“And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,” (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)
In 2014 I wrote about going birdwatching at Lake Morton – Lake Morton Birdwatching after Round-up . Well, they are currently in the midst of doing so again. Today’s paper mentioned the annual round-up and thought you might enjoy seeing this years version. First, here is a video from last year:
“For some reason, Steve Platt, the Lakeland Parks and Recreation guy in charge of the 2016 Swan Roundup, agreed to let me on a boat to go after the target of the morning.
This is the 36th annual swan roundup. It takes place on picturesque Lake Morton.
On the day one, Tuesday, city employees catch the swans. The following day, local veterinarian Dr. Patricia Mattson and her staff give the swans physicals. They weigh, vaccinate and microchip the birds.
“The Lake Morton swans are a community icon and families have been interacting with the birds for decades,” explained Bob Donahay, director of parks & recreation. “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.”
Dr. Mattson, and the folks who preceded her, Dr. Geoffrey Gardner and his dad, Dr. Wade Gardner, provide their services for free.
This year, the goal was to catch close to 70 swans to get them ready for their physicals on Wednesday.
“The swans are consuming too much white bread and the heavy gluten diet, with very little nutritional value, is taking a toll on Lakeland’s swan population,” Dr. Mattson offered. “Many of the swans have a calcium deficiency because they feast on bleached white bread and this is just one of the items that will be reviewed during the swans’ annual health checkup.”
I got onto the boat, laid on my stomach, and held a big fishing net in my right hand. In an instant, I was zipping across the water. There ahead, floating peacefully was the target — a beautiful white mute swan.
As we got closer, the swan realized something was up and began to swim faster and faster away from the rumble of the rumble of the motor. As we closed in, thinking I would never pull this off, I try to net the swan, and to my amazement, I did. It was quite an adrenaline rush.
With instruction, I grabbed the massive bird, carefully keeping its wings and big floppy feet from breaking loose of my grip. When we got back to shore, I put it into a holding pen where it will stay until tomorrow.
That’s when the real fun will begin. An assembly line of workers will take each swan one by one to the vet who will weigh it, take a blood sample, and record the findings.
After that, Lakeland’s most loved residents are good for another year.
In Genesis 1:28, originally dominion over the birds was given to Adam. That meant to care for them. I am glad that the city of Lakeland cares about their Swans.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. (Psalms 40:5 NASB)
We finally took some time to go see what birds were at Lake Howard. I was a little disappointed that the winter birds haven’t started arriving yet. It is either that, or the fact that they have been re-working the shoreline at the park. They are making it more “people-friendly,” but seem to be making it less “bird-friendly.” Trust that is not going to keep our Wood Ducks, Ring-neck Ducks and Ruddies away. None of them were present.
I really didn’t check the whole lake though. I have been having some leg issues and haven’t been birdwatching lately. In fact, I only crossed the street and birded right there by the shore. You might keep me in your prayers. Had a Doctor appointment today with encouraging word, especially that surgery most like can be avoided on my feet. Friday, another appointment to start some physical therapy for my left leg. It has been weak and causing me to “waddle” like the ducks. Never heard of a “Lee Duck” have you? Hope not.
Here are some of the photos taken Saturday by the shore of Lake Morton. There are still some swans in the pens after the recent yearly round-up of the swans. They gave them all vaccinations. Rounded up well over a hundred of them.
Mute Swan in pen at Lake Morton by Lee
And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)
I found this very interesting video from YouTube when they did the round-up in 2010.
This link is to this year’s story about the Swan Round-up. (It has some neat photos)