Miss Elizabeth Swan was found injured at Anderson park, Napier, 3 and a half months ago with a cut on her head and covered in oil muck and she had no water proofing. There were also no parent birds in sight.
When we arrived we reassured an upset young man who was hesitant to hand her over at the time. We spent some time with him explaining what would happen and the care she would receive.
Once we arrived back at the centre, Miss Elizabeth Swan was very cold, wet and pretty depressed.
After warming her up, attending to her wounds and started her on antibiotics, we placed her in a warm bath to begin to clean some of the oil muck off her little body.
Over the next few days she perked up and had regained her strength.
We needed to access a bath with the appropriate spray hoses to clean the oil off. We approached Animates in Napier and they were only to happy for us to wash Miss Elizabeth Swan in their dog wash facilities! (see videos)
It gained a lot of attention from stunned customers who never expected to see a swan in the dog bath! We were able to properly wash her and restore her feathers back to normal and we giggled as she became vocal and then started to help us throughout this cleaning process.
We attempted to return her back to the parents but unfortunately that didn't work out the way we had hoped. We had sighted a large swan deceased at the bottom of the pond and after watching behaviors from the senior swans no bird came back for her, despite Miss Elizabeth Swan trying as well on her frantic search.
As she was unable to survive at her age without her parents we made the decision to keep her in care with us until she was ready to return home.
Swans can become quite depressed if their specific needs are not met and one of them being their social needs, so Miss Elizabeth Swan had free range with our resident chickens that she'd bonded with for some company.
Miss Elizabeth swan was handled/talked to or fussed over by humans very little so this avoided any imprinting. Imprinting of the birds to the human can be a common issue when raising young ones, and we were happy to note her progress throughout her stay and that she was not interested in following us about! Once she had become fully waterproof, her day came where she was released back to the pond.
We went back to check on her the next day where we had sighted her relaxing in the middle of the pond.
A big thank you to Animates Napier and the cute dogs (and their owners of course!) who patiently waited while we cleaned her up along with the young man who'd helped her.
When working with wildlife species, we also work with our people.
It can be pretty overwhelming/upsetting for members within our community to witness cases like this, where sometimes we need to take a stand back approach and reassure, support the rescuers/finders whilst also helping the specie.
Seeing the empathy and compassion from within our community is truly heartwarming.
This is something we feel very passionate about in promoting this positive behaviour and we are so proud to be surrounded by such caring people within our community.