A swan in western China became imperiled after apparently falling asleep on or near a river, allowing its bill to freeze shut.
The large white bird could not eat, and might have been having trouble breathing.
Thankfully, however, this distressing saga, which includes a rescue by a group called the Swan Guard, features a happy ending.
Yong Hsieh and his wife discovered the unfortunate bird while strolling along a riverbank in Korla, Xinjiang, feeding ducks.
"As we walked toward them, we saw the swan, but as we got closer, we notIced its beak was covered with ice," Yong is quoted by the New York Post, via CEN.
The couple tossed bread into the water, and the swan approached, but could not open its bill, or beak
Writes the Shanghaiist: "It can't cry, it can't eat, and it's unclear what happened, exactly, considering all those other swans and ducks floating around it with perfectly usable beaks."
But the bird needed help. Authorities were alerted, and the Swan Guard, a group that feeds swans during the winter and cares for sick and injured swans, sprung into action.
The Swan Guard's Sheng Liang captured the swan and rushed it to her "swan house," where sick and injured swans are treated. The swan's beak thawed quickly in the warm facility, and Sheng and her staff fed the bird "a special treat of fish" before driving it back to the river.
Sheng told CEN: "I've been caring for swans for years and I admit that this is the first time I have ever come across anything like this."
She added: "It's lucky that we were informed because in these temperatures, it's very unlikely that the ice would have melted if she had stayed outside."
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