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Love birds: Lonely swans get new mating partners, just in time for Valentine’s Day

A new female at Sunriver, a new male at Aspen Lakes near Sisters

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Two birds of a feather for this Valentine's Day, as two Central Oregon trumpeter swans who recently lost their mates have been introduced to new intended partners.

At Aspen Lakes Golf Course, outside Sisters, a new male swan, Bob, was introduced about a week ago after the female swan, Eloise, recently lost her mate to illness.

When we checked on the pair Thursday, they appeared to be getting along pretty well.

Meanwhile, at the Sunriver Nature Center and the Oregon Observatory, a new female was introduced Wednesday as a mate for Gus, who lost his mate, Gracie, last fall, likely to a coyote attack.

Wildlife advocates hope it's the start of a new beginning for all involved.

"Very similar feel to a wedding, as we all waited in anticipation on how Gus and the new girl would get along," Kelli Neumann, animal program coordinator with the nature center, said Thursday.

Neumann said that in Oregon, trumpeter populations are struggling.

"They were hunted," she explained. "They're not hunted any more. That was kind of the original threat they faced in the early 1900s. Nowadays, it's more habitat loss, so wetlands and water."

Nuemann said in the past, wetlands weren't seen as crucial.

"It wasn't something we were really paying attention to when we developed suburbs, or when we were doing agricultural plans for irrigation," she said.

Fortunately, Nuemann said the Sunriver pair is showing early signs that they're hitting it off.

"So Gus, the male, will kind of pass in front the female with his neck arched and his feathers kind of fluffed up on his wings, and that's kind of a display that they do to indicate interest," Neumann said. "And the female has been following him and kind of taking cues from him, so basically kind of learning about her new house."

Their relationship is much more important to follow than any old tabloid stars.

"They are one of four breeding pairs in Oregon that are repopulating the swans, so they are really important," Neumann said.

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Blake Allen

Blake Allen is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.

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6 Comments

  1. I wonder where they got the new birds. I have seen a solo swan midway between Portland and Mt. Washington for a couple of years. I walked that stretch today and did not see him/her, but I admit I was slogging through snow and watching my fee most of the time haha

      1. I wonder why they did not just grab the local one. There was three there about five years ago, then just two, and the one has been solo for about 18 months.

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