New York (WCBS) — An injured swan went on a wild journey from Queens to the Upper West Side on the subway, all thanks to the compassion of a few New Yorkers.
Bae the swan happily preened her feathers at the Wild Bird Fund on the Upper West Side, but it was a long journey to get there.
“She was by herself, there were a lot of birds in the water, and it just looked a little strange,” wildlife rehabilitator Ariel Cordova-Rojas said.
Cordova-Rojas, who used to work at the Wild Bird Fund, was birding at Jamaica Bay last week when she spotted the swan. Normally, these birds are aggressive, but this swan could barely move.
“At that point, I realized this bird is obviously injured,” Cordova-Rojas told CBS2’s Ali Bauman. “So I knew where to take her, I just didn’t know how to get to the Wild Bird Fund.”
Especially since Cordova-Rojas had biked to the bay. So she took off her jacket and picked the bird up.
“I scooped her up and then I just carried her for about a mile,” she said.
She headed toward the subway with the 17-pound bird.
“I had a swan in one arm, a bicycle in the other,” Cordova-Rojas said.
That’s when she met, believe it or not, a cat rescuer, who asked if she needed help.
“She drove me to the train station. Her husband, Don, is an MTA worker, he got me onto the train, carried my bike onto the train, I carried the swan,” Cordova-Rojas said.
She covered the swan’s head to keep her calm for the ride.
“No one on the train seemed to care. There was a guy sitting right in front of me, didn’t even give a second glance. Just another day in New York City,” Cordova-Rojas said.
When she finally reached the Upper West Side, another animal care manager realized the Wild Bird fund has actually been getting calls from concerned residents about the same swan.
“It’s been coming up recently, there’s an injured swan in Jamaica Bay,” animal care manager Tristan Higginbotham said.
It turns out, the swan has lead poisoning.
“When they’re feeding, they’ll put their head all the way in the bottom,” Cordova-Rojas said. “And sometimes they’ll pick up lead anchors.”
Bae the swan needs a couple weeks of recovery and rehab at the Wild Bird Fund, but once she’s healed, Cordova-Rojas hopes to bring her back home to Jamaica Bay.
“I think this just kind of really speaks to the character of New Yorkers,” she said. “If you need help, that person right next to you is gonna help you and do whatever they can.”
Leaving no man, woman or bird behind.
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