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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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 portion of West Coast Road in Sooke was closed for several hours as emergency services responded to a “serious incident” on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.
West Coast Road reopens after ‘serious incident’ propted Tuesday afternoon closure

The road was closed between Grant Road West and Otter Point Road as emergency services were on scene

Grandmothers to Grandmothers is a campaign that connects Canadian grandmothers with grandmothers in Africa who are caring for children orphaned by AIDS. Here, they are in Kakuto, Uganda in 2018. (Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar photo)
Greater Victoria and African grandmothers celebrate solidarity with virtual concert

Grandmothers to Grandmothers supports women in Africa caring for children orphaned by AIDS

Naloxone is used to treat opioid overdoses. (Black Press Media files)
Island Health issues overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The advisory directs bystanders to an overdose to call 911 and administer naloxone

Supporter Gordy Dodd cheers on HeroWork Victoria executive director Trevor Botkin, who will be in a lift for 36 hours beside Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress on April 16 and 17 to raise funds for the organization’s next project, a makeover of the Salvation Army’s Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre on Johnson Street. (Courtesy HeroWork Victoria)
HeroWork Victoria tackles makeover of Salvation Army rehab centre

Executive director to spend 36 hours living in a lift as fundraiser

West Shore RCMP is seeking information about a collision involving a car and a bicycle on Six Mile Road, near the Island Highway, at 11:30 a.m. on April 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP seeks information about collision between bike, car

Collision occured on Six Mile Road on April 7 and a bystander got the blue car’s plate number

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read