City News Blog


This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!

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LAKELAND, FL (February 4, 2016) - The City of Lakeland successfully hatched Australian Black Swan eggs using an incubator.  Dr. Patricia Mattson with Companion Animal Hospital said, “We are so excited because there are no documented cases of Black Swan eggs successfully incubated before now.” She added “This is a great day for the swan program and our beautiful City.” Mattson is the official veterinarian for the City of Lakeland’s swans.


The City of Lakeland purchased a Lyon incubator to assist in hatching swan eggs particularly Australian Black Swan eggs.  Steve Platt, City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Supervisor said, “Black swans are not the greatest parents.  Our birds neglect their young and don’t take very good care of their eggs.”  The incubator cost $3,500.  Platt said, “We have tried unsuccessfully with less expensive incubators but this year we had three eggs hatch.”


Australian Black Swans cost between $600-$800 per bird and the City currently has 20 black swans in its flock. The City of Lakeland purchased Australian Black Swans in the early 1990’s.  Platt said, “We are really excited because our Australian Black Swans haven’t produced any surviving offspring in the past seven years.”


Swans made their first appearance in Lakeland in the 1920s as people’s pets but by 1954 the first population of swans was completely wiped out by predators and disease. In 1957, Lakeland resident Mrs. Robert Pickhardt, who was residing in England at the time, reached out to the Queen of England to help restore the Lakeland’s swan population. According to British law, the Queen owns all of the swans along the Thames River in England.


Queen Elizabeth graciously donated a pair of mute swans from Richard the Lion-Hearted’s flock to Lakeland, provided the City would pay for the shipping and handling. The two swans adapted very well to their new home in Lakeland, where their offspring still thrives today.


Lakeland has a flock of 75 swans that live in downtown Lakeland between Lake Morton and Lake Mirror. The swan population is made up of four species: Australian Black Swans, White Mutes, South American Black-Necked Swans and White Coscoroba Swans. Lakeland is also home to many other bird species, which makes it a great attraction for bird enthusiasts. 


The City of Lakeland takes good care of its feathered friends by performing an annual “swan round up” to administer wellness exams. City workers and volunteers travel the lakes by boat and capture Lakeland’s swan population. After the birds are caught, they are placed in holding pens where veterinarians check their health before releasing them back to their water front homes.




LAKELAND, FL (February 23, 2015) — On Thursday, February 26th those walking around Lake Morton will see a few new additions to the landscape because the City of Lakeland is installing swan feed dispensers to help promote a healthier diet for Lakeland’s swan population.  The swan feed dispensers will be coin operated and the bubblegum type machines will vend veterinarian approved swan feed. One will be installed on the north side of the lake in front of the Chamber of Commerce and the other will be installed on the south side of the lake near Success Avenue.


Dr. Patricia Mattson who donates her time as Lakeland’s official swan veterinarian recently shared her report on Lake Morton’s swans after their last annual physical.  Mattson said, “The swans are consuming too much white bread and the heavy gluten diet with very little nutritional value is taking a toll on Lakeland’s swan population.”  She added, “Many of the swans have a calcium deficiency because they feast on bleached white bread.” 


Bob Donahay, Director of Parks & Recreation said, “The Lake Morton swans are a community icon and families have been feeding them left-over bread for decades.”  He added, “With the swan feeders, we want to educate visitors so they will know there is a better alternative than white bread.  We hope families will use the swan feed because it is specially formulated to include much needed nutrients that will help the swans stay healthy.”


Members from the Parks & Recreation Department who take care of the swans recently visited Lowry Park Zoo to see what type of dispensers they use to distribute animal food and similar types of vending machines were purchased for Lake Morton. The newly installed swan feeders are coin operated and the proceeds from the feeders will be used to offset the annual cost for swan food, healthcare and upkeep.  


It costs about $10,000 a year to feed Lakeland’s domestic swans.  Lakeland’s flock was started when Queen Elizabeth of England donated a pair swans and on February 9, 1957 the two white mutes were released on Lake Morton.

LAKELAND, FL (January 8, 2015) — The City of Lakeland is offering its 14th Annual Citizens Academy to area residents starting February 26, 2015.  The Citizens Academy is a free, hands-on, interactive public information program that familiarizes citizens with City services and the functions of City Departments.
The Lakeland Citizens Academy allows residents to get a behind the scenes look of how City government operates and it provides an outlet for citizen input. The program consists of six (6), two (2) hour evening sessions. 

2015 Session Dates

February 26 History & Finance

March 5          Police Department

March 12        Fire Department

March 19        Public Works & Planning

March 26            Utility Services

April 9          Parks & Recreation           

The program is limited to 30 citizens aged 16 or older.  Enrollment in the class is based on a first-come-first-served basis.  All participants interested in the Citizens Academy are encouraged to attend all of the sessions in order to get the most from the program.
All sessions, unless otherwise noted, are from 6-8 p.m. The first session will take place in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall, 228 South Massachusetts Avenue (a light dinner is served at 5:45 p.m. during all sessions).  At least half of the sessions will meet away from City Hall and directions will be given for each City building or facility that hosts a Citizen Academy session.
The class will graduate with a certificate in “Governmentology”  at the end of the last session and a catered meal will be served.  Those interested in participating should contact Kevin Cook at 863/834-6264 or to secure a spot on the roster.




LAKELAND, FL (October 21, 2013) -- The City of Lakeland Parks Division will be on Lake Morton at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow, October 22nd h for the 33rd Annual Swan Roundup.  Crews will be catching and herding the swans as the initial part of their annual veterinary check-up.


The swans will be confined in large holding pens on the south side of the lake for inoculations and wellness examinations that will start Wednesday morning, October 23rd at 7:30 a.m. with Patricia Mattson, DVM.


The Annual Swan Round-Up allows Lakeland's Parks and Recreation Department to closely monitor the health and vitality of Lakeland’s swan population. On Wednesday morning, each swan will be given a wellness examination by veterinarian Patricia Mattson.  They will also be weighed, vaccinated, and given a microchip if necessary so their health can be easily tracked.


The original swans on Lake Morton were donated by Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom in 1957.  The swans were first cared for by veterinarian (emeritus) and original "Swanvet" W.G. Gardner.  As Lakeland’s swan flock grew, it became paramount to give the regal birds an annual health check so the Swan Roundup began.  This practice started in 1980 and has continued every year since then.


Dr. Mattson has almost 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine.  She the owner of Companion Animal Hospital a full service facility that provides general medical care, preventive medical care, vaccinations, health certificates, caesarean section, diagnostic services, on-site kennel, on-site laboratory testing, flea control, dietary counseling, spay/neuter, declawing, radiology, general surgery, dentistry, emergency services, microchipping, pharmacy services and boarding.