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Swan survived a mass waterfowl casualty and Think Wild nursed it back to health

PHOTO COURTESY THINK WILD - Think Wild released Tundra Swan after two weeks of rehab at the facility. The swan survived a mass cassualty of waterfowl in Harney County on Nov. 9.

Think Wild successfully released a Tundra swan back to the wild after two weeks of care at their wildlife rehabilitation hospital in Bend. The swan was brought to Think Wild after sustaining injuries from a collision event during migration near the town of Drewsey, Oregon, on Nov. 9.

The swan was released at the Summer Lake Wildlife Area, a wildlife refuge that serves as an important stop for waterfowl migrating south along the Pacific Flyway. Upon arrival, staff were excited to find dozens of swans already present in the area for the recovered patient to join and continue his migration. The release went smoothly, with the tundra swan swiftly exiting the crate to enter the water and then fly off across the lake.

Tundra swans are large waterfowl native to North America. They spend their summers breeding and feeding in the arctic tundra in northern Alaska and Canada, and migrate south to coastal estuaries, wetlands, and large lakes for the winter. Tundra swans are most common in Central Oregon during fall and spring migrations, and can be spotted throughout the Willamette Valley and south into California's Central Valley during the winter.

Migration routes can be long and dangerous for birds. Tundra swans migrate long distances, sometimes traveling day and night for as much as 1,000 miles at a time. Climate trends toward larger, wetter storm systems on the West Coast during fall migration, as well as drought and habitat degradation, may affect tundra swans' population success over time. This year's quick transition from unseasonably warm fall temperatures to freezing snow storms may have contributed to this migration casualty event in Harney County a few weeks ago.

Information provided by Think Wild, and wildlife rehabilitation and rescue facility in Bend.


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