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swanroundupThe best known roundup in Lakeland is scheduled for Oct. 18, but instead of lassos and horses, be on the lookout for nets and boats.

It’s time for the 36th Annual Swan Roundup at Lake Morton, and the fun begins at 7 a.m.

City of Lakeland Parks and Recreation employees will capture the swans and place them in holding pens in preparation their annual veterinary checkups Oct. 19. performed by Dr. Patricia Mattson, who donates her time as Lakeland’s official swan veterinarian.

The Annual Swan Roundup enables Parks and Recreation staff to monitor the swan population’s health.

It’s also an opportunity for some Parks and Recreation employees to reconnect with some near and dear swans.
“I love to see our amazing Parks and Rec team in action,” says Lakeland resident Tiffany Taylor. “The absolute best part is seeing how much these guys care about their swans. There is one in particular they raised in a kiddie pool and each year, they look for him and give him a little extra attention. It’s a cute little reunion.”

Queen Elizabeth donated the original swans on Lake Morton in 1957.  As Lakeland’s swan flock grew, it became paramount to give the regal birds an annual health check. The Swan Roundup began in 1980 and has continued annually since then. The swans were first cared for by original “Swanvet” Dr. W.G. Gardner.

Dr. Mattson has 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine.  She owns Companion Animal Hospital.

The roundup is a good time to remind Lakeland residents of the need to feed the swans a better diet than the white bread-rich diet visitors to the lake often feed the water fowl. As a result, many of the swans have a calcium deficiency. Please read more about what residents can feed swans here.

This is one area that will be reviewed during the swans’ annual health checkup, Dr. Mattson says.

Parks and Recreation has a line item in its budget for swan food and upkeep. It costs about $10,000 per year to feed and care for the swans, says Bob Donahay, Parks and Recreation director.