When rescuers from the RSPCA in Manchester, England received a call about a black swan, they knew something wasn’t right. Swans were white, not black. They needed to go and immediately investigate what happened to this poor bird.
On first sight, it was horrible. The swan was completely covered in thick black oil. They were afraid he might have ingested some of the nasty liquid. They rushed him to Stapeley Grange Wildlife Center for a checkup and major clean up.
His normally white feathers were coated entirely with a black substance. The beautiful bird would need many rinses to make sure all the oil was removed. “It isn’t uncommon for us to admit birds and waterfowl whose feathers are coated with contaminants like cooking oil, engine oil or diesel, but this was the worst oiling of a bird I have seen,” Lynsey Cale, a wildlife assistant at Stapeley Grange Wildlife Center, said in a press release. “Initially, myself and colleague Rob joked that it was a black swan, as the contaminant coverage was so extensive.
“The thick oil must have felt heavy and uncomfortable to the poor swan. “Our first concern was to get the bird washed as quickly as possible, not only to make him more comfortable but to avoid him ingesting any of the toxic material from preening,” Cale said.
It took many baths, but finally, the swan was clean and white once more. He was released back into the wild and swam away without oil hindering his movement or turning him black.