A swan named Bae has ended up in an Upper West Side animal clinic in the most unlikeliest of way, thanks to some good Samaritans and even a ride on the subway.
The adult swan was found in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on Thursday by Ariel Cordova Rojas, who said she was careful about approaching the wild bird.
"You cannot simply walk up to a swan and expect them to be OK," said Rojas. "They're going to try to bite, they're going to try to make some wing motion to get you away from them, but she didn't do that."
Rojas worked at the Wild Bird Fund on the Upper West Side for years, so she knew exactly what to do after finding the swan. She wrapped the 17-pound bird in her jacket and carried the fowl for about a mile while walking with her bike.
"I knew exactly where to go, but it was the how to get there which was a big problem since I came on my bicycle," she said.
But fellow New Yorkers were there to give her a helping hand — giving her a ride and even bringing her bike to the nearest train stop. One of the people was an MTA worker, Rojas said, who helped her get to the train station with her bike.
The bird boarded at the Howard Beach station on the A line, and got off at Nostrand Avenue. Along the ride, Rojas snapped a few pictures as Bae made for an odd train passenger. But as is typical, no other rider seemed to really mind.
"Nobody really cared because this is New York City and you see wild things everyday," Rojas said.
She was able to coordinate with friends and those over at the animal clinic in Manhattan, where the swan is now being treated. Rojas said the name Bae came as a play off of where she was found (Jamaica BAY Wildlife Refuge) and "because she was my date for the evening."
As it turns out, it was a birthday date — as it happened the night before Rojas' 30th. Instead of receiving presents, she was able to give the gift the healing to the majestic bird who is now on the road to recovery. The director of the clinic said Bae is being treated for a few things that ailed her.
"She's getting medicine for lead poisoning, she's getting antibiotics and anti-fungal medicine," said Director of Wild Bird Fund Rita McMahon.
And it could also be trauma that caused weakness in legs, but as you saw she's feeling pretty good."
The MTA applauded the acts of heroism.
“We appreciate the efforts of good Samaritans, including an MTA employee, to save the suffering swan, and are glad the subway could play a small part in its rescue,” spokesman Tim Minton said in a statement Wednesday.