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Ailing swan in New York gets help thanks to a wildlife rescuer and a ride on the subway

Posted at 2:48 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 14:52:02-05

NEW YORK CITY — An ailing swan in Queens was able to get help thanks to a trained wildlife rescuer and the New York City subway.

Ariel Cordova-Rojas was on a bike ride around Jamaica Bay last Thursday when she noticed a swan sitting apart from others along the shore.

"It seemed odd, but swans can be solitary," Cordova-Rojas said. "As I got closer, she stayed stationary. They're usually aggressive and territorial, you can't get close without them trying to attack, and I knew something was wrong."

She estimates she carried the 17-pound bird about a mile to the ranger station. Two Good Samaritans helped give her a lift to the subway station at Howard Beach, which she rode about 10 stops to Nostrand Ave;.

Cordova-Rojas has worked at the Wild Bird Fund on Columbus Ave. in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and knew they could care for the swan there. More of her friends helped complete the trip by car.

Once arriving at the Wild Bird Fund, researchers diagnosed her with lead poisoning. They hope to return her to Jamaica Bay soon.

Because she found the swan in Jamaica Bay, Cordova-Rojas has taken to calling her "Bae."

Wild Bird Fund Director Rita McMahon said it has been a busy year, even with the pandemic.

"We have more birds than last year," she said.

This story was originally published by Greg Mocker on WPIX in New York City.