Wild Swan Rides The Subway To Get The Help She Needs

Just another day in New York 😂

On the eve of her 30th birthday, Ariel Cordova-Rojas decided to bike to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for some birding. She intended to enjoy nature from a respectful distance but wound up having a much more hands-on experience.

Cordova-Rojas, a former animal care manager at the Wild Bird Fund, saw a mute swan on the ground, sitting apart from the others. "Something about her just didn't seem right," Cordova-Rojas told the Wild Bird Fund. "I just couldn't leave her there."

Sick swan rescued in New York
Ariel Cordova-Rojas

Cordova-Rojas approached the swan, who was unable to stand. When she attempted to drag herself away with her wings, Cordova-Rojas jumped into action — picking up the 17-pound swan and carrying her for a mile to the park entrance, where a kind stranger gave them a ride to the subway.

Woman carries sick swan to safety
Josh Spector

New Yorkers didn’t raise an eyebrow when Cordova-Rojas boarded the train with the swan, whom she nicknamed Bae.

Sick swan takes the New York subway
Ariel Cordova-Rojas

Staff members from the Wild Bird Fund met Cordova-Rojas at the subway station and drove them the rest of the way to the clinic, where they discovered that the swan was suffering from an infection and lead poisoning.

Cordova-Rojas had found her just in time.

Ariel Cordova-Rojas

Now safely at the clinic, Bae is recovering quickly — and has even made a new friend.

“Freshly off her quarantine period and cleared for pool exercise, while she was swimming she called out for a fellow swan,” Cordova-Rojas wrote on Instagram. “When I first brought her in she could not stand [and was] ataxic, lethargic, thin and quiet. Here she is shaking her tail feathers at the sight of a potential love interest.”

Bae and her new friend are keeping each other company while on the road to recovery.

And for Cordova-Rojas, saving a life made it the best 30th birthday ever.

To help other sick and injured birds get the help they need, you can make a donation to the Wild Bird Fund.