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

Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 49 3rd Qtr
Boston 65
Philadelphia 46 2nd Qtr 0:00
Indiana 59
Portland 64 3rd Qtr
Sacramento 50
Charlotte 43 3rd Qtr
Orlando 42
Oklahoma City 28 2nd Qtr
LA Lakers 19
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Denver
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 2 3rd Prd 9:55
Florida 4
Columbus 1 3rd Prd 14:42
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 1st Prd 17:52
Washington 1
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Dallas
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Vancouver
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 35 2nd Half
Wake Forest 37
Oregon 6 1st Half 14:02
Stanford 11
Purdue 6:30 PM
Ohio State
Arizona State 7:30 PM
Colorado
Washington St 8:30 PM
UCLA
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 53 2nd Half 2:25
(13) Kentucky 63
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
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