Lake Eola's famous swan population is growing with the recent arrival of babies.
- Over 50 swans at Lake Eola Park
- 7 cygnets hatched recently, 12 eggs being watched
- The swans have their own Twitter account
The city of Orlando says seven cygnets recently hatched, and they are watching another 12 eggs. Two of the cygnets were lost to a snapping turtle and to a blue heron.
Swans are Lake Eola are cared for the rest of their lives. (Daniel Macaluso, Staff)
In honor of the new arrivals, here are five things you may not know about Lake Eola's famous swans:
1. Swans have lived at Lake Eola since 1922.
According to the city of Orlando website, an Englishman was raising swans on nearby Lake Lucerne. Swans were brought to Lake Eola when a territorial conflict erupted between two different breeds, requiring a separation. Now the beautiful but sometimes temperamental birds are a symbol for the lake.
2. Lake Eola now has over 50 swans.
There are six swan breeds, and Lake Eola is home to five of them. They include Trumpeter swans, Black Neck swans, Whooper swans, Royal Mute swans and Australian Black swans.
3. Lake Eola's swans have a higher survival rate than swans in the wild.
"At Lake Eola Park, we have an 82 percent survival rate for our cygnets," said park manager Chris Wallace. "In the wild, that rate is 27 percent."
After the babies are two to three weeks old a vet pinions the birds' wings, and the park cares for them the rest of their lives.
They feed naturally on the algae at the bottom of Lake Eola, but they also eat poultry pellets, cracked corn, lettuce and spinach. People can get the pellets and corn from feeders around the lake.
At the annual swan roundup, a veterinarian checks each swan and vaccinates them for botulism. Each swan has its own health record on file.
4. Cameras are watching swan nests.
Part of caring for the swans also means protecting them from humans. Last year several babies were stolen when they were less than a day old. Wallace says this year all of the nests are within the range of cameras set up around the park, so they can better monitor park activity.
5. Social media stars.