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Swans removed for safety

Bob Morehead

Herald Staff Writer

Abra and Cadabara have vanished, although it’s not a mystery how or why.

The Lake Anna swans, which have always had those names, although the swans themselves change over the years, were removed for their safety after a series of altercations with a pair of wild trumpeter swans that took up residence on the lake this spring.

“One, unfortunately, got a broken arm and is being tended by a vet,” Parks Director Don Patterson told city council at the May 17 meeting.

Barberton’s domestic swans, smaller and lacking the advantage of flight, had been bullied by the wild swans for most of the spring. Some residents snapped photos of the pair trying to get into the city building one afternoon after being chased off the lake, as if they wanted to file a police report.

According to parks officials, the wild trumpeter swan is a previously extirpated species the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has spent the last couple decades reintroducing to lakes and wetlands throughout the state. One juvenile of the species showed up alone at Lake Anna last year and caused no trouble. There’s no way to know for certain but officials suspect the now young adult returned to the lake and its swan feeder with his new bride.

“They get very territorial during nesting season,” Assistant Parks Director Tammy Simmons said.

Simmons said the swans did not nest at Lake Anna and they have no way of knowing where they did. As a protected migratory species, there are limits to what the Parks Department can do.

“We can scare and harass them by any means but we cannot touch them, trap them or harm them,” Simmons said.

So they’ve tried a variety of ways, including drones, “whiz-bangs,” remote control boats and dogs.

“They keep coming back,” Simmons said.

The feeder was removed and, while our swans were still there, they were being hand-fed. The injury was the last straw.

“It’s not fair to our swans to have them live in fear,” Simmons said.

They have been removed to an undisclosed location until the wild swans are done nesting, after which it’s hoped they’ll move on.

“I need the general public to know they do not need to get involved,” Simmons said. “We’re doing what we can. But by all means, don’t feed them.”

FILE PHOTO/Bob Morehead Abra and Cadabra placidly ply Lake Anna in June 2020. They were removed in May 2021 for their own safety after repeated altercations with a pair of wild trumpeter swans.


  1. Will on July 1, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    Dear Thomas, I am sorry to hear about your mom. I haven’t been to Barberton, but I’m sure it’s a lovely place especially with these wonderful swans. I’m hopeful they are able to remedy the swan situation and deal with “Big Swan”. Here’s to Abra and Cadabra, and their undisclosed location + safe return back to whatever lake that was.

    P.S. If Big Swan is listening, please disregard this message.

  2. Thomas Ramirez on June 5, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    I love the swans I lost my mom 4yrs ago and she loved the swans people just leave the ducks and swans alone I have reported I don’t know how many people for trying to hit the ducks or swans with rocks and stud sticks let just keep Barberton beautiful and respect the animals just like they are our own pets city or Barberton keep up the great work and thank you all for what you did to make lake Anna beautiful

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