NORTH FORT MYERS — A farm in North Fort Myers is now the home of royalty.
Two White Mute swans, descended from the Queen of England’s Royal Flock, now live at Manland Ranch. It’s the first time birds like these have ever been sold to the public, but the woman who won them said she didn’t even know about the history when she first applied.
Danifer Quinones volunteers at Manland Ranch. She knew the farm was looking for swans for the pond on the property, and then, she heard the City of Lakeland, Florida was holding a lottery.
“A friend sent it to me through a Facebook post. I had no idea until she sent it to me, and I saw it and I just applied for it and I happened to get it," said Quinones.
“I was actually pretty excited because we had been looking for a pair of swans anyways for the pond, and... to learn that we’re actually getting the swans from Lakeland, Florida, from such a historic bloodline, was actually pretty cool," said Bill Faudel, the owner of Manland Ranch.
Faudel said, after Quinones won, they started researching the birds. They learned Lakeland was given two swans by Queen Elizabeth II back in 1957. Since then, they’ve multiplied to a point where the City had to sell some of them.
“This is the first year they’ve sold them to the public, so it was kind of exciting. Everything else went to private collections or zoos or whatever," said Faudel.
Faudel and Quinones went to pick up the swans on October 29th. He said it was quite the event.
“Everybody was excited, energy was high, and since she was the first one picked, we got the first swans coming out of the pens that they chose," said Faudel.
Faudel said the two Royal White Mute swans will soon be joined by two Australian black ones in the pond. Quinones said they’ve quickly made the farm their home.
“They’re happy. We let them go, and it looks like they’re having a great time. They love it over there in that spot, but they have a blast just running around, walking," said Quinones.
"This is their pond now," said Faudel.
Quinones said they have more plans to build a shelter for the swans to nest. The birds are only a few years old, and swans can live for 40 years or more, so the farm will likely be their home for a long time to come.