The buyers traveled from all over Florida, with crates and carriers, to bring their feathered guests home.
The buyers, the new caretakers for some of the beloved swans of Lakeland, Fla., smiled as they cradled the long-necked birds.
The city last month held a public lottery and sold 36 mute white swans, divided evenly between males and females, to ease overcrowding at Lake Morton, their longtime home in the city.
Lakeland’s swan population, at Lake Morton and another city lake, had soared to 86 since Queen Elizabeth II donated a pair in 1957.
One Lakeland resident, whose husband was stationed with the Air Force in England, had missed seeing the swans in the lake where their population had been wiped out by 1953, Kevin Cook, a city spokesman, said.
She wrote to Queen Elizabeth II, asking if she would donate a pair from her royal flock. The queen agreed, and on Feb. 7, 1957, a breeding…