Badly wounded trumpeter swan is rescued near Waconia, treated

  • Article by: PAT PHEIFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 27, 2014 - 10:23 AM

Prognosis for the bird, from a “threatened” species, is guarded.

The patient is wrapped in a blanket and carried to the surgical table, where it is sedated and intubated. Dr. Renee Schott carefully probes the shotgun wounds under the wing with her gloved fingers and picks away dead tissue bit by bit. By the time the wound is packed with saline-soaked gauze and the surgery is done for the day, there is healthy pink flesh.

The badly wounded trumpeter swan was found in a pond near Waconia and delivered on May 20 to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville where Schott, 31, is a staff veterinarian.

The swan, a member of a protected “threatened” species, had three shotgun pellets in its body, and the wounds under its left wing were filled with maggots and severely infected. Two shoulder blades had been previously broken and healed.

“The wound is very, very bad, and so it doesn’t have a great prognosis,” Schott said. “We’re trying because of his attitude. He’s one of our feistiest swans.”

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center treats about 50 trumpeter swans each year, most because of lead poisoning from eating fisherman-discarded lead sinkers at the bottom of a lake or pond. Occasionally, a bird will fly into power lines and suffer broken bones. Some are shot, with the perpetrators often claiming they were shooting at snow geese.

“It’s very difficult to confuse it with a goose,” Schott said. “There’s a giant size difference. For them to make that mistake I think is just ignorance and not a true mistake. I’m not sure why people would want [to shoot] trumpeter swans. But they’re loud. And they poop a lot.”

Trumpeter swans are no longer considered endangered. Still, it’s a misdemeanor to shoot one. In 2007, a man was charged with killing a trumpeter swan in Carver County. Last year, officials asked for the public’s help after two were killed.

To the rescue

If it weren’t for Nina Salveson’s rescue mission, the bird surely would have died a slow and painful death, Schott said.

Salveson and her husband live on 24 acres between Waconia and Victoria. She initially thought the swan was nesting. Three or four days later, she realized there was no nest and no mate. After calling the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Three Rivers Park District and the Wildlife Rehab Center for guidance, she approached it to get a closer look.

“I could tell the bird was weak,” she said. “It was evident the left wing was broken. It was so sweet. It let me get within a foot or two of it. I gave it Reiki. Every once in a while it would lift its neck and turn and look at me. It didn’t hiss at me. It just looked at me.”

An expert from Three Rivers and a father-son team who are seasoned experts on migratory birds helped Salveson get it to the center in Roseville.

“They’ve indicated the bird will never fly again and probably can’t be rereleased into the wild,” she said. “Hopefully, it will make a recovery so it can be released into a breeding sanctuary.”

Salveson said the bird being shot “made me very sad and really angry. Really, really angry. It’s callous, it’s heinous, it’s irresponsible. They’re just so beautiful.”

She said an official from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told her they will start an investigation, but unless she actually saw someone shoot the swan, it’s doubtful anyone can be charged. For now, she’s just grateful for the help of the swan’s rescuers and that the bird is recovering.

‘In intensive care’

The outlook is “guarded,” Schott said. Waterfowl carry a slow-growing fungus called aspergillosis, which causes pneumonia, and which under stress can multiply and kill a swan. Veterinarians at the center will do an endoscopy to see if the fungus has taken over in the bird’s body cavity. If so, it will be humanely killed.

If the bird recovers, it could go to a breeding sanctuary in Iowa or possibly be released back into the wild.

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Saving a swan

    Monday May 26, 2014

    Staff Veterinarian Renee Schott , left, and Jamie Karlin, a certified veterinarian technician, worked on saving a Trumpeter swan...

  • Trumpeter swans return

    Monday May 26, 2014

    Trumpeter swans• Largest waterfowl in North America. Wingspan, up to 8 feet; weight, 25 to 35 pounds.• Virtually vanished from...

  • Veterinarian Renee Schott, left, and Jamie Karlin, a certified veterinarian technician, worked on the swan Monday at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland 1 Top 11th Inning
Kansas City 1
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs 1 Bottom 8th Inning
St. Louis 7
Los Angeles 1 Top 8th Inning
San Diego 1
Milwaukee 0 Top 7th Inning
San Francisco 3
Oakland 0 Bottom 6th Inning
LA Angels 2
Washington 3 Bottom 6th Inning
Seattle 0
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 4th Qtr 1:29
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 4th Qtr 4:21
Texas 31
(1) Florida State 27 4th Qtr 11:51
Oklahoma State 24
(14) Wisconsin 17 3rd Qtr
(13) LSU 7
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 3 1st Qtr 5:36
(3) Oregon 14
(25) Washington 0 1st Qtr 3:22
Hawaii 10
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 0 1st Half 25:00
San Jose 1
Portland 0 1st Half 25:00
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close