weekend.
Prospect Park Alliance

Call it a hard-boiled mystery!

The city is investigating the disappearance of seven swan eggs from Brooklyn’s Backyard over the weekend, and the meadow’s chief steward is asking local bird watchers to share any information they might have in an effort to solve the mystery of the missing cygnets.

“A key part of the Alliance’s mission is to sustain our natural areas as a habitat for wildlife,” said Sue Donoghue, president of the Prospect Park Alliance, which maintains the green space. “Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks were distressed to learn about the missing swan eggs, and are investigating this incident.”

The mute swan couple made their nest near the Lullwater Bridge north of Prospect Park Lake about three weeks ago, and Forestry, Wildlife and Aquatic Technician Marty Woess — who famously saved a wounded swan frozen in Prospect Park Lake last winter — has kept a watchful eye on the doting parents and their clutch of eggs ever since, according to Deborah Kirschner, a spokeswoman for the Prospect Park Alliance.

But parkgoers noticed the swans cruising along the surface of the lake — and not guarding their nest — over the weekend, and Woess stopped by to confirm that their eggs had been nabbed.

Neither the Alliance, nor the city’s Parks Department have identified a suspect in the dastardly egg-napping, although — while investigators aren’t ruling out woodland predators — the tidiness of the crime scene suggests that raccoons are not to blame.

If sleuths from either the Urban Park Rangers, the Parks Enforcement Patrol, or the NYPD identify a two-legged culprit, they could be subject to misdemeanor animal abuse charges as punishment for the eggs’ theft, according to Parks Department spokeswoman Maeri Ferguson.

Had the eggs been left to hatch, the fuzzy cygnets would have graced lake before the end of May, and borough bird lovers were bummed to hear they’d miss out on the spectacle, according to one avian fanatic.

“Everyone loves the babies,” said Brooklyn Bird Club member Stanley Greenberg. “They’re so fluffy and cute.”

Mute swans are considered an invasive species by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which in 2014 pushed a plan to eradicate the aquatic birds to protect the state’s ecosystem, but quickly abandoned the scheme in the face of intense public outrage.

This isn’t the first time wildlife has vanished from Prospect Park under mysterious circumstances. A group of five women were spotted poaching turtles from Prospect Park Lake in 2017.

Donoghue is asking anyone with information on the eggs’ disappearance to call 311, or email the Alliance at info@prospectpark.org.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Prospect Park Alliance

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