Trumpeter swan hit by car in Penticton released back into the wild | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Trumpeter swan hit by car in Penticton released back into the wild

This trumpeter swan was released into the wild by the Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society after recovering from an injury in their care.
Image Credit: Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society

An injured trumpeter swan that was found on the road in the Apex Mountain resort area almost two weeks ago has recovered and been returned to the wild by the Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society.

Penticton resident Brandi Hansen came across the bird, May 24. It appeared to have been hit by a vehicle. She was able to wrap it in a blanket and get it to professional care.

The swan was a juvenile suffering from a two-inch laceration wound. After ten days of care at the rehab society, the bird was released by society volunteers onto a bay in a local lake known to be used by other swans.

“Of course it was a wonderful moment, it’s why we do what we do, it was perfect,” society president Eva Hartmann said.

READ MORE: Injured trumpeter swan rescued near Penticton

Hartmann said after being in captivity some waterfowl's feathers lose some ability to be waterproof but the swan was “floating beautifully.” Wildlife in captivity can also stop feeding due to stress, which was the case for the swan which had to be tube fed while in care but it started eating immediately after release.

It isn’t common for the society to care for trumpeter swans. They are a migratory waterfowl that comes through the Okanagan to breed and sometimes overwinter because the lakes are large and don’t freeze over.

“They come through for various seasons so it was a challenge with this bird because he was found by himself, not part of a flock,” she said. “Normally they’re in pairs of larger groups.”

Hartmann in collaboration with knowledgeable societies that track bird activity planned the release of the bird carefully to give it the best chance of surviving and finding a mate, a task more complicated than some might think.

“We had to find a release spot for him where there was recent sighting of other trumpeter swans,” she said. “There are usually swans that come to breed in the bay we released him at. Since this swan is younger and hasn’t found a partner yet it wasn’t as easy as just opening a cage door and letting him fly off.”

READ MORE: Opening ceremony for inclusive Penticton crosswalk marred by vandalism

The once stressed and injured swan now has a chance to find a mate and migrate with a flock.

Trumpeter swans are protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act in Canada. The bird once lived across North America but due to Europeans hunting them, were reduced to 77 breeding birds in Canada in 1933, according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Because of international conservation efforts there are about 16,000 trumpeter swans in North American and they aren't considered at risk for extinction. The biggest threat to the swans is loss of habitat and other human-caused problems like collisions with vehicles and transmission lines.

The Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, established in Summerland in 2020, rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife and takes in animals through referrals from SPCA branches and veterinarians throughout the Okanagan.

Go here to volunteer or donate to Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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