Swans rescued from icy Bristol river

By: Chelsea Priest


Friday morning, seven swans had to be freed from the Kickemuit River in Bristol. This time of year, much of the areas waters are frozen but that doesn't stop birds and geese from sitting on whatever water is open.

By this afternoon only two swans were found sitting on the ice in the river, but that wasn't the case this morning. Local wildlife agencies got a call that 12 swans were stuck in the ice, when they got there, only seven were still there.

Kristin Fletcher is the executive director of the Wildlife Clinic of Rhode Island. She explains, “Really the only way to determine if the are stuck in the ice or not is to try and get them to move so I got my waders on and went into the water.”

Fletcher waded in up to her thighs until she couldn't break the ice in front of her. She says, “Several of them were frozen in the ice but then managed to get their legs free, one of them didn't get up at that point but later on did get up.”

It's not that common for birds to get stuck in the ice but when they do there are some big concerns says Fletcher, “The danger is if the bird is caught in the ice long enough, you'll see signs of frostbite and then you know that can have a whole bunch of effects from losing a toe to infections setting in.”

It's sometimes difficult to tell if the bird is stuck in the ice or just sitting on it. If you are concerned for the animal the best option is to monitor the situation and if the bird is there for an extended period you can call the Wildlife Clinic to come help.

(C) WLNE-TV 2014