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Lakeland selling swans to keep $10,000 cost of care under control

Swan care and feeding are just another line-item in the budget for the central Florida city.

LAKELAND, Fla. — A lake known for its swan population in Lakeland is getting a bit overcrowded and taking care of all the swans could get a little expensive.

That's why after this year's annual "Swan Round-Up," the City of Lakeland will be looking to once again sell some of the flock found at Lake Morton.

On Oct. 6, all the swans will be taken off the lake and placed in holding pens ahead of a medical check-up by a vet. Once the city learns of their health, it will take a count of the birds and see how many might need to find a new home.

As for why they need to go? The city says it costs about $10,000 a year to feed and care for the domestic swans. 

The cost of care is even a line item in the Parks Department's budget.

Let's just for fin compare that coats to a typical house pet.

The ASPCA says the cost of taking care of a large dog is about $1,040.31 a year. For small dogs, the average cost is $737 and for cats it's $809.

A city spokesperson believes they have around 80 swans this year after a successful nesting season led to the large population. Their best guess is they will need to sell between 16-20 birds.

"That is a lot of birds along with the other wild waterfowl that call Lake Morton home," Director of Communications for the City of Lakeland Kevin Cook said. 

According to a website for the lake's neighborhood, the original swans on Lake Morton were said to have been donated by Queen Elizabeth in 1957.

If you want a glimpse of the birds, the neighborhood group suggests stopping at the corner of Lake Morton Drive and East Palmetto Avenue, near the Lakeland Library.


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