Swan lake

At UNR, mom does her time on the nest. This black swan has been nesting on the south shore of Manzanita lake, while her mate protectively watches over her.

At UNR, mom does her time on the nest. This black swan has been nesting on the south shore of Manzanita lake, while her mate protectively watches over her.

Photo By David Robert

A University of Nevada, Reno official says a pair of baby swans died on campus of natural causes. The birds, called cygnets, were found near Manzanita Lake, the pond on the south end of campus.

University officials closely monitor deaths of animals on campus, even doing autopsies. But that was not done in this case, according to a campus release, because of a miscommunication. Nevertheless, officials are satisfied that the deaths were natural.

Last fall, an autopsy determined that the death of an adult swan was caused by fungus infection in his lungs and esophagus. And there are predators on the campus.

“I think, for the most part, swan deaths can be the result of owl attacks,” university police official Todd Renwick said in the release. “I can recall officers finding two carcasses [in the bell tower] at Morrill Hall. We know how important the swans are to this community. It’s a priority to us to make sure they’re safe. We treat them like they are our family.”

Great horned owls live in the trees surrounding the university quad and are known to go after squirrels and cats, as well as waterfowl.