Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Gus the Sunriver trumpeter swan has a new mate.
Sunriver Nature Center officials released the new adult female swan into Lake Aspen on Wednesday.
The 4-year-old was purchased from a private waterfowl breeder in Indiana and brought 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, who 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.
Grace, Gus’s previous mate, died in October last year.
It will be another couple of months before mating and nesting behaviors are expected from the two swans.
However, the staff and Sunriver community 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 towards a self-sustaining Trumpeter Swan population in Oregon.
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, February 24 at 6PM. Registration is available on SNCO’s website: www.snco.org