2 Charles River Esplanade swans euthanized


“Unfortunately, the birds were quite ill.”

  • Warning issued on Martha’s Vineyard as ‘hundreds’ of dead cormorants found across island

  • Bird flu is prevalent among wild and domestic birds in Mass., officials say

Two swans who called the Charles River Esplanade home were euthanized this week after they displayed symptoms of the avian flu, according to the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.

The city’s Animal Care and Control Division received multiple calls about the two swans and, on Monday, responded to the park and brought the swans to the department’s animal care facility, WCVB reports.

“Unfortunately, the birds were quite ill, exhibiting symptoms consistent with avian influenza and were humanely euthanized,” a statement from a Parks and Recreation official to the news station said.

A strain of the avian flu has been wreaking havoc on bird populations around the globe this year. As of March, the illness was detected in multiple areas in Massachusetts, and last week, hundreds of dead cormorants were found across Martha’s Vineyard.

The two swans in Boston were parents to five cygnets. A sixth cygnet actually died on Friday, Dr. Patricia Arroyo, who frequents the Esplanade, told WCVB.

The rest of the swan family seemed healthy over the weekend, however, Arroyo said. But that changed on Monday.

“Monday morning, I got a call and we came out, and the mom was in real distress,” she said.

The mother swan was seen struggling to lift her head, Arroyo said.

“And as that happened, we saw the five remaining baby cygnets swim back to the nest alone. And then we found the dad in distress, actually in worse condition than the mother,” she said.

Whether the avian flu is to blame remains unclear, as some have wondered if toxic blue-green algae blooms could have played a part, according to WCVB.

The five surviving cygnets were brought to the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable for rehabilitation, the news station reports. There is, however, a strong chance the cygnets may have also contracted the bird influenza, officials said.


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