Story of a swan by Melanie Barsony
This beautiful young adult Black Swan was rescued after it kept approaching people for food. It was very underweight and was not afraid of humans like it should have been, most likely due to possibly being incorrectly hand-raised.
The swan’s biggest problem was that someone had done the unthinkable and cut off all of its flight feathers on both wings, a total of twenty feathers. Without being able to fly this beautiful bird would have fallen victim to a dog or fox attack. It would eventually molt and re grow its feathers but this would take up to a year.
The swan was cared for by Casino WIRES carer Melanie for two weeks where it ate well and regained weight and strength. Swans are difficult to keep in care as they need to spend most of their time in deep water. Currumbin Wildlife Hospital has a beautiful enclosure specifically designed for swans, so after gaining the appropriate authorization from Nation Parks, it was transferred up to Queensland.
After two months another swan was brought to the Currumbin Hospital, but unfortunately it did not survive. All was not lost however, as this swan’s feathers were donated for a procedure called imping, where donor feathers are attached to the cut feathers of a bird allowing it to fly until it goes through its usual molt.
This is a delicate and precise process using waterproof glue and dowel for inserting the donor feather into the existing feather. The imping procedure was done under anesthetic and took two and a half hours, after which the swan had a beautiful new set of flight feathers. Many thanks go to Currumbin Hospital for all their invaluable care and treatment of this special bird.
The next day, Melanie collected the swan from Currumbin and it was returned to NSW and released on WIRES carer Clare’s wildlife-safe waterway with islands. Here the swan was offered support food until it settled in.
After a couple of weeks the swan was nowhere to be seen, and just to rule out the worst case scenario of a predator attack, Clare conducted an extensive search of the region. Fortunately, no tell tale feathers were found, so we said a prayer and wished her well.
A few weeks after the swan flew away, WIRES received a call from Swan Bay (of all places) for a friendly swan who had left the river and calmly walked into a laundry. Melanie collected a fairly friendly swan, who was not our imped friend as suspected, but a smaller bird. It also must have been hand raised and was too human friendly. This bird was in care for a week then transferred to Clare’s wonderful property. After a few days if flew off, and Clare’s search took her to a neighbour's dam. There she found not one, but both the Black Swans! They were not completely wild but showed no signs of wanting any human contact. It is amazing that these two birds found each other and hopefully will stay together as a pair and help each other in the big, wide, often difficult world.