After months of planning, W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary staff released one of its resident Trumpeter Swans to an Oregon nature center this week.
The male swan was released onto Sunriver Nature Center’s Lake Aspen Monday afternoon to meet Grace, the center’s beloved female swan. After greeting each other with a few head bobs, wing displays and a quick dominance display by the male, the pair swam together around the lake.
Grace had been alone since Thanksgiving Day 2017, when her mate, Chuck, was illegally shot by a poacher. Efforts to find Grace another mate had proved unsuccessful until Sara DePew-Bäby, animal caretaker at the Sanctuary, contacted Sunriver staff. Together, they agreed that the Sanctuary’s male swan could be a good match for Grace and began making arrangements.
“We are beyond excited to aid in Oregon’s Trumpeter Swan restoration efforts,” said DePew-Bäby. “It is fitting that Grace’s new mate would come from the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, since Chuck had spent time here before ending up in Sunriver.”
Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory has hosted Trumpeter Swans since 2013. The Sunriver swans join a handful of other breeding pairs in Oregon whose offspring are typically released into the wild at Summer Lake Wildlife Area. “We are hopeful that Grace’s young will survive to breed in the wild and contribute towards a self-sustaining Trumpeter Swan flock in Oregon,” said Gary Ivey of the Trumpeter Swan Society.
The W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary was the site of the Michigan Trumpeter Swan reintroduction program that began in the 1980s. The state now boasts over 3,000 wild Trumpeter Swans. Other states, including Oregon, are actively working toward growing their native swan populations through species recovery efforts.