Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 20 January 2016
First, have you had an x-ray taken. The first thing to determine is if the break is clean or fragmented. If fragmented, there is not much you can do except possibly amputate the wing near the break. If the break is clean, still, just taping it may work, but again, based upon the x-ray, surgery may be required. If the wing has to be amputated, then no the swan will not be able to fly. However, if the taping work and the flight portion of the wing is saved, yes, then the feathers should grow back and the swan able to fly.
You may need to take a follow-up x-ray after two weeks to see if the fracture is healing, and then another x-ray prior to rehabilitating the swan for release. It is also important to know that during the rehabilitation process, the swan must be completely drenched in water on a daily basis.
If you do not allow the swan to activate the preen gland prior to releasing it, it could drown because of the loss of water repellency. So, daily water drenching is a must to activate and maintain the uropygial (preen) gland. Prior to the final release, you need to place the swan in a large water feature to make sure that its feathers are fully water repellent.
Should the wing be amputated or the fracture not heal properly for flying, then you need to make the determination of either finding a safe captive habitat for the swan or euthanasia.
If the swan cannot fly, it cannot be put back in the wild as it cannot protect itself from predators. A nice park, zoo, waterfowl rehabilitation center or such would make a nice home and the swan could live its life comfortably without having to fly. Please let us know how this progresses. The Regal Swan