Pete and Eloise were a prolific breeding pair. Aspen Lakes residents have rallied to transport a new mate for her from North Carolina. photo by Jerry Baldock
Pete and Eloise were a prolific breeding pair. Aspen Lakes residents have rallied to transport a new mate for her from North Carolina. photo by Jerry Baldock
Sisters and the Aspen Lakes Community recently lost a beloved resident.

Pete, a male trumpeter swan and mate to Eloise, had to be humanely euthanized after battling a lethal infection. The loss not only has the local community mourning, but is also a blow to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife/The Trumpeter Swan Society breeding restoration program.

Pete was recently discovered to be lame by an Aspen Lakes resident. He was taken to Broken Top Veterinary Clinic for examination and X-rays. Dr. Lodge found no evidence of a break or fracture, so it was hoped that he had a sprain. Pete was transferred to Think Wild in Bend for rehabilitation. When he didn’t respond to initial treatments, a further work up was done and those results revealed a bacterial infection.

At that point, Pete was diagnosed with septic arthritis. The source of the infection is unknown, but was likely a cut or scrape on his leg that allowed bacteria to enter his blood stream.

Septic arthritis is usually a fatal infection that causes crippling pain. Pete’s case was no exception. In spite of aggressive treatments and therapies, Pete continued to be unable to bear weight or eat on his own after a week. At the suggestion of local vets and three avian specialists on the East Coast, the decision was made to spare Pete from any further suffering.

He was only 6 years old.

Pete came to Sisters three years ago from a breeder in North Carolina as a potential mate for Eloise, the lone female swan at Aspen Lakes. From the moment they met, it was love at first sight and the two instantly bonded. They went on to produce one cygnet the first year, eight the following year, and six last summer, making them the most prolific breeding pair in the state.

Everyone had high hopes that Pete and Eloise would continue to be great parents to multiple cygnets.

After Pete’s loss, Aspen Lakes resident Robin Gold, a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator, contacted Pete’s breeder and asked her what would be the best thing to do for Eloise. The breeder said the sooner a new potential mate was introduced the better it would be and the more likely Eloise would accept him.

Swans typically mate for life but are known to re-pair when one is lost. The breeder happened to have an adult male and said she would donate him to the Aspen Lakes community.

That was the good news; the bad news is that due to COVID-19 and flights being unreliable, they are not shipping birds at this time.

The Aspen Lakes residents rallied together and Bob Landwehr volunteered to fly to North Carolina on a commercial flight and escort the new swan back to Sisters. Another resident donated mileage for the flight and others donated to cover the expenses of the trip. Residents have decided to honor Bob Landwehr by naming the new swan Bob.

Bob the swan will be arriving in Sisters on February 4, and will be released on February 5. Everyone will be hoping for another case of love at first sight and continued love on the lake.