Welcome to the website for the Longboat Key Mute Swans..... A tribute to the late Alan Stone who brought George and Gracie from Lakeland to Longboat in 1995. An Anniversary present to his wife Beverly, the swans reproduced, and thus began the flock that currently graces the golf courses of the Resort at the Longboat Key Club. The Resort, from General Manager Jeff Mayers to the groundskeepers on the golf courses, have never wavered in their support as responsible hosts of the environment that is shared by humans and wildlife.
The Longboat Observer has been instrumental in keeping the swan stories available to residents and other interested parties. Without the Observer, the efforts to make the swans a community resource would not have been possible. And without the kickstart of knowledge and contributions of Lee Fox and Sheila Bolin, and the ongoing commitment of Eric Bors-Koefed and the community of Camelot Lakes, the ability to manage and care for the swans would have been greatly limited.
Nearly all the photographs in the Observer and this website are courtesy of Dr. Lou Newman, a Veterinarian turned Wildlife Photographer whose first assignment with the swans was to chronicle the 2007 birth and raising of Cygnets. As fate would have it, the joy of the hatchlings turned into tragedy on the third day as Gracie encountered avian botulism toxin in the water. The photo of the dying Gracie's limp neck being nudged from the water by George stunned the Observer's readers and wildlife enthusiasts around the world, forever elevating Gracie, George, and their progeny to be the much loved icons they are today, fitting symbols of Fidelity, Beauty, and Family.
The swans provide us, in a compact lifetime, a series of events that encapsulate the essence of life. We learn from them, we relate to their relationships and conflicts, we share their happiness and sympathize in their sad times. We stop our cars to just look, to take photographs, to get out and guide them as they cross the street. We know them, follow their lives, and deep down we draw parallels to our own lives. Nature is powerful, and we all share in it.