PHOTOS: Taking the Public Garden Swans in for the Winter

The pair of swans who live in the Public Garden's pond were taken to Franklin Park Zoo for the winter Thursday.

A day after Boston got its first snow of the season, the real sign that winter is upon us came to the Public Garden when its resident swans, Romeo and Juliet, were gathered and transported to Franklin Park Zoo.

"They never want to be caught but I'm sure they are much happier at Franklin Park Zoo than sitting out here in the cold," Brian O'Connor, the manager of rescue services at the Animal Rescue League in Boston, said. The swans are not native species to Massachusetts and don't migrate, so they need to be sheltered from the cold weather, he said.

O'Connor was one of four men in the water with large nets to catch the swans. Two others were on the ground. The project is a coordinated effort by city animal control officers and ARL Boston.

The animal handlers try to be as quick and efficient as possible so as to not traumatize the swans, O'Connor said. Thursday morning's capture took less than 10 minutes and the swans appeared calm. "They're used to it by now," O'Connor said. But it isn't always so smooth. Two years ago the attempt to catch them turned into a bit of a comedy show, he said.

Romeo and Juliet (the swans' names, despite both being female) will be re-introduced to the pond in May with fanfare. See Patch's coverage of their 2012 release and 2011 release. 


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