Adult male swan found severely injured in Lodi Township; authorities still don't know what happened
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 email@example.com - a reward of at least $1,000 is being offered - or call the DNR at 517-641-4903.