New York is recognized around the world and holds many famous landmarks, like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. But perhaps just as recognized in “The Big Apple” is the subway. The New York City subway is notorious for its endless characters and stories. People who ride the subway regularly will probably be surprised by nothing.
But thanks to the Internet, those of us who can’t frequent the subway on a daily basis can still get a taste of the strange events that go on down there. Recently, the subway had a unique passenger that was covered in feathers: a wild swan.
The swan, nicknamed “Bae”, took the subway to an animal clinic to receive medical treatment. But she wasn’t alone in her quest. A good samaritan noticed that the swan was sick and helped guide her to the medical center for care – which involved hopping on the subway.
Ariel Cordova Rojas had been celebrating her 30th birthday at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in New York City’s borough of Queens when she stumbled upon Bae. The beautiful swan was sitting on the edge of a trail, clearly unwell. Rojas happened to be a former employee of the Wild Bird Fund, a bird clinic on the Upper West Side of New York City. Because of this, she was easily able to recognize the bird’s signs of ailment.
Rather than continue on and let nature take its course, Rojas approached the 17-pound swan and attempted to help. As she shared, it was a bit risky to approach the swan because they can be quite aggressive. She said, “They will protect themselves with all their might, hissing, biting and striking with their wings (which are very powerful and can possibly break bones).” However, Bae was too weak to fight back.
Rojas wrapped Bae in her jacket and set off to the Wild Bird Fund to get her help. However, they faced a dilemma: The clinic was 24 miles away and Rojas only had a bicycle as a mode of transportation.
Determined to get Bae the help she needed, Rojas set off on foot. They began the walk to the beginning of the trailhead. Once there, they received kindness from strangers who helped get them to the nearest subway station. While you might expect people to be curious about a girl holding a giant swan, no one seemed to bat an eye. Typical New York subway stuff.
Once Bae was delivered to the Wild Bird Fund, they discovered she needed treatment for lead poisoning, weak legs, and a fungal infection. Thankfully, she’s making a wonderful recovery. She’s even made a friend at the clinic, Pearl!
Though both swans have a long road to full recovery, at least they can keep each other company.
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