38th Annual Lake Morton Swan Roundup
LAKELAND, FL (October 2, 2018) | The City of Lakeland Parks Division will be on Lake Morton at 7:00 AM on Tuesday, October 23rd for the 38th Annual Swan Roundup. Parks & Recreation employees will be carefully gathering the swans to get them ready for their annual veterinary check-up. The swans will be confined in large holding pens on the south side of the lake for their annual wellness examinations with Dr. Patricia Mattson that will start the morning of October 24th at 8:00 AM. The Annual Swan Round-Up allows the City’s Parks and Recreation Department to closely monitor the health and vitality of Lakeland’s swan population.
The original swans on Lake Morton were donated by Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom in 1957. As Lakeland’s swan flock grew, it became paramount to give the regal birds an annual health check so the Swan Roundup began in 1980 and has continued every year since then. The swans were first cared for by veterinarian (emeritus) and original "Swanvet" W.G. Gardner. His dedication to the flock carries on with Dr. Mattson.
Dr. Mattson has over 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine. She is 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. Dr. Mattson donates her time as Lakeland’s official swan veterinarian. She said, “This is something that my office looks forward to every year and we enjoy helping monitor the health of Lakeland’s swan population.” She added, “Many of the swans have a calcium deficiency because they feast on white bread that has very little nutritional value. This is just one of the health concerns that we review each year during the swan’s annual health checkup.”
Bob Donahay, Director of Parks & Recreation said, “The Lake Morton swans are a community icon and families have been interacting with the birds for decades. It is very important to us to make sure our Lakeland flock is doing well so we schedule the Swan Roundup each year with the primary purpose to check on the health of our birds.” He added, “People may not realize but the Parks Department actually has a line item in our budget for swan food and upkeep. It costs about $10,000 per year to feed and care for Lakeland’s domestic swans and we really appreciate Dr. Mattson donating her time to care for our flock.”
During a four-week time span, seven swans were hit by automobiles with five of the birds dying from their injuries. The City of Lakeland has initiated a Lake Morton Drive safety campaign that includes an imposed 20 MPH speed limit with additional safety enhancements on the horizon. In fact, the City is asking for citizen input on ways to enhance the safety and mobility for all roadway users on Lake Morton Drive. A survey tool has been developed so users can study suggested safety enhancements and share opinions on possible solutions. Visit lakelandgov.net/citizenperspectives to learn more about and take the survey and share feedback. The survey is open through the end of day Sunday, October 7th. This tool is a powerful way to engage the public into the decision making process.
The City of Lakeland was incorporated January 1885 and has grown to become one of the largest inland communities in Florida. With a current population over 100,000 Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years. With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor. The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 110 years ago.
For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please explore lakelandgov.net.
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