Kathy Benner, center, manager of the Juneau Raptor Center, prepares to wrap a sheet around an injured trumpeter swan to transport him as Matthew Brown holds the bird near Auke Bay on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Kerry Howard)

Kathy Benner, center, manager of the Juneau Raptor Center, prepares to wrap a sheet around an injured trumpeter swan to transport him as Matthew Brown holds the bird near Auke Bay on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Kerry Howard)

Swan seized safely with sheet

At last, the beaked beast’s been bound.

Members of Juneau Raptor Center and residents captured a trumpeter swan on Wednesday that had evaded apprehension since November.

“This was like our sixth attempt,” said raptor center manager Kathy Benner in a phone interview. “I would say we go out after ravens that are really hard to catch, but it’s getting close to record. Six times is a lot.”

The swan, which had damaged flight feathers, was first observed around Thanksgiving of 2020 in and around Auke Lake, Benner said. He relocated to Auke Bay during the new year, with many Juneau residents observing him around the area and offering the raptor center very helpful advice, Benner said.

Kathy Benner, manager of the Juneau Raptor Center, along with Matthew Brown and Kerry Howard, captured a trumpeter swan, shown above, that had been grounded with an injured wing in the Auke Lake/Auke Bay area for months on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Kathy Benner)

Kathy Benner, manager of the Juneau Raptor Center, along with Matthew Brown and Kerry Howard, captured a trumpeter swan, shown above, that had been grounded with an injured wing in the Auke Lake/Auke Bay area for months on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Kathy Benner)

“He moved to Auke Bay a month ago,” Benner said. “People were still feeding him, but his flight ability was becoming less and less.”

With concerns about the swan’s condition mounting, Benner concocted a plan worthy of the most dastardly of Scooby-Doo villains.

[Dunleavy tests positive for COVID-19]

“People took some food and I stood out of a sight with a sheet,” Benner said. “The people lured him up with food, and I got him with a sheet.”

Matthew Brown and Kerry Howard, who were known to the swan, were able to get him close enough to grab, Benner said.

“The swan was used to seeing them. When I approached, he’d back away from me. Birds are like that. They’re suspicious of people they don’t know,” Benner said. “Matt was able to get his arm around him and I was able to come up with the sheeting and take him. It actually went pretty smooth.”

Kathy Benner, manager of the Juneau Raptor Center, along with Matthew Brown and Kerry Howard, captured a trumpeter swan, shown above, that had been grounded with an injured wing in the Auke Lake/Auke Bay area for months on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Matthew Brown)

Kathy Benner, manager of the Juneau Raptor Center, along with Matthew Brown and Kerry Howard, captured a trumpeter swan, shown above, that had been grounded with an injured wing in the Auke Lake/Auke Bay area for months on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Matthew Brown)

The damage to the bird’s left wing had progressed some, Benner said, and his condition wasn’t getting better.

“His flight feathers on the wing continued to fall out. They were kind of stripped,” Benner said. “Now that we have him in the kennel, I can see some lice on his head, the sign of a bird that’s been on the ground.”

The swan — and Benner — will be able to relax tonight, with the swan bound for the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka on the morning flight for a thorough exam and care.

“He’s chilling out in an extra large kennel with food and water. He’s happy as clam,” Benner said. “He’s going to be safe and taken care of now. We’re really happy.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Aug. 14

Here’s what to expect this week.

An inmate at Anchorage Correctional Complex died last week, bringing total deaths in custody for the Alaska Department of Corrections to eight in 2022, according to a department news release. (Screenshot)
Anchorage inmate dies in custody

It’s the eighth death in custody for Alaska correctional facilities this year.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This October 2020 photo shows the MV Kennicott. The Alaska Marine Highway System's winter ferry schedule is now available for review. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Winter ferry schedule available for review

Comments now being accepted.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Supporters of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski wait for an opportunity to talk to her at her newly Juneau campaign headquarters Thursday evening at Kootznoowoo Plaza. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Murkowski opens up at Juneau HQ debut

Senator chats with supporters about U.S. vs. Belgium voting, moose chili and Project Veritas

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

U.S. Senate candidate Shoshana Gungurstein stars in a campaign sign within view of the Alaska governor’s mansion. Gungurstein, an independent, got exposure this week for being a Hollywood actress under a different last name after questions about her past went unanswered throughout the campaign. She is one of 19 candidates seeking to be among the four selected in next Tuesday’s primary to compete in the November general election. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Senate candidate sheds more light on background

Shoshana Gungurstein responds at length to recent report on past film career.

Most Read