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Spicer man rescues trumpeter swan from the side of interstate

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news Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

SPICER -- Keith Palmquist of Spicer enjoys fishing and hunting, and is making the most of this year's early ice to try his luck on the local lakes.

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Yet his biggest wildlife experience of the year came Dec. 28 alongside Interstate 94 near Monticello as he was commuting to his job in the Twin Cities.

Palmquist spotted what he thought was a trumpeter swan alongside the road, doubled back and confirmed his finding.

It was apparently injured and ran from Palmquist, but was unable to get airborne.

Palmquist called for help from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and State Patrol.

While waiting for their help, sheriff's deputies and a posse of volunteers arrived on the scene.

They included Sheila Lawrence, known as the "swan lady of Monticello.''

They were in search of a trumpeter swan that had injured itself in a collision with a power line, and were delighted to know that Palmquist had spotted it.

He helped give chase through the knee- and waist-deep snow, and the big bird was caught.

Palmquist said the bird was transported to a rehabilitation center, and will be released back to the main flock when recovered.

Along with the excitement of the chase, he had a chance to visit with Lawrence and learn how the magnificent birds have been brought back from the brink of extinction in Minnesota.

There are now an estimated 3,000 trumpeter swans in Minnesota, with nearly half of them over-wintering in the warm waters below the power plant at Monticello.

Palmquist said he has seen trumpeter swans fly overhead as he has been hunting, but did not appreciate how large the birds are until he had the chance to nab this one.

The bird he helped rescue was a yearling, but stood well over 4 feet tall with its neck extended.

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Tom Cherveny
Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
(320) 214-4335
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