Duck, Duck, Trumpeter Swan?
Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation Project brought in a Trumpeter Swan to Dr. Cherney on January 29, 2013. The bird was thin, very droopy and had some balance issues. Interesting to note, the grey color of this typically brilliant white bird is not actually dirt—it is the young age. He (or she) will get to that stunning white color we most commonly recognize in the next molt or two. Dr. Cherney is guessing this is a fairly young bird, around a year or so. To learn more about the Trumpeter Swan, click here.
Because of neurologic concerns and overall condition, Dr. Cherney tested for lead poisoning. Unfortunately, this was confirmed. There were other kidney issues as well. She started treatment right away for the lead poisoning as well as fluids and antibiotics. Fortunately no other major injuries were found.
The best news is two weeks later, our regal feathered friend is doing much better and has gained about 2 pounds. He was much more active at re-check although he still is a bit wobbly. Treatment for the lead poisoning seems to be working and our swan should make a full recovery after continued treatment and rehab.
As a reminder, lead poisoning in our wildlife is a real problem. For our outdoor sportspeople, we recommend using products without lead (e.g., fishing lures, shot) whenever possible. Our grounds, ponds and streams are becoming increasingly contaminated. We are seeing more and more birds with high levels of lead and this is often fatal if not caught and treated early. To learn more about lead poisoning in a variety of wildlife, click here.