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A Valentine’s Day gift: New mate introduced to Sunriver trumpeter swan Gus

Crowd of onlookers watch as new trumpeter swan is released Wednesday at Lake Aspen in Sunriver
Sunriver Nature Center
Crowd of onlookers watch as new trumpeter swan is released Wednesday at Lake Aspen in Sunriver

SUNRIVER, Ore. (KTVZ) -- With a crowd of onlookers on hand, a new adult female trumpeter swan was released onto Lake Aspen in Sunriver Wednesday afternoon, a special pre-Valentine's Day arrival and gift of sorts for another swan who recently lost his mate.

The new swan is intended to be a mate for Gus, the resident male swan whose previous mate, Grace, died in October, apparently killed by coyotes.

The pair of swans is cared for year-round by Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory and is a part of Oregon’s Trumpeter Swan Restoration Program.

The new female swan, who is 4 years old, was purchased from a private waterfowl breeder in Indiana and transported to Sunriver last week.  Prior to release on the lake, the swan was held for observation and a health exam was conducted by local wildlife rescue, Think Wild.

The swan was released from the shore as dozens of staff, volunteers, and friends of SNCO observed the event.

Gus, the male swan, had been standing on a frozen part of the lake, immediately noticed the female and slowly approached her. The two swans swam close to one another for a few minutes before the female drifted away to drink, eat and preen her feathers.

It will be another couple of months before mating and nesting behaviors are expected from the two swans. However, the staff and Sunriver community said they are hopeful that the two swans will form a strong pair bond and produce cygnets this year.

“We look forward to the arrival of the fuzzy white cygnets on Lake Aspen every year and sharing this conservation success story with our visitors and community,” said Abby Rowland, executive director.

Offspring of the swan pair will be relocated to Summer Lake Wildlife Area in Oregon, where they will be released into the wild and eventually contribute toward a self-sustaining trumpeter swan population in Oregon.

The Sunriver Nature Center also is encouraging name suggestions for the new lake resident. They can be emailed to programs@snco.org or submitted to their Facebook page.

Although hundreds of swans overwinter in Oregon each year, only four pairs of trumpeter swans nested in the wild in Oregon in 2020.

The pair of swans can be viewed from the nature trail along Lake Aspen on the campus of Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory. A special virtual lecture entitled “Return of the Trumpeter Swan” will be presented on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. Registration is available on SNCO’s website: www.snco.org.

For more information about the Trumpeter Swan Restoration Program and Sunriver’s swan pair, visit: https://snco.org/swans/.

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