Sheepshead Bay’s swans are safe!

Live to fly again: Mute swans will get two more years before the state tries to kill them again.
File photo by Anne-Katrin Titze

There will be no swan song in Sheepshead Bay!

The costal neighborhood’s beloved mute swans have been spared in the Department of Environmental Conservation’s latest “swan management” plan — which aims to control the non-native species population in the seaside neighborhood without resorting to execution. The state agency is asking the public for comment before Dec. 13, Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) announced on Sept. 7.

The birds, which were brought to the New York region in the 1800s as a way to beautify estates, have become just as much a part of the community as the residents, the pol said, and it’s swanderful news that they will stay put.

“It’s clear from the new region-specific recommendations that DEC has been listening to the concerns of thousands of advocates in my district and across the state who don’t want mute swans to disappear from our communities,” Cymbrowitz said.

Last November, Gov. Cuomo finally — after two previous vetoes — signed off on the Sheepshead Bay pol’s legislation demanding a two-year moratorium on slaughtering the fowls by the state’s 2025 death deadline while the agency studied if they were really as harmful to the environment as researchers had claimed, because they allegedly destroy native plants, displace native wildlife, diminish water quality, and pose a physical danger to other animals, including humans.

The state agency solicited public comments over the last three years, and its latest plan now suggests managing the species, known as Cygnus olor, in Sheepshead Bay and other downstate regions by using non-lethal means — specifically by coating their eggs in oil, destroying nests, or inhibiting them from mating by only allowing either a male of female on private properties.

The plan also calls for outreach to the public to warn how territorial the swans can get and discouraging feeding, according to the state documents.

Unfortunately, the birds up north won’t get the same leniency, but will be targeted more aggressively. Nonetheless, the plan is still a win, since the swans will get to fly free, said Cymbrowitz.

“Many people in southern Brooklyn and across the state find the swans beautiful and a welcome addition to our communities,” he said. “The thought of the state coming in and shooting or gassing these birds is not acceptable to anyone.”

Read more about the swan management plan here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7076.html

Write in with public comments to Bureau of Wildlife — Mute Swan Plan at 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, or e-mailing Wildlife@dec.ny.gov (subject line — “Mute Swan Plan”). The public comment period closes Dec. 13, 2017.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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