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Posted on Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 3 p.m.

Adult male swan found severely injured in Lodi Township; authorities still don't know what happened

By Amalie Nash

The morning after two swans were found dead along a road in Lodi Township, the adult male was discovered in the area, severely injured from head wounds and badly broken wings.

The male was euthanized this afternoon at the Ann Arbor Animal Hospital after they determined he couldn't be saved, said Carol Akerlof, director of the Bird Center of Washtenaw County.

Area residents in flat-bottom boats corralled the remaining cygnet - who was uninjured - from the pond where the family of trumpeter swans lived for years near the intersection of Scio Church and Parker roads.

Police and officials from the Department of Natural Resources are still investigating exactly what happened to the family of four swans, long admired near that intersection.

They were last seen alive around 9 p.m. Friday. Just after 3 a.m. Saturday, a passerby discovered the dead adult female and one offspring in the road, surrounded by feathers.

It's unclear whether the swans were shot, but they had holes in their heads that appeared to be from pellets or bullets, area residents said. Police and DNR officials could not be reached for comment.

Residents gathered near the site all day Saturday, but the adult male was no where to be found. This morning, he was discovered near the pond in the area.

Sue Furda, who often stopped and had lunch next to the pond, was driving to church when she saw drivers pulled to the side of the road and spotted the male swan, who she referred to as "Sam" during her regular visits with the family of swans.

"I walked up and people said not to get near him, and I said, 'Sam," and he lifted his head up and looked at me," Furda said. "I started to cry."

Furda and others got the swan into a carrier to take to the Bird Center.

Akerlof said the swan was cold and weak. They warmed him on a heating pad and inspected his injuries - wounds to both sides of the head, a protruding eye, a broken left wing and a severely fractured right wing with the bone protruding.

"I've never seen anything like that right wing," Akerlof said.

Akerlof said it's not clear what caused the head wounds - an X-ray did not show evidence of bullet fragments. The two swans found early Saturday also had head wounds.

Ray Stocking, president of the Washtenaw Audubon Society, cautioned against jumping to conclusions. He said he didn't believe the swans were lured with corn as some suspected; he said they likely wouldn't come to the road for food if humans were there.

"We don't know what happened yet," Stocking said. "We need to be cautious until we know they were illegally killed."

The remaining cygnet was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center to be raised, said Sherri Smith, a volunteer with the Bird Center.

Anyone with information on what happened to the swans can email - a reward of at least $1,000 is being offered - or call the DNR at 517-641-4903.


The Swans

Tue, Aug 4, 2009 : 3:30 p.m.

This is such a sad story.


Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 4:17 p.m.

Absolutely horrific. I will now have to figure out a way explain to my 4 year old why the swans that he loved to look at out the car window are no longer there.


Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 1:59 p.m.

I am having a very hard time with this. I find myself crying over it everytime these sweet Swans pop into my head. Every Spring I would look forward to seeing the Male and the Female sharing nest duties. It was one of the rituals of Spring I loved most. My Husband and I would snuggle just a little more when we would see that loving family of Swans. The tenderness they would show to one another. We pass by this intersection a lot on our way to and from Ann Arbor. God Bless all of you that have mourn the loss of these sweet Birds. That is the one good thing that has come out of this, finding so many others that enjoyed them as much as we have.


Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 1:57 p.m.

This is do sad. How horrible and heartbreaking. :(

Laura Bien

Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 9:33 a.m.

er, sorry, "No Child Left Indoors" is Pheasants Forever's program...would have edited that comment had it been possible.

Laura Bien

Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 9 a.m.

I agree with hunh. Responsible hunters do a great deal to preserve wildlife and habitat. They have founded Ducks Unlimited:, Pheasants Forever:, Trout Unlimited:, and other conservation groups that promote habitat preservation and ethical hunting. Their conservation groups have many positive spinoffs too, such as Ducks Unlimited's "No Child Left Indoors" program: Good organizations to donate to as well. I for one tip my hat to the hunters who help preserve wildlife with these laudable programs.


Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 8:55 a.m.

