It is with a very sad and heavy heart that I have to report that Hope, the beautiful Trumpeter swan, died February 10th. She had gone in for a second surgery for her wing. Hope was shot by a hunter late October and her mid wing bones were fractured by the pellets. Hope had gone in for a second surgery to remove this wing as it never was able to fully heal, the damage was just too bad. USFWS and ODFW had given us permission to do an amputation rather than euthanize her. She was to be mated up with one of ODFW's male swans in search of a mate and also flightless - part of their swan recovery program here in the state. We had high hopes for Hope.
Sadly, Hope was unable to wake up after surgery.
The main room here at Native Bird Care that we cleared out and gave to Hope, has been formally named, "Hope's room" in her honor. While she was a boatload of work - a minimum of 4 hours a day of just cleaning - we loved her very much and will cherish the time we had with her. She was a tolerant and patient soul who road through 3 months of rehab with virtually no issues other than her injury. This is remarkable given swans can be quite hard to rehab.
But Hope was a unique bird. Hope showed her graceful nature out on the water at Summer Lake last summer as she took new trumpeter cygnets around the lake. With 5-6 cygnets in tow, she showed them around the lake and gave them the stability and care of an 'older sister'. One of those cygnets - Fiona, Grace's cygnet from Sunriver - was also shot when Hope was, and tragically died from the injury.
At the Center here, she showed us much patience as we cleaned and gave her medications, and as we hauled her to vet appts for her weekly physical therapy sessions. Her personality often came out in the most interesting ways. For example, just to keep us 'in line' she would gently and casually reach out and fake bite us as we sneaked by her while we cleaned. But once we were done, she would honk a 'thank you' and take a big bath, splashing water everywhere. She will be sorely missed.
Here's to swans....gorgeous, amazing birds that are still on the brink. Impacted by enormous amounts of lead in our lakes and rivers, power lines, loss of wetlands and lakes big enough for them to breed on, introduced fish species like carp that eat all their food, and a few hunters who fail to appreciate their magnificence and shoot them.
And here's to all the birds under ODFW's care, may they do well and have lots of babies. And here's to ODFW, who are the ones who are making sure future generations of Oregonians have these beautiful birds gracing our lakes.
We love you Hope, and Fiona.
Author: Elise Wolf
I have been fascinated by wild birds my whole life. The current stresses on our wild bird populations is extraordinary, and helping them is not only an act of kindness and compassion, but demonstrates that humans do have the ability to be selfless and act with love towards their non-human planetary family.