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

Oakland - J. Lester 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Carolina 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Dallas
Colorado 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
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