Trumpeter swan rescued from polluted Vancouver construction pit


A trumpeter swan is now recovering at a wildlife hospital after spending a night trapped in a pit filled with bright yellow water.

The swan ended up in the polluted waters of an environmental remediation site in Vancouver after injuring itself on Wednesday.

The workers were shutting down the site for the evening when one of them noticed something falling to the ground in the corner of his eye. The entire group then heard a loud “thunk.”

“They don’t know if the bird hit something…but it landed head first with its backside in the air,” Yolanda Brooks, Communications Manager at the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C., told the Vancouver Sun.

The workers watched as the bird brought itself back up to its feet and then began to stagger. It seemed as though the bird would recover. Assuming it would take off once it did, the workers took off and left the bird within the site’s barriers.

Photo by Wildlife Rescue Association/PNG

Unfortunately, when they came back on Thursday morning, the bird was still there, and this time it was in even worse shape. They found it paddling along the bottom of a six-metre-deep pit filled with polluted water.

“Birds are not like helicopters, they can’t fly straight up,” Brooks told the Sun.

Although the pit was deep, it wasn’t very wide and its sides were extremely steep, which made it impossible for the swan to gain the momentum it needed to fly out on its own.

“They need space to move forward in order to take off,” Brooks added.

Photo by Wildlife Rescue Association/PNG

As soon as the workers found the bird, they called a local wildlife rescue team and then began draining the pit in order to make the rescue a little easier.

When the two-person rescue team arrived, they descended into the pit via a ladder that was already on site. At that point, the swan was paddling in a very small and shallow puddle, which made it easier to corner.

They then carried the bird up the ladder by hand and placed it in a kennel before transferring it to the Wildlife Hospital in Burnaby, where it could be examined for any injuries or issues with its feathers and skin. Although they plan to continue monitoring the swan, Brooks told reporters that they haven’t found any broken bones so far.