Both Beau and I found ourselves in a precarious situation recently. And I have my beloved Carl, the swan that adopted me and ignited my passion for wildlife and writing, to thank for my having been in that position at all. I, who have only been in the lake once in 4 years (unintentionally, I might add; but that is another story!), was at Clubhouse beach with shoes off and pant legs rolled up, ready to go into the lake on a cold, windy November day to rescue a swan named Beau. Fortunately, we were both saved by the bell…fellow resident and swan enthusiast Patty Bell, that is!
Like most swan rescue operations in which I’ve been involved, they begin with a phone call. It was Patty who called this time to tell me about her regular, Beau, who had shown up at her house sporting an unfashionable necklace of sorts. Upon further discussing Beau with Patty, I realized that her Beau was my Jaws, a name I affectionately bestowed upon him due to his recognizable underbite (see photo). After a few attempts by Patty to remove the unwanted accessory, Beau became spooked and no longer would allow her to get close to him. The following day, Beau didn’t arrive at Patty’s home at dawn, as was the customary routine. And so the “hunt” began.
Postings on facebook, emails to residents with the help of another fellow resident and swan enthusiast Marge Eales, and driving around to various locations in search of Beau didn’t produce any sightings. So Patty, with the help of her husband, John, did a sweep of the lake on their pontoon boat. Surely enough, they spotted Beau at Clubhouse beach! Upon finding him, Patty called me. And so the “fun” began.
Beau toyed with us repeatedly for a while…coming close enough to the beach for us to think we had a chance to nab him before swimming away. As I was coming to grips with the fact that I would have to go in the water after him, I thought of a way to entice him onto the beach. I ran to the Clubhouse as quickly as possible, and Joey was right there to help save the day! She gave me a dinner roll, which Beau, like the residents who frequent the Clubhouse, couldn’t resist. One bite of that roll, and Beau belonged to us! He followed the crumbs we spread far enough onto the sand that I knew I would thankfully be spared the cold water.
Surely enough, with patience, I found myself in position to lunge forward and grab his neck. Patty quickly secured his flapping wings and pulled the plastic ring up over his head! Mission accomplished!!
My co-worker, Carol, realized that Beau’s necklace was actually the hard plastic housing or casing that surrounds a light on a boat. What most likely happened is that Beau, while feeding on the bottom of the lake, picked it up over his head accidentally. This could have had tragic consequences, as Beau could have easily gotten the plastic caught on something. So please…if you see any debris in the lake, take a moment or two to remove it.
It takes a community to look after our non-human residents, too! Won’t you please help us by joining our informal “wildlife watch” group? If interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time…”It’s another beautiful day at the lake!”
Pat Licata, REALTOR
Licata on the Lake