The sad demise of Muskie the trumpeter swan

The story of a trumpeter swan, rescued from the St. Croix River, does not have a happy ending.

St.Croix360 reports volunteers organized a rescue mission after fisherman Jeff Butler noticed it wouldn’t fly away when approached. He’d seen the bird several times and even gave it a name: Muskie.

They think it might have flown into some power lines.

They got it to a wildlife rescue center, but it was too late.

While many stories of sick swans are the result of lead poisoning from eating fishing tackle, this bird had injuries on both wings, possibly from flying into a power line. The veterinarians unfortunately had to euthanize the bird, after determining that it could not recover from its injuries.

They credited the rescuers with preventing it from suffering a long, painful death during the coming winter.

“Breaks in the joints in birds is something that is so serious. Pain from the arthritis is severe and chronic. Since Muskie is a very wild and regal critter, he can’t be asked to suffer for our benefit,” the veterinarians wrote. “Please know that you did what was right for that Trumpeter. He was peacefully and painlessly humanely euthanized, with dignity in loving and very capable hands.”

Trumpeter swans are the largest waterfowl in the world. They were once almost extinct in the upper Midwest, but have made a successful comeback since being reintroduced by government agencies.