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PROWLS reunites swans with flock

Trumpeter swan

Beginning in November every year, residents in the qathet region are treated to the sight of trumpeter swans arriving from their summer nesting grounds in the Arctic.

When they arrive, they have flown thousands of kilometres without stopping. This is an impressive journey for any animal, but, given that trumpeters are the heaviest flying birds in North America, it is truly amazing. It is particularly hard on the youngsters who hatched three to four months prior to beginning their migration.

Every year we get calls for swans in fields, beside roads and sometimes on forest trails, and it is usually young swans that have landed because they were simply too exhausted to continue. They are surprisingly easy to catch, and rarely offer any resistance when they are picked up and deposited in the back of the vehicle for the trip to Powell River Orphaned WildLife Society (PROWLS), although PROWLS president Merrilee Prior has been known to charge into the water after them.

Once at PROWLS, they are given a thorough examination. Those with no injury that are still feisty are given an emaciation formula and kept for a while for observation. Once we are certain they are able, we take them out and reunite them with a flock, so they can either over-winter here with them, or continue their migration if they feel strong enough.

These snow white, graceful birds brighten any visit to the lake.