A rehabilitated swan refamiliarizes itself with its natural surroundings, after being released by the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society. Tanja Kerr, who originally reported the injured swan to MARS, was invited to attend the release ceremony. Photo by Tanja Kerr

A rehabilitated swan refamiliarizes itself with its natural surroundings, after being released by the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society. Tanja Kerr, who originally reported the injured swan to MARS, was invited to attend the release ceremony. Photo by Tanja Kerr

Four months later, rehabilitated Vancouver Island swan released

Woman who discovered bird with broken wing takes part as it is freed into the Courtenay estuary

When Tanja Kerr spotted an injured swan on Comox Road near the Courtenay estuary in late November, she immediately called the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society.

Little did she know at the time, the bird had been the subject of an ongoing investigation

“She was actually at the Little River Nature Park originally, and was unable to migrate last year,” said MARS rehab manager Gyl Andersen. “We had sightings reporteed to us throughout the summer – mostly people just checking in and letting us know how she is dowing, but we were not able to capture her at that time. She was too strong.”

MARS representatives responded to Kerr’s call and retrieved the swan, which had a broken wing, and nursed it back to health over the past four months.

“By the time she finally got to us, the fracture (left ulna) was already healed, but she needed some physiotherapy in order to have the full range of motion in the wing,” said Andersen.

That the swan survived in the wild despite its injury is a testament to its will.

Ken Speckeen, of West Coast Wildlife Control Services, holds an injured swan found at the airfield in mid-February. It was delivered to MARS Wildlife Rescue for rehabilitation. Photo supplied via 19 Wing Public Affairs

“It is surprising in some ways, because we have seen the photos from when she was originally injured, and she was quite bloodied, and looked to be in pretty bad shape,” said Andersen. “We are not sure what caused that original injury. But once the injury healed, even though she could not fly, she could flap those wings pretty hard, so I am sure she would have been able to defend herself.”

Earlier this month the swan was released, and Kerr was invited to attend the private release ceremony.

“I watched her for at least one and a half hours while she was preening and washing herself, she even tried to fly,” said Kerr. “She did not get airborne while I was there, but I would think that if she was hurt and unable to fly for a year, then it would take a bit to regain the strength and muscle power to fly… hopefully she can reunite with nature and her own again.”

Andersen was not surprised to hear the swan did not immediately take to the air.

“We suspected that she probably would not be able to take flight (immediately). When we did the physiotherapy we were just trying to give her the full range of motion. But she also had to moult her flight feathers, so there are a few of those that would need to regrow before she would really be able to sustain flight. We wanted to release her so that she could spend the summer in her natural habitat, rather than with us.”

MARS had another swan rescue earlier this year, when Ken Speckeen, of West Coast Wildlife Control Services, reported an injured swan found at the Comox Valley Airport airfield in February.

“That one is doing OK – it is a juvenile, and a lot of the first-year swans that we get are quite emaciated, so she still has to gain a few kilograms before she would be able to survive on her own in the wild,” said Andersen. “She is likely to miss her migration at this point, for this year, so there is the possibility that we will release her in the same area as we released the other swan.

“Her wrist is also injured, but there were no fractures that we could find, so it’s just a soft tissue injury.”

To report an injured wild animal, call the MARS helpline at 250-337-2021 or the after hours/emergency line at 250-897-2257.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

VIDEO: Rehabilitated Vancouver Island bald eagle released into the wild

RELATED: Quatse the abandoned sea otter pup recovering after Port Hardy rescue


terry.farrell@blackpress.ca
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Comox ValleyWildlife

 

A rehabilitated swan refamiliarizes itself with its natural surroundings, after being released by the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society. Tanja Kerr, who originally reported the injured swan to MARS, was invited to attend the release ceremony. Photo by Tanja Kerr

A rehabilitated swan refamiliarizes itself with its natural surroundings, after being released by the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society. Tanja Kerr, who originally reported the injured swan to MARS, was invited to attend the release ceremony. Photo by Tanja Kerr

Just Posted

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River dock fire spread slowed thanks to security guard

Creosote docks pose challenges for fire fighters

Scenes like this one in the dugout are all too frequent for parents and kids arriving to play baseball at Nunns Creek Park these days, spurring a request to the city to let them move to the Sportsplex in Willow Point. Photo from CRMB presentation to City of Campbell River
Safety concerns run Campbell River Minor Baseball out of Nunns Creek Park

Parents say ‘needle and feces sweeps’ have become part of everyday life for the baseball community

The cover of the newly redesigned Beaver Lodge Forest Lands activity guide. Photo courtesy Greenways Land Trust
Greenways redesigns Beaver Lodge activity guide

Guide has helped teach students for over a decade

Undersea cables are towed out into position. Photo Baylink Networks.
SRD looks at last-mile agreements for Connected Coast project

District to borrow up to $12 million — pending electoral approval

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
BREAKING: Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, watchdog says

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry could have lessons for other provinces: lawyer

4 reports concluded the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash linked to organized crime and the drug trade impacted the province’s real estate, luxury vehicle and gaming sectors

Pixabay
Island Health: two doctors, new clinic space to avert Port McNeill health crisis

Island Health has leased space to use as an immediate clinic location to avert health crisis

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

A poignant Pandemic Postcard Project submission has led Lesley Wright and Graham Hughes of Literacy Alberni on a new path toward anti-racism education. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
‘I am not a virus’: How one postcard sparked a Vancouver Island pushback against racism

Literacy Alberni receives $50K in funding to create web-driven system for reporting racism

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Nurse Tami Arnold prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine. (Kareem Elgazzar/AP)
B.C. adults 30+ now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Health officials made the announcement Wednesday afternoon

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
Watchdog: logging practices put Vancouver Island old growth, biodiversity at risk

Forest Practices Board has issues with BC Timber Sales practices in Nahmint Valley near Port Alberni

Erik Christian Oun, who worked for the Coquitlam school district, has had his teaching licence suspended for half a year. (Pixabay)
B.C. teacher suspended after calling students ‘cutie’ and ‘sweetheart’ in online messages

Erik Oun’s licence has been suspended for half a year, a decision made by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Most Read