Saturday, October 25, 2008

The swan that didn't go home

Today was scheduled to be a boring day at home doing chores and all of that fun stuff. I have just started feeling better after being sick for about a week (if you couldn't tell from the lack of posting). I slept in until almost 10AM which is highly unusual for me. Sleeping in usually mean 7AM max if I'm lucky.

I got one cup of Maxwell House down when I got a call from Rachel at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center outside of Portage. There were reports of an injured swan sitting on the side of the road about a mile south of AWCC. At first I was a little leery about responding. I was just starting to feel better, I've been on wild goose (swan) chases before and this was an hour drive away, and if I found him it was a two person job to catch him. I told her I was going to call U.S.F.&W.

I called U.S.F.&W. and got a message machine. Rachel called back and gave me a little better location of the bird and says she's getting all kinds of reports on it. There's only her and one other person working today, so they can't respond. I called Megan who usually could help me out but I knew she couldn't today. Bird TLC was at an event for Trick or Treat Town and so were most of our volunteers.

Megan suggested that I call Beki. Beki is a relatively new clinic volunteer who also wants to become a presenter. We've been to a couple events together. So I called her and she was excited about getting to go.

We met up at Bird TLC and loaded up with blankets, a kennel and bird drugs. Off we headed to Portage. When we arrived we drove along side of the highway looking for our swan. There was no luck the first pass or on the drive back. I called Rachel to see if there was any updates and she said no. We decided to do another pass but slower. When we started our search again, a van pulled over and asked if we were looking for a swan. We told him we were and he said he was also but having no luck.

We started our search again and withing 20 feet Beki spotted our swan. The 3 of us put a plan of action together and caught the guy. He's a big one, 9.575 KG. Have I told you it was +27°f and then minus whatever the windchill was? It was cold! We checked in with Rachel at AWCC and thanked her for calling him in. Then we headed back to Anchorage.

There was no significant finds during his first exam, but we'll have a DVM check him out on Monday. In the meantime it's R&R, fresh food and a warm mew.





4 comments:

Meggie said...

So glad you caught that little bugger! I know what a tricky job that can be. I'm sure it was nice having another three pairs of hands. Keep us posted, Dave, and let us know how the swan is doing. Hope you are feeling better these days. I was wondering why you were away for so long.

Susan Gets Native said...

All that for a SWAN. I do LOVE you guys.

Tina said...

What a nice ending to a sad beginning! I'm glad you finally found him and hope you and the swan are feeling much better. 27 degrees F brrrr... I hate that kind of weather and we only see it for a little while here in Pa.

Dave said...

Meggie - After an exam by Dr Palmatier, it was found to have a detatched retina and other minor head injuries. It was transfered to the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward where they have facilities that are able to take care of such a large water bird for a long period of time.

Susan - you betcha!

Hi Tina - We get those temps often. The swan is feeling better at it's new for now home.