November 26, 2020

23Mile

They all drove to the Howard Beach subway station, where the husband, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee, helped Ms. Cordova-Rojas lug her bike and the swan to the platform and then onto the A train.

Ms. Cordova-Rojas placed the swan, still wrapped in the coat, at the end of a long seat. She called friends and former colleagues at the Wild Bird Fund and asked that they meet her.

“Meanwhile, there’s a few people on the train and nobody seems to be fazed,” she said. One man, she added, was “sitting right in front of me and he’s just on his phone. I don’t even know if he noticed there was a swan in front of him.”

Tristan Higginbotham, an animal care manager at the Wild Bird Fund, met Ms. Cordova-Rojas at the Nostrand Avenue station in Brooklyn. Ms. Higginbotham, too, was unfazed by the sight of Ms. Cordova-Rojas holding the swan in her left hand while propping up a bike with her right.

“That’s just like the perfect summary of who she is,” Ms. Higginbotham said.

Two car rides later, the swan, and Ms. Cordova-Rojas, reached the Wild Bird Fund. Staff members there determined that it was a bit underweight; tests also found signs of lead poisoning, which can happen when swans ingest weights used on fishing lines, among other things.

On Tuesday, the bird was undergoing treatment and would be reassessed in a few weeks, Ms. Higginbotham said.

Ms. Higginbotham said that the New York City Audubon Society, where she volunteers, had received reports recently about a sick mute swan at the refuge, but staff members had not been able to find it.

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