Residents care for the swans of Lake Copeland

LAKE COPELAND NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION

Swan and her cygnets at Lake Copeland PHOTO COURTESTY OF ANDREW MARSHALL

Swan and her cygnets at Lake Copeland PHOTO COURTESTY OF ANDREW MARSHALL

One Lake Copeland couple has been helping the swans on this historic Downtown Orlando lake. Andrew and his wife PJ Garcia-Marshall moved to Lake Copeland three years ago, partly because of the swans living on the lake.

“When we viewed the home and walked down to the water, they swam over to us! We joked they knew we were animal lovers and sent the swans over to seal the deal on the sale,” said Marshall.

Neighbors believe that resident Bob Snow first introduced a pair of swans to Lake Copeland many years ago and that the current swans are only the second pair, having been there for five years now.

Over the years, the Marshalls recorded egg layings, hatchings and survival rates, and they researched food options, even importing special food from England. Eventually, they found Mazuri Waterfowl maintenance food for adults and starter food for cygnets. Marshall said, “The benefit to these two foods are the pellets f loat on the water, so it minimizes waste and is helpful for their digestion.”

The Marshalls feed the swans a few times a day, but only as a supplement to their natural diet, which they get from the lake.

“The swans are a joy to watch, especially as they raise their cygnets and we observe them teaching the young how to fly, protecting them on the lake, etc.,” said the Marshalls. “It’s a fun cycle to watch each year as the new ones are born in the spring, become part of the lake family for nine or so months and then fly off on their own [in] very late winter/ early January.”

The couple has also worked diligently to help educate those in the neighborhood who love to watch and feed the swans to understand what is good for them and what is not, i.e., no breads or processed foods. They do like a leafy green lettuce and the food the Marshalls order.

“We consider ourselves very lucky to have these majestic creatures grace us each day and [we] do everything possible to ensure they are well taken care of, protected and can thrive in their environment,” said the Marshalls. “We have even signed up to be part of the Lake Eola swan volunteer program, so we may further learn and gain contacts in medical care if needed, etc.”

The Marshalls say they are certainly not the first to enjoy these swans, nor the first to feed them, but they may spend more time down by the lake with them than most and have learned quite a bit about them. The Marshalls have grown extremely fond of them, and by all accounts, the swans fond of the Marshalls, too.

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