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Longboat Key Wednesday, May 25, 2016 4 years ago

Longboat an empty nester this year

For the first time in since 2006, Longboat Key will be without any newborn swans this summer.
by: Kristen Herhold Community Editor

For the first time in since 2006, Longboat Key will be without any newborn swans this summer.

The Key’s only breeding pair, Sully and Susie, laid four eggs at the beginning of April, but none hatched.

 “I am disappointed that we’ve had such a frenzy and bad weather, and conditions weren’t good,” said David Novak, Longboat Key’s unofficial swan keeper. “When they finally decided to build a nest, it was in such a hurry, and they put it in a location that was flooded a couple times. There was too much going on for it to be a standard nesting and three cygnets 37 days later.”

Although there will be no cygnets this year, Novak is satisfied with the number of swans on the Key, with a total of 17 — nine on Harbourside and eight on Islandside.

“I consider the population right now to be ideal,” Novak said. “There’s enough food and enough territory, and they’re separated and paired by gender. They’re satisfied with their lives, they’re playing together, and they’re feeding together. We’re at 17, and that’s a pretty good number.”

Because Novak is happy with the swan population, when future cygnets hatch, he hopes to place them in other areas throughout Sarasota Counry. He currently has two 1-year-old swans at Camelot Lakes in Sarasota, and Novak hopes to place them in their permanent home in the coming weeks.

“The cost to anyone who wants these swans from Longboat is zero,” Novak said. “In the interest of finding good homes, I don’t want to become commercial and sell animals. This is done in the spirit of the generosity of the people of Longboat Key.”

For more information on the Gracie Swan Foundation, which supports Novak in his care of Longboat’s swans, visit

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