Animal news: A sick swan rescued by subway

Since I’ve been obsessively watching and re-watching Acorn TV’s documentary series, “The Yorkshire Vet,” I know about wounded and sick swans. (In Yorkshire, sick animals are termed “poorly.”)

So I especially loved this really nice story from today’s Daily News, with a human hero who saved the poorly swan. The bonus is Daily News-quality puns in the title and first line.


Strangers unite, use A train to aid ailing bird

By Clayton Guse news Transit Reporter

This swan’s song is “Take the A Train.”

A sickened swan on the brink of death was saved by a quick-thinking New Yorker who used the city’s longest subway line as a makeshift bird ambulance.

Ariel Cordova-Rojas, 30, was riding her bike through Jamaica Bay wildlife refuge around 4 p.m. Thursday when she noticed the injured bird sitting alone in the grass.

“She didn’t move at all,” said Cordova-Rojas, who used to work at the Wild Bird Fund. “I approached, and she stayed still. Swans are normally very aggressive and very territorial, so I knew something was wrong.”

The bird lover scooped up the swan, which was unable to walk or fly, put her coat over her and walked the fowl and her bike a mile to the park’s entrance.

“I had no idea what I was going to do,” said Cordova-Rojas. “The ranger station was closed. Brooklyn Animal Care Center was too busy.”

Cordova-Rojas said she was ultimately helped by a group of onlookers who wondered what she was doing with the majestic fowl.

When she told them their story, the Good Samaritans gave her and the swan a ride to the Howard Beach station on the A line, while another man who turned out to be a Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker drove her bicycle to the station.

She rode the subway up to Nostrand Ave. in Brooklyn, and put a bag over the swan’s head to keep the bird calm. A pair of employees at the Wild Bird Fund met Cordova-Rojas at the stop and drove her and the swan to the nonprofit’s clinic on the Upper West Side.

“We appreciate the efforts of Good Samaritans, including an MTA employee, to save the suffering swan, and are glad the subway could play a small part in its rescue,” said MTA spokesman Tim Minton.

The swan turned out to have lead toxicity, and is in stable condition at the clinic.

“She has some lead in her system, which is actually pretty common for the water fowl in New York City,” said Corodova-Rojas. “Swans while grazing in water sometimes pick up lead anchors; little by little it leeches into their body.”

The swan may also have a bacterial or fungal infection, said Rita McMahon, director of the Wild Bird Fund. The clinic is awaiting blood test results to determine the next steps for the bird’s treatment.

“She looks pretty good, but she doesn’t want to move much,” said McMahon. “She has a nice big cage, and she has a buddy, another swan to keep her company.”

The heroic rescue came on the eve of Cordova-Rojas’ 30th birthday.

“It was a great way to close out my 20s,” she said.

A happy, happy birthday, Ariel Cordova-Rojas. You are terrific.

This entry was posted in Animal news, The Facts of Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.