FERNDALE, Wash. -- It was nearly a year ago when members of The Trumpeter Swan Society and State Department of Fish & Wildlife captured their first group of trumpeter swans as part of a lead poisoning study.
The first one they put neck and leg collars on was dubbed “M-50.” Society member Martha Jordan was there for that action and she was there earlier this year when M-50 was found wandering in an urban grocery store parking lot. M-50 had been shot.
The bird had survived while 2,500 others just like her fatally mistook lead shot gun pellets for small rocks they eat to digest food. Jordan rushed the wounded swan to Sarvey Wildlife, where she was treated and rehabilitated.
On Wednesday, M-50 was given a new collar number, M-49, and taken to Whatcom County. Martha Jordan took her and for the second time, she released the graceful swan back into the wild.
Jordan was thrilled to see the elderly swan, at least 15 years old, stretch her wings and soar across a windy lake near Ferndale. Blood tests showed the swan still had a lead free system, apparently by choosing breeding, nesting and feeding areas that are were not commonly used by hunters. Jordan hopes she will lead other swans by example.
It is illegal to shoot trumpeter swans. Nobody has been arrested for shooting this one.