On the day of her 30th birthday, Ariel Cordova-Rojas decided to bike to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to observe the birds. Her intention was to enjoy the view from a distance, but she ended up having a very close encounter.
Ariel, who was an animal care manager at the Wild Bird Fund, saw a swan on the ground, sitting away from the other swans. Something didn’t seem right, so Ariel decided to approach the swan. The swan was unable to stand and was trying to drag herself away with her wings.
Ariel picked the 17-pound swan and carried her for a mile to the park entrance. Luckily, a kind stranger saw what was happening and gave them a ride to the subway.
Staff members of the Wild Bird Fund met Ariel at the subway station and rushed them to the clinic. There they discovered that the swan was suffering from lead poisoning and infection. It was a miracle that Ariel got her just in time.
The swan is now recovering at the clinic and even got a gorgeous name: Bae. Bae 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. 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,” wrote Ariel on her Instagram.
Bae and her new friend enjoy each other company while recovering. Ariel says that saving the swan’s life was the best birthday present ever and that she’ll never forget her 30th birthday.