Picture to come later today.
The following is from a local Bend resident who has been watching Grace for awhile....I think you will find her comments very interesting, as I did.
"I have watched those swans several times a month since 2005, so I'm sad to see the end of the breeding pair. Hopefully, with your efforts, "Grace" will return to Swan Lake, at least. I don't know how long swans live, but I would guess that she is beyond her reproductive years. But perhaps she could still breed, and the only reason that there were no broods the past two years is the disappearance of the good nesting sites. They want to build their nest on a tiny island away from shore. Each of the chosen sites has been washed away in high-water periods after several years, and finally there are none there at all. If they had to nest on the shore, the nest would have been prey for predators, I'm sure. (After the first site washed out, someone built a platform that they used for two years; but then it, too washed out. They found a new but riskier site that submerged several times, once after they had built their first nest--they built another that year. It is completely gone now.)
"Having observed swan behavior there over an 8-year period, watching 6 broods raised to adulthood, I would venture that none of the swans that gather there in the winter are truly wild; they behave like, and are treated like, the children of the breeding pair. They seem to gather here when the ice encroaches elsewhere, rather than migrate, because they were raised here and know that there is always some open water. The most I ever saw in the winter was 12. Before Christmas this year, there were six (including Grace). Now there are five.
"When breeding season arrived each spring, most of the winter swans would leave, and the parents would gradually distance themselves from the several that stayed with them, for the most part identifiable as the brood of the previous year because they still had traces of gray plumage that soon disappeared. One of these, presumably a female, was allowed to stay quite close to the nest and the new brood, and she helped protect them and kept them company as they grew."
Anyone else have interesting observations, please let me know.
ODFW plan on reintroducing Grace to the Pond and finding her a mate. However, given the above....I think the community will need to pull together to get her an island...not sure what that would look like. Open to ideas....
Native Bird Care is small. But the work we do is critical. The needs of the birds we work with - song, shore, and waterbirds - are often underestimated. Each species is so unique that we must cater to each type of bird and their particular needs in care and housing. Add to that, handling these birds can be tricky; they all require specialized training.