Mirror Pond Islands

Bend sportsmen agree that the city has shown real interest in mirror pond wildlife through approval of a dog “tie up” ordinance during the nesting season, but the sportsmen believe that the city should not only provide protection for waterfowl, but should make some effort to improve nesting conditions. This improvement  the sportsmen say, can be obtained if the tule islands just below the Tumalo avenue bridge are elevated a foot or two above the water line.

Over a period of years, various plans for the elevation of the tule islands have been suggested and at least one attempt has been made to erect nesting places on sticks. But the artificial nests apparently did not meet with the favor of the waterfowl.

The sportsmen are approaching the problem on a new angle this year. They suggest that the booms used in the connection with the Forth of July pageants be used to form a temporary bridge to the tules and that rock and dirt be moved over the span. The sportsmen suggest that the city undertake the project. Possibly it can be handle as a small WPA project. Certainly the sportsmen’s suggestion is worthy of consideration.

It is true the Bend’s “tie-up” ordinance will keep Drake park and other river areas fairly free of molesting dogs, but birds nest along the river edge are never safe. Cats certainly play a part in night raids. And it is recalled that only a few years ago a grown youth was found on his way home with 21 duck eggs, which he planned to cook and eat. Island nesting places would provide protection against such molestation.

In past years, swans and ducks have built nests on the available tule islands in the upper mirror pond, but this season, because of the high water, the tule are practically inundated  Consequently  the suggestion of the sportsmen may have merit. Permanent nesting places in the upper mirror pond would be a real asset to a city that is so proud of its river wildlife.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1938

Mirror Pond Disappears Swiftly Here


Fourth of July Committee Surveys Situation and Makes Plan

bend-bulletin-1936-05-28-240x300[1]Bend’s scenic mirror pond, over which geese, swans and ducks cruised at dark last night, had disappeared at sunup this morning and over its huge basin, marked by mudflats, tule islands and rocks, swiftly flowed the Deschutes River, back in its ancient channel. The strange mudflats, looking very much as if a devastating flood had swept through town, attracted hundreds of people today as augmented crews worked to sink concrete piers for the Newport Avenue bridge.

The mirror pond was drained at the request of the bridge contractors, to expedite the work of constructing the piers. The pond will remain waterless, except for the natural flow of the river, for about five days. In the meantime committees arranging for the Fourth of July water pageant are making a survey of the mudflats and owners of homes bordering on the basin are taking the opportunity provided by low water to repair retaining walls and construct boat docks.

Out near the west bank of the river, the “Queen of the Deschutes,” one of the entries in the 1935 pageant was mired in the slimy mud and some bets were being offered that the showboat would remain in the bottom when the natural lake is refilled.

The River is Muddy

The draining of the mirror pond is of interest not only to Bend, but to much of the state, for the river is ripping through the mudflats in the basin here, discoloring the water. It is believed that the river will be muddy over its entire length between Bend and the Columbia River. Portland is especially interested in the emptying of the huge pond, for a Memorial Day excursion of anglers from that city to the lower Deschutes was planned. These anglers are to be reminded that the Deschutes above Bend will be perfectly clear over the weekend.

Wildlife took the draining of the pond as a matter of course today and were obtaining an abundance of feed on the mudflats. Clyde and Lela and their four cygnets approached dangerously close to the swift current just above the Newport Avenue bridge early in the day but later retreated to the tules near the Tumalo Avenue bridge and found refuge in a cove among the tule islands. Geese and ducks strolled back and forth across the mudflats, between the swift river and Drake Park.

Some fear was expressed by sportsmen that all the young trout placed in the mirror pond last season will go through the spillway.

Weed Bed Revealed

The lowering of the pond revealed part of the vast acreage of aquatic weeds that have been growing in the mirror lake.  Most of the weed beds were out in the sun today and hope was held that they will be killed.  Out in the deeper channel, the swift water was washing away the ooze in which the weeds were growing.

Member of the Forth of July committee have decided that the anchorage for the pageant arch should be reconstructed.

The draining of the lake today recalled for old timers of Bend the days before the power dam was constructed, when the Deschutes coursed through its natural channel. In those days, the Bend pioneers report, willows grew down to the water edge and fish were plentiful in the deep pools.

The pond was drained in the early morning hours when the power dam gates, just north of Newport bridge, were opened.

Small boys were securing a rich harvest of crawfish near the banks of the river today and was expected that the bottom would drop out of the “crawdad” market before evening.

Children are being warned that the soft mud is very dangerous and may prove more dangerous when a deceptive, apparently dry crust forms.  Dogs that ventured out in the flats today mired in the mud.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1936

Swan Murder Averted Here

Rocks thrown last night from the river’s edge saved Grandsire Clyde, belligerent swan ruler of the Mirror Pond, from the stigma of murdering his own son. Splashing of a stone, as it hit the water, caused angry Clyde to loosen his death grip on the neck of weakening Mox, Clyde’s cherished cygnet of three seasons ago, now his hated rival.

