Another swan rescue! A few days after my article in Lake Currents appeared with my contact information for residents seeing swans in distress, I received a call from Holly Marshall! Thanks to the keen eyes of her dad, Fred, and Holly’s having read that article in Lake Currents, Holly called me about an injured swan. The following day, I was able to rescue Bella, another female mute swan, which wasn’t easy. I found her in Section 1 off of Mt. Pleasant, in the creek that leads to the lake that goes under Mt. Pleasant. The embankment was about 5 or 6 feet above the creek, and it was pouring rain. Thanks to Bella for her cooperation, Walt Benton, Don Roth, a helpful passerby, and especially Jim Simprini, who loaned me his waiters to climb into the creek and provided a loaf of bread, the rescue was accomplished!
Bella and I made the trip to rehabilitator Kaylee, who advised that she believed Bella had a fractured leg that healed improperly. Bella spent the night in a crate in my car, and the next morning we were then off to Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, where we learned later that day that, in fact, Kaylee was correct, and nothing could be done. The trip to Blue Ridge Wildlife Center was a trip I hope I don’t have to repeat anytime soon. Bella having been in my car all night (and, well, you know, Bella exhibiting normal swan bodily functions), I almost gagged when I opened the car door! Unfortunately, it was absolutely pouring down rain, so I barely opened the windows! I alternated between holding my nose and opening the windows anyway, with the rain coming in! The next day, I picked Bella up from Blue Ridge and transported her to Rikki’s Refuge, a fantastic place for many animals, but Rikki’s just simply wasn’t a great fit for Bella. Due to her injury, it’s best for her to be in water as much as possible, and Rikki’s doesn’t have a pond. So…more calls…
Well, if you know me, you know that I am extremely persistent! As a full-time REALTOR, I am successful in finding either the perfect new home or the perfect buyer for my clients. Why not put these skills to work for the permanently injured swan? I did just that!
After countless hours of additional phone calls, Sheila Bolin of the Regal Swan Foundation found a forever home for Bella…in Chicago! At first, the plan was to fly her to Chicago on Delta, but the regulations changed. So…I’m basically putting a stamp on Bella’s butt and sending her Express Mail through the US Post Office!! This is by no means a great way for her to travel, but the only alternative is euthanizing her. Frankly, she is totally healthy except that one leg and foot simply do not work. In the water, she’s fine. But because the lake at LOW freezes, she would freeze to death in the water, since she is unable to get out.
Bob Knox, the fabulous man who is taking Bella, is a swan breeder. He has all species of swans (whoopers, trumpeters, tundras, blacks), and a pond that he uses for those that are handicapped. The conditions are perfect! This pond is only 3 inches lower than the shore, so Bella won’t have any trouble thrusting herself out to dry off. Bob keeps a bubbler in the pond so that it doesn’t freeze in those cold Chicago winters. AND he has a male…so who knows? Bella may find a mate in addition to a perfect, forever home!
As I write this, Bella is swimming in my bathtub, patiently awaiting her “flight!”
My interest is swans began when I moved to Lake of the Woods and was adopted by Carl, an old, lone swan. It is in his honor that I do whatever I can to assist our swans at Lake of the Woods. Click here to read about my adventures with Carl; I hope he is proud!