Since when do coyotes or other wildlife have access to guns? It says in a few of the reports that the female was shot in the head. I know it's desirable to think that someone did not do this, but an animal did. But 2 things- Swans are not nice, docile birds. Beautiful, yes. But they will (rightfully) attack if someone is coming after them. Secondly, I find it hard to believe that they have been at that spot for that long, suddenly an animal would be getting them. When she was hatching the eggs, perhaps. But the cygnets were big enough that, as someone pointed out elsewhere, he was aware and watching at all times. I do have no way to know. But I have lots of animals on our farm, and also foster sick/injured animals, and this sort of act seems stamped with human. Yes, I *hope* not. But animals are usually much more kind in their killing. I also agree, hunters seems very unlikely. This seems to be an act by a person, a sick person. So very sad.


Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 8:38 a.m.

i am apauled to read, in the first story post, that this was suggested to have done by hunters. real hunters don't do these repulsive acts. infact, real hunters support and encourage wildlife. game that is taken is legal and w/in season. i am a hunter myself. this is purely a sensless act.


Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 5:53 a.m.

Perhaps it was mink that killed them. They killed 8 of my ducks inside a pen. All they do is bite in the head area and leave them lay.


Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 1:37 a.m.

If someone did this on purpose, actually planned it out!! I would hope that they would receive as much jail time and fines as allowed by law. As a community I think we should demand this. Whatever the penalties, it will not be enough for the person(s) responsible.

Pete Cunningham

Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 11:30 p.m.

What are the potential penalties for those found responsible?


Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 11:02 p.m.

Really?!? I click the crime link on this website and this is what shows first??? This is EXACTLY why I stopped buying the print version and will stop browsing the web version of this tripe. This is actually a slap in the face to residents that are concerned with what is happening in our neighborhoods. God I hope that the killer of these poor animals dont mug me on the way to Fleetwood... oh wait, you wont hear about that with the Snooze.


Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 9:20 p.m.

@fishjamaica - I thought of a coyote attack too. However, the more I thought if it, the less likely that seemed possible. A Coyote would have EATEN the swan. That is what they do; they hunt, they kill, they eat. The male swan found barely alive today had injuries that were caused by blunt trauma. Although we still can not conclude that the swans were killed viciously by someone, one must rule out a Coyote attack.


Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 9:07 p.m.

Perhaps these Monsters Among Us were in fact coyotes.

Mark Hergott

Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 9:01 p.m.

This is terribly sad, but I will not jump to conclusions. These animals could have been attacked by some kind of predator. We just don't know yet. That said, if you have the money, please donate to the bird sanctuary. That cygnet needs support now that its family is gone.


Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 8:40 p.m.

This is so sad. My family has just moved to this area because of the wildlife and I'm sad to say we were not given the chance to see these beautiful birds. Its unbelieveable how must I miss something I have never seen. Heaven just became more beautiful place.

Dr. Dave

Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 6:29 p.m.

This felony belongs in a class with the worst kinds of crimes, or Sins, if you will. Those birds have "trusted" people for years the way a child would trust a loving adult. Some ogre came along with corn or whatever, coaxed the birds to him, then butchered them. To place that kind of thing in the same class as auto theft or bank robbery, or even a gas station stickup just doesn't work for me. At least those felonies were born of some sort of greed or need motive. These beautiful birds, like innocent children, trusted people. Killing them was just plain senseless. I hope we spend a LOT more pixels on this sad happening that we spend on "lesser felonies".


Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 4:45 p.m.

so unbelievably sad. I hope they catch and make the persons whom did this experience the same sort of pain and fear these poor lovely animals did. By far, a most depressing story. The swans were good and innocent. A bright spot in an otherwise dismal time for the area. Who else remembers them as long as 15 years ago? Someplace, I have pictures of them from back then. Have to try and find them. I have made that drive down Scio Church from Chelsea to A2 since 1991. The swans always signified spring. A sign of hope. This year, the swans also let ducks and their ducklings be near them. They were just beautiful...and will be sorely missed.

Dr. Dave

Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 3:32 p.m.

My wife and I can not believe there are monsters in our midst who would commit such a senseless, cruel act. To say, "Shame on you" does not BEGIN to cover it. We are both heartbroken.


Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 2:26 p.m.

One positive thing we can all do in light of this tragedy is donate to the bird sanctuary who rescued the babt swan and is caring for it. Address: Mallard Marsh/7447 Stony Creek Rd./Ypsilanti,MI/48197

Brenda Sodt Foster

Sun, Aug 2, 2009 : 2:14 p.m.

This is just awful. I looked for these swans when I drove through this intersectiton...why?