Mox seized the opportunity to escape, and Clyde strutted back to his spouse, Leila, and their 1935 batch of youngsters.

How it all happened is not of record. Paul Hosmer, The Bulletin’s veteran waterfront reporter, was taking his night off, and his understudy did not arrive until the battle between the two was well under way. What started it?

Evidence is available that Mox and his sister, Lockit — his wife as well as sister, for the Mirror Pond swans like the Ptolemies and Incas of old ignore with sublime indifference the taboos of consanguinity — glided serenely past Leila and her brood. It is more than hinted that Mox cast a roving glance in the direction of his ma, that he mentioned possibly that he would be back after he had taken his wife home. Whatever the affront, it was sufficient.

Mox seems to have forgotten Clyde, but Clyde had not forgotten Mox. In super-dreadnaught charge, he arrived, and in an instant battle was joined. Lockit went on her way, but Leila and the cygnets stood by, sometimes so close as to hinder the action of the combatants.

Water turned into foam as the big white birds fought. Resounding thumps, as powerful wings beat, advertised the fray. Wings were being used partly as direct weapons of offense, but more as indirect weapons, it seemed as the technique of swan fighting was unfolded. Each bird was seeking the advantage of superior height, and wings were beating to lift the birds partly out of the water in maneuver for position to apply the neck hold.

Early on Mox had the edge, but Clyde, stronger and more experienced, shook him off. The grip was too low.

Clyde reared, gained greater height, struck downward with twisting, snakelike thrust. Open mandibles enveloped, then closed on the neck of Mox and forced his son’s head underwater. Mox managed to come up for air, but the younger bird was weakening, and Clyde, in vile temper, was relentless. As he forced his son’s head under for the last time, it was plain that there would be one less Mirror Pond swan.

But tragedy was averted, rocks came, and the escape.

When it was all over, Clyde and Leila and their 1935 children were midway between the footbridge and the island. Lockit was still farther upstream, while Mox, the soundly trounced, sulked in the shadow of the footbridge.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1935

Reporter Bested By Mother Goose

Crestfallen, somewhat apologetic, The Bulletin’s waterfront reporter, Paul Hosmer, admitted this morning that he had been very badly “scooped” — a news story that he should have reported about a month ago has showed up on the mirror pond, so old that it has feathers. This story, Hosmer explained, is a lone gosling, first wildlife hatched on Bend’s scenic mirror pond this season.

But, Hosmer apologized, he really had a reason for not discovering the gosling until it was about a quarter grown. The Bulletin’s waterfront reporter, it appears, has been devoting most of his attention to some marital difficulties that have apparently developed on the mirror pond in recent weeks. Since Lela, one of the parent swans of the mirror pond, took up her domestic duties on a slightly elevated nest in the tules just below the Tumalo bridge, Clyde, her mate, has been wandering far afield — in fact, the big bird has been paying little attention to Lela as she sets on an unknown number of eggs out in the Deschutes River.

Last year, Hosmer recalls, Clyde was most faithful to Lela. Seldom did he get more than a hundred yards away from his mate during the nesting season. Several times last year, Hosmer attempted to row close to Lela’s nest, to see if some yellow cygnets might be moving about, but always his approach was blocked by pugnacious Clyde.

“But things are different this year,” Hosmer said, and in his voice there was a hint that birds of the mirror pond should be chatting among themselves, in hushed tones, of the unfaithfulness of a bird that is supposed to stay mated through life. Clyde very frequently makes long excursions down the mirror lake, around the Hosch point and out of sight of his mate. Clyde may just be in quest of food, but Hosmer is a bit suspicious.

But getting back to the lone gosling — and Hosmer was somewhat reluctant to get back — the waterfront reporter said that he had really attempted to keep in touch with the goose family and several weeks ago visited their unoccupied nest, only to find three chilled eggs. Hosmer assumed that some tragedy had overtaken the family and made no further investigation. But it developed that the parent geese deserted their nest after one egg had hatched and had escorted their lone gosling into deep water.

For the past several weeks, the two old geese and their lone offspring of the 1935 season have been making their home on or near the Melvin Cyrus lawn, at 804 Harmon Boulevard, where they are receiving food and attention. Last year, the geese hatched five goslings and immediately went upstream.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1935

Clyde and Lela Keep Their Old Homestead

swans-homeOld Folks of Swan Family Set Up Housekeeping as Usual, Establishing Calm

Recognizing that family rights should be given priority over any further attempt to enhance the beauty of Bend’s Mirror Pond by bringing in young swans, the Kiwanis Club today announced that “Clyde” and “Lela” will not be disturbed.

The two parental swans, it has developed, have established their spring home at their usual place in the tules below the Tumalo bridge, and “Lela” is now nesting on eggs from which will emerge another brood of cygnets.

With the family rights of “Clyde” and “Lela” now acknowledged, the Kiwanians are still at a loss as to what to do with the four young swans. It appears that these birds will