Bye, bye birdie: Injured swan dies shortly after being rescued from P’Park Lake

Bye, bye birdie: Injured swan dies shortly after being rescued from P’Park Lake

This bird met a fowl end.

A swan found hopelessly entangled in fishing line with an illegal barbed hook on Saturday in Prospect Park Lake died not long after a wildlife advocate rescued it on Tuesday with the help of a park worker, according to the animal-lover who attempted to save the creature.

“The swan was rescued yesterday, but did not make it,” said Mary Beth Purdy Artz.

Artz, who first discovered the waterfowl on Sept. 27, later announced its plight in a Facebook post that included a video showing the hapless bird’s leg completely immobilized by the barb. But the post was deleted following the publication of this article.

The injury forced the creature to avoid land and seek deeper waters because it couldn’t stand, making rescue attempts difficult, according to the advocate, who blasted the Department of Parks and Recreation on social media for being slow to arrange a boat-led attempt to recover the swan.

“If you can believe this, we have to get permission to get a boat,” Artz wrote on Sunday. “Parks Department won’t let ‘civilians’ do anything. It is incredibly frustrating.”

And with no help on the horizon by the end of that day, her frustration boiled over.

Swan song: Artz saved this young swan’s life two years ago after it swallowed fishing line and became separated from its family.

“I’m sick of the park,” Artz wrote. “They don’t give a s—. This is an annoyance to them.”

But on Tuesday, an employee of the Prospect Park Alliance — the private group that oversees the meadow in conjunction with the city — joined the advocate’s rescue mission, and the pair managed to pluck the poor swan from the lake, according to Esther Cho, Artz’s friend and a Reiki practitioner who volunteers at a Kensington animal rescue.

Unfortunately, the waterfowl perished shortly after being rescued due to its days-long plight, and Artz said a necropsy is underway in order to determine its exact cause of death.

The swan is not the first bird to suffer such a tragic fate, according to Artz, who said a seagull drowned in the lake last winter after getting hooked by an angler’s discarded lure, and that she found a dead nesting robin entangled in fishing line in a tree last spring.

And it isn’t even the first park swan to be aided by the advocate, who said she managed to save a cygnet two years ago after it swallowed some line and became separated from its family.

“Rescuing entangled and hooked wildlife has become routine,” she said.

A parks department spokeswoman expressed condolences for the deceased bird on the agency’s behalf, and urged men and women who fish in the green space to clean up after themselves.

Hooked then sunk: An angler’s lure pierced this seagull in Prospect Park Lake last winter, causing the bird to drown, Artz said.

“This is an extremely unfortunate situation and serves as a reminder to New Yorkers to fish responsibly,” said Maeri Ferguson. “Catch-and-release fishing is permitted in Prospect Park, but park-goers are asked to use barbless hooks and to never leave fishing line or hooks behind.”

The agency installed 12 line-and-tackle receptacles around the lake for anglers to discard their supplies in, but lines do still end up in the water, according to a Prospect Park Alliance spokeswoman.

Artz acknowledged that most fishers do pick up after themselves, but claimed the sport is poorly monitored in the meadow and that some anglers still use illegal barbs with little fear of repercussion.

“I and many others believe that if fishing is to be allowed, it should be strictly monitored, and it is not,” she said. “Illegal barbed hooks are still being used and fishing line is still being carelessly discarded, despite the receptacles provided.”

The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation is responsible for enforcing the green space’s fishing rules, according to a spokesman for New York state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. But state environmental-conservation officers sometimes patrol city parks in search of violations related to fishing and other activities, he said.

The swan died just weeks after the state conservation agency announced a non-lethal plan to control the waterfowl’s population in Southern Brooklyn, which recommends using tactics including coating eggs in oil and destroying nests to manage the non-native birds.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixs[email protected]glocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Seeing red: The advocate found a dead nesting robin hopelessly entangled in fishing line in a park tree last spring.