The 12-acre lake on the campus of Clayton State University is known as “Swan Lake” for a good reason. Since early 1995, when Dr. Barbara G. King, an assistant professor of Reading at the University, donated two mute swans to Clayton State, there has always been at least one of the graceful, long-necked birds floating on the campus’ most noticeable natural feature.
After a late afternoon delivery on Tuesday, July 13, 2010, Clayton State has three mute swans gracing their namesake body of water. Thanks to the efforts of the University's unofficial swan maven, Director of Media and Printing Services Paul Bailey, the University’s Swan Lake has two new residents… both female Royal Mute Swans… joining the University’s holdover Polish Mute Swan, who is named Belle (after Belle Watling in “Gone With the Wind”).
With the passing of Belle’s mate, Rhett II, last month, Swan Lake was down to a single swan. However, Bailey, at the request of numerous Clayton State students, faculty and staff, was soon on the phone, contacting Groen’s Wildlife Services of Cedar Lake, Ind., to arrange for the purchase of two new female swans to join Belle. The two new arrivals departed Chicago on Delta flight number #5712, on Tuesday morning, and Bailey picked them up from Hartsfield/Jackson airport and delivered them to Swan Lake Tuesday afternoon.
Above: Paul Bailey unloading one of the newest swans
Although Clayton State’s swans have traditionally be named after “Gone With the Wind” characters (the first two were Rhett and Scarlett), one of the new swans will be named Elizabeth. Media and Printing Services is paying for the shipping costs of the two swans, but Elizabeth Taylor of the Clayton State School of Graduate Studies has underwritten the cost of one of the two new swans, which is now named “Elizabeth” in her honor.
Above: Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Bailey with Elizabeth the Royal Mute Swan
Bailey points out that the three female swans should get along well, even though two are Royal Mute Swans and the third a Polish Mute Swan. Visitors to campus can tell them apart by their feet -- Royal Mute Swans have black feet, Polish Mute Swans have tan or reddish feet.