More than 20 Lakeland swans sold after big population growth on Lake Morton

The first swan sale since 2020 took place in Lakeland on Friday. This comes after the swan population on Lake Morton eclipsed 50, a key number for the City of Lakeland. 

"What happens when we have over 50 swans, we notice that the swans start leaving this area to nest, and they go into the neighborhood. When that happens, we have more probability of issues with vehicles. We have more swan deaths," said Kevin Cook, the City of Lakeland's communications director.

On the south side of Lake Morton on Friday morning, Jose Avila and Yesenia Gonzalez waited with excitement. The Riverview couple was hoping to purchase two of 28 available swans that were for sale. 

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"They're so majestic and so beautiful, especially in breeding season, something like no other bird," Avila said. 

A little after 10 a.m., they heard their names called. They would be taking a male and female black swan home.  

"No, no names yet," Avila said with laugh. "We're just so excited that we got in to pick up a pair. We haven't even thought about getting a name for them yet."

After the city's annual swan round-up last week, they counted 73 total swans. 

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"The birds on this lake are prolific breeders," Cook said. 

This was the first swan sale since 2020, and a pair of swan cignets cost $600. Because of their social nature, male and females are sold together. 

For Avila and Gonzalez, the pair purchased Friday will join the four other swans on their Riverview property. They purchased two Lakeland swans in 2020. 

"It's so beautiful, there's not a more beautiful bird in the world," Gonzalez said. 

All 28 available swans were sold.