Sauntering Swan Recovers from Lead Poisoning
The Orleans Police notified Wild Care of a Mute Swan strolling down Main Street, in front of Snows Department Store one day in April. They had an officer following the bird. I told them I would have volunteers come out ASAP.
Volunteers Peter Kosewski and Diane Midura rallied and got all the necessary equipment. Within a few minutes another call about the swan came in from a business heading out of town towards Rock Harbor. It was moving fast. Peter and Diane felt lucky as the Swan pretty much cornered itself by a fence near the Odd Fellows Hall on Namskaket Rd. It was pretty easily captured considering how aggressive Mute Swans can be. This guy was not feeling 100%.
At Wild Care, we realized it was too “Bright, Alert, and Responsive” to be examined in our small exam room, so we placed it in a large aviary after weighing and briefly examining it. The aviary had a pool with running water, buckets of food, trees to hide behind, a heating pad and mirrors. With cameras, we observed its behavior that evening. It was walking, preening and eating but seemed a little ”off”. We ran a blood test for lead poisoning the next day and found that it had a moderately high lead poisoning level. We treated the bird with lead chelation therapy over several weeks and he responded well. When we retested for lead, the level was thankfully very low. His appetite was good and he was much stronger. He was releasable!
Amy Webster, Wildlife Rehabilitator released the swan back into the wild. Lead free!
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Wild Care has a state-of-the-art seabird therapy pool, which allows seabirds and waterfowl to exercise on running water. This will help our bird friends recover more quickly so they can get back to their watery habitats!