One Of The Palace Of Fine Arts Swans Has Died

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Image: Dennis Jarvis via Flickr

Terrible news for San Francisco bird lovers, and anyone who visits the Palace of Fine Arts. According to an announcement from the SF Rec and Parks Department last week, Blue Boy, one of the two swans who lived at the Palace of Fine Arts, has died from apparent zinc and lead poisoning. He was 17.

In a follow-up post to the above very sad announcement, SF Rec and Parks adds that “veterinarians continue to investigate the cause of his death, as well as the source of the zinc & lead in both swans. We are awaiting laboratory results for the necropsy & the soil in their habitat. We hope to have answers soon, so we can bring Blanche home to the Palace.” 

(Blanche is the female swan, Blue Boy was the male of the pair.)

SFGate reported last month that the female swan Blanche was ill, and had been moved to the SF Zoo for medical care. At the time, Blue Boy seemed the less sick of the two swans. Thankfully, SF Rec and Parks notes above that “His female companion appears to be responding well to the treatment.”

According to a KQED report from last year, there have been swans at the Palace of Fine Arts since it opened in 1915. That particular variety of swans are called mute swans, because they don’t call or whistle much.

“Blue Boy — he’s the man of the lagoon,” the Palace of Fine Arts’ unofficial caretaker and ‘swan lady’ Gayle Haggerty told KQED last year. “He doesn’t like geese there, he doesn’t like me. He’s a very large swan. And he’s always on a patrol. He’s always like, ‘who are you? Who let you in?’”

Blue Boy and Blanche did have several offspring (cygnets), whi have been moved away, but there are no current plans to return them in Blue Boy’s absence. “Our focus right now is getting [Blanche] home where she belongs,” SF Rec and Parks said ina statemnt to “The vets tell us she is doing really well, which we’re grateful to hear. The investigation into what sickened her is continuing. We expect to have the preliminary results of the soil testing and our hope is we can release her back into her habitat sooner rather than later.”

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.