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Teenagers who took Manlius swans thought they were ducks, according to police

Swans swimming in the Manlius swan pond.
Village of Manlius
Swans swimming in the Manlius swan pond.

The Syracuse teenagers who took four baby swans from the Manlius Swan Pond and killed the mother thought they were ducks, according to police.

The swans were reported missing after a Memorial Day parade on Monday. The three teens - aged 16, 17 and 18 - killed the mother swan, Faye, and took the cygnets on Monday, authorities said.

Speaking at a news conference, Manlius Police Sgt. Ken Hatter said the teenagers hopped the pond's fence early in the morning on Memorial Day, and attacked Faye as she was nesting.

The teens told police they did not know it was a swan, according to Hatter, and "believed it was just a very large duck."

He said Faye was taken and eaten by the family and friends of one of the teens. The baby swans were recovered in good health by police on Tuesday.

On Tuesday night, the co-owner of the Black Friday Bins shop said on Facebook that two of the four stolen cygnets were in their store, reported. Three employees were subsequently fired.

The two other cygnets were found at the house of one of the arrested teens in Syracuse.

Swans have been a beloved icon of the Manlius community since they first came to the pond in 1905. Village residents created a memorial for Faye at the pond, laying flowers around the perimeter of the fence.

The teens were charged with two felonies and a pair of misdemeanors, according to

Police said the two minors were released to their parents, while the 18-year-old was released without bail.

Marissa Carello is an undergraduate student studying magazine journalism at Syracuse University, expected to graduate in May 2025. As a student contributor at WAER, Marissa helps produce digital and radio stories.