Skip to Content
Wildlife

Grace, beloved Sunriver trumpeter swan, apparently killed by coyotes

Gracie the swan Sunriver Nature Center George D. Lepp
George D. Lepp/Sunriver Nature Center
Trumpeter swan named Grace (also known as Gracie) was popular sight at Sunriver's Lake Aspen

SUNRIVER, Ore. (KTVZ) – Grace, the Sunriver Nature Center’s resident female trumpeter swan, has died, apparently due to depredation, likely by coyotes, the facility announced “with very heavy hearts” Friday afternoon.

In a Facebook posting, the nature center said Grace (known by many as Gracie) had last been seen a week ago, and that its entire team and many community partners had been conducting an exhaustive search by foot, from the air and on the water to find her. Her body was found Friday.

“Gus, her mate, remains alive and well on Lake Aspen,” the nature center said.

Gus was actually Grace's second mate, as her first, Chuck was illegally shot and killed in late 2017 by a young hunter on the Deschutes River. She was introduced to Chuck in May of 2019.

Here’s the rest of their statement.

"Although we are all aware that coyotes and other predators are a natural threat to swans in the wild, the loss of Grace is no less devastating.

"Grace has resided at Lake Aspen since 2015, when she was paired with male trumpeter swan Chuck, with the hopes that they would mate and produce young that could help to establish a breeding population of swans in Oregon.

"Since then, 13 of Grace’s offspring have gone on to Summer Lake Wildlife Area helping in part to restore Oregon’s natural heritage of trumpeter swans."

"Grace’s legacy, through her offspring and the messages of conservation she brought to so many, will have lasting impacts for generations.

"As we all mourn the loss of Grace, we know you will have many questions, as well as memories to share. We will all need the time to process this loss and plan for the future, but in the meantime, we look forward to celebrating her remarkable life with you over the coming days and weeks," the Sunriver Nature Center statement concluded.

Deschutes County / Environment / News / Top Stories

KTVZ news sources

Comments

22 Comments

  1. Gee…let’s illegally clip their wings so they can’t escape predators, THEN we’ll turn ’em loose!!!!! Outstanding job, bleeding hearts….ya killed your swan

    1. Lots of coyotes in the area as the food supply is pretty good. I’ve called in several this past summer with little effort with my game caller.
      The big kitty cats will likely show up not long after the snow flys and they’ll be wanting a few meals as well. Flightless birds are easy pickin’s.

      1. They clip them for aesthetic reasons ONLY. They cannot get away from predators or people shooting at them. Sure is great that the “look at our tranquil and rich property with swan” crowd protects them. Oh wait….

    1. Guess you are new to the area and definitely don’t live in the Sunriver area. Almost any given night we can hear the coyote pack(s). Any time of the day you can quite likely see a coyote in Sunriver or very close by and the Deschutes National Forest is directly across the river. Coyotes and cougars are very common in the area.

      1. and…. the decades i have been here have nothing to do with anything really – the point is you know no more about what killed the swan than the person who wrote the article – how are you able to be absolutely convinced of something with zero actual information? – beginning to understand why so many of your posts are so full of wackadoodle shtuff

    2. Dogs? Loose dogs don’t last long in this area with the den of coyotes in the meadow and the big cats that occasionally wander through following the deer and elk. But, please, don’t tell the tourists, they already get really upset when a baby deer becomes part of the food cycle.

    3. Dogs? Based on what evidence? Dogs will kill and leave the carcass where they kill it, the Coyotes will take the carcass to a place of concealment to eat it, which was why it was so hard to find.

      1. you are contradicting yourself – the carcass was found – hard to find? – only until you find it – zero information was given saying the carcass was concealed in any way

        – i have seen dogs attack and kill geese and swans – no, my experience is not proof of anything, just a hunch

        1. Tio, the lake they live on is next to the SR Nature Center and part of the meadow where there is a den of coyotes that you can see every day. But who knows, Qualeh Condos are right there, too and the type of tourist we’ve had this year might think nothing of letting their dog loose to go after the swans.

  2. Just to interject some facts into the mix; Grace did not have her wings “illegally clipped” Her wings were pinioned (removal of a small joint at the end of the wing, resulting in the loss of a few primaries) long before she came to Sunriver, it is common practice in water fowl breeders and usually done right after they hatch. (Like docking a tail on a dog). Her entire history is unknown, only that she was found with a necrotic tongue due to having a fishing lure stuck in it. Being captive bred and not having the ability to migrate Sunriver was chosen as a home for her. Her lack of flight did not make her defenseless by any means, as swans are very large powerful birds who use their wings to fend off predators and protect their young. Predation is always a possibility in this semi wild setting but Sunriver had swans on Aspen pond since 2013 with no predation event. Like I said swans are large birds, pretty capable of defending themselves, and evading land predators by taking to the water. Why Grace didn’t evade predators this time (because there is little doubt she never encountered them before in Sunriver as so many have pointed out) is unknown. No one knows her age, but for 5 years she lived well on Aspen pond and raised many young who have been returned to bolster wild populations.

    1. Did you get permission from ODFW to clip a federally protected bird? Do you feel good about clipping the wings of birds that can’t get away from predators? you people killed BOTH swans, and don’t tell me the were defenseless, or they would BOTH STILL BE ALIVE. Good of you to hide behind a fake screen name

Leave a Reply

Skip to content