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March 31, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Meadows of Shame

SWAN SONG: A tribute to John Boy Walton

The Brooklyn Paper
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John Boy Walton, a Prospect Park swan with gray plumage and a relentless appetite for breadcrumbs, is dead. She was a cygnet.

The cause of death is believed to be murder, though some say that the swan’s rapid decline from good health to bad last week was due to a contaminated ecosystem.

Whatever the cause, John Boy, who despite the name is actually a female, was one of seven beloved swans on the lake in the southern portion of Brooklyn’s central park, having arrived there only on Jan. 10 with her airborne companion, Grandpa Walton.

Susan Yuen, who called Animal Care and Control to rescue the felled feathered creature, fondly remembered John Boy as an assertive bird that did not allow her newcomer-status to deter his desire for food scraps.

“She was always the first one swimming up to you to get food,” Yuen said.

Ed Bahlman, another swan-lover, remembered her in a similar light.

“She was a show-off,” Bahlman said. “When she came over to you, she gave the impression she was walking on water.”

But despite John Boy’s brazen nature, Bahlman perceived a true companionship among the swan families.

“When John Boy was sitting on the bottom of the lakebed, I saw Ziggy [one of the swans] go over there and put his left webbed foot on John Boy’s back — like a consoling gesture — I’m not making this up. It was as if he were saying, ‘We know you’re not well,’” Bahlman said.

John Boy is survived by Grandpa Walton and many human admirers.

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