The birds will hopefully have success mating and producing viable cygnets in the spring.
The release of two new swans at the Harbourside Golf Course went off almost without a hitch — save for a few talon marks on unofficial swan keeper David Novak’s arm and leg.
A mated pair of swans were released on Nov. 6 across the street from the Longboat Key CVS on Bay Isles Parkway. The event drew an audience of friends and intrigued passers-by, as well as Longboat Key mayor Ken Schneier and new police chief Kelli Smith, who posed with the birds.
The 3-year-old swans hail from Illinois and arrived in town on Wednesday. Novak had been in the running for another pair of swans from Lakeland, but as he was one of over 80 swan seekers, it wasn’t meant to be.
“With their lineage being from Chicago, the best I could do was to name them Chuck and Margie,” Novak said, referring to Longboat Key philanthropists Charles and Margery Barancik, who were killed in a car crash on the island in December 2019.
The newly named Chuck and Margie bring the total swans on the island to 10, and Novak hopes that the new pair will have more success with cygnets and will bring the population back up to 16 or 17 in the next couple of years.
After the birds were freed into the lake, they immediately went to each other before exploring their area and nibbling at the water’s edge. Novak noted that the birds look healthy and larger than the swans currently on Longboat Key, and was pleased to note that they were already preening, or getting rid of old feathers, and taking care of themselves.