Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Swan is a Swan is a Swan....

Yes, we have had this beauty in for a few months now, so allow me to now regale you with the tale of her journey with us so far.

First off, this is the second juvenile swan we have had in since I have been here. She was found by her lonesome, which is never a good thing with swans, let alone a juvenile, as they stay with their parents until full grown. So how did she end up alone? She didn't have any obvious injuries, so, did her family fly off while she was sleeping...or eating? We will never know. And while I always am so excited to get to see them up close and personal, every single swan we have gotten in...

...has died....

...of lead poisoning. Every single one. I guess all the shininess of lead fishing weights and buckshot is too tempting to resist. Needless to say then, when one comes in, I ALWAYS brace myself, as I know it won't be with us long. Then, in came this beauty.

You can tell it's a juvenile due to the gray feathers and red/pink bill. Also, and this happens every time one comes in, I forget just how GINORMOUS they are!! This not-so-little girl (we are thinking it's a female due to her weight...a whopping 20 lbs!) stands ~3 1/2 feet tall.


To give you a better idea of just how big she is, I took some pics of various body bits during her initial examination. Observe. Her body......

....quite big and quite beautiful! Her feet........

...are bigger than my hand!! They of course need to have big feet to carry their weight and for when they take off, as they need to run for quite a distance to gain enough momentum for lift-off. Her wings....

...are VERY long. She has at LEAST a 7' wing-span. Again, she's a big girl so she needs all the help she can get in getting aloft and staying there. They are also very strong and a well aimed whack with one can break one of your bones. Needless to say we are all very careful when having to get too close to her or when having to round her up for an exam.

I love looking at feather patterns and her wing feathers are beautiful! So in she came and because she had been on the ground for a bit, we did end up giving her fluids. And we did this orally, as that was the best way to get enough fluids into her.

After this, we placed her in the Indoor Mew for a bit so we could keep an eye on her and where it would be easiest to catch her up to give her meds and food, if she didn't eat on her own. We also ended up giving her this homeopathic treatment for the loss of her family, as she HAD to have been grieving the loss of that bond. We eventually placed her out in the Heron Cage.

It was only then that we realized, after getting to see her walk around a lot, that she was favoring her left leg a bit. We took an x-ray but didn't really see anything glaringly wrong with the leg, so we chalked it up to the fact that she may have twisted it somehow during one of our roundups to tube feed her.

The next week, when Shona and I went out to feed her, we noticed something odd. She was now favoring her RIGHT leg! What is going on with this girl?!

The knee joint started getting very swollen.

When we took an x-ray, we could see that the joint was fluid filled....

...and after taking a sample of the fluid and sending it into the labs for analysis, it was determined to be an infection. Since we could see no open wounds, we again have no idea how this happened. So back on meds she went, this time to hopefully clear up whatever the source of this infection was.

Nowadays she is looking much better.

The swelling in her knee joint has almost completely vanished. And she is finally starting to put weight back on her right leg.

And she is still evolving into a mature adult.

Her story isn't over yet, though. Swans are a migratory bird and getting her back with her family group, even if she could keep up with them, is now impossible. And we still don't know if she will ever be able to use her leg well enough to run the distance she would need to in order for her to be able to fly again. We also don't have a place that is big enough that we would be able to use as a "flight cage" to build up her flight muscles if she could run that much. It's a tricky situation and we are looking at all of our options. But before we can seriously consider any of them, she needs to be able to walk correctly on both legs. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

As for next time, we will be delving into the curiousness of this photo:


Til next time...

5 comments:

Kari said...

Ummm, is the neatly placed mouse that from your owl "storing" things still? And the swan is a beauty. Hope she revoers all the way!

Kari said...

Oh, I forgot to say that I adore the last head picture of the swan. It looks like she has a small smile on her face. :]

Joy said...

Thanks for your latest post. Your blog is excellent, as usual.

ann said...

I hope your swan makes it...perhaps someone on the Island has use for a beautiful swan girl! I agree with Kari on the southbond picture of a northbound mouse!

~*~Ariel~*~ said...

Hey,
I've just recently found Wolf Hollow and your blog, and have read through the entire thing. I've been filling out my application for the summer internship this last week, and everytime I needed inspiration I would get online and read another post/scroll through the pictures. I've really enjoyed your entries, and especially the photos, being a somewhat-photographer myself.
Thanks for the added motivation in my essay writing!

-Ariel Bloomer