Swan Saga: How Lakeland takes care of its swans

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Swan Saga: How Lakeland takes care of its swans 🦢 | @catapultlkld

True or false: Nearly anywhere you go in Lakeland, you’re bound to catch a glimpse of our City’s unofficial mascot – the swan. If you answered “true,” you’d be correct. From t-shirts to statues to business logos, our royal avians – gifted from the Queen, herself – are an established part of our city culture.

Most of the City’s swans reside on Lake Morton where they’re cared for through a program by the City of Lakeland’s Parks and Recreation staff. Here are just a few ways the City takes care of our local swans. ⬇️

  • During the City’s annual swan round up, swans are thoroughly checked by a veterinarian and receive a health assessment.
  • Lake Morton is a “designated bird sanctuary,” which makes it a prime location for Lakeland’s swans.
  • Staff are tasked with filling feeders for swans + informing the public on what swans can be fed (FYI, no bread, please).
  • To prevent loss, speed limit signs were introduced around Lake Morton, reminding residents to watch for swan-crossing.
A city official attempting to catch a swan in a net

The annual swan roundup provides Lakeland’s swans with a wellness check.

Photo via The City of Lakeland

Wondering how you can take part in protecting our local avian population? Here’s just a few ways:

  • Drive slowly. Pay special attention to speed limit signs around Lake Morton, Lake Hollingsworth, and other bodies of water. You’ll also occasionally spot a “swan crossing” sign in areas where birds tend to wander across the street.
  • Leave the bread at home. While it’s tempting to grab a bag of your leftover bread, this is actually not the best thing for our swans. Bread lacks vital nutrients, and while the swans will readily eat it, it can cause them to fill up and not seek the necessary food they need. Additionally, excess bread in the water can lead to harmful algae blooms.
  • Give them space. We love observing our iconic city mascot as much as everyone else, but remember it’s always best to give wildlife plenty of space so they don’t feel threatened.
  • Watch out for nests. Long-time Lakelanders can most likely scratch “seen a swan nest” off their bingo cards. During late spring and early summer, swans lay their eggs and wait for new cygnets to hatch. If these nests are close to roadways, the city will often mark the area with tape or a sign. Remember that swans are fiercely protective of their nest site and young, and should always be given plenty of space during this season.
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