Swan nesting begins on Lake Morton, drivers urged to take caution

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – While swan nesting season can bring about cygnets, it can also bring risks for swans traveling back and forth to their nests.

“We’re asking our citizenry and those driving around the lake to be vigilant and adhere to the 20 mile per hour speed limit,” said Kevin Cook, communications director, city of Lakeland.

Taped off nests are visible around Lake Morton to protect the nest and eggs from the public.

It’s a time that can bring joy and loss to the people around Lake Morton who love and admire the swans.

“It is especially exciting right now because we watched the Black Neck swan lose its mate last year and it was heartbreaking. I get choked up thinking about it,” said Dilsey Cassel, who lives near Lake Morton and visits the birds often.

The swan’s partner was hit by a car last year. But it has a new mate now, a White Mute swan, and a cygnet on the way.

“Swans typically mate for life and they don’t find another mate and they certainly don’t go outside of their species. This is kind of new for us,” said Cook.

The nesting attracts onlookers from across Lakeland to see the nests and cygnets that are born.

“This time of year the birds are nesting. So we try not to get close to them but it’s really fun to see them,” said Sheri Greenhoe who was visiting Lake Morton with her husband, Jim.

“Our swans are in a busy downtown area of Lake Morton. There’s a lot of traffic around Lake Morton Drive,” explained Cook.

While some swans can find spots to nest along the lake, others have to venture across Lake Morton Drive to find shrubs and other features they can use as cover.

“The swans nesting in the neighborhood have to waddle their way to the lake for water and food so this makes them very vulnerable when travelling across the busy roadway,” said Steve “Swanfather” Platt, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor for the City’s Parks & Recreation Department said. “Once a female swan lays its eggs, it is roughly a 40-day time period before the eggs start to hatch. So, it’s back and forth to the nest and to the lake for at least 40-days.”

Nesting season lasts through the spring.

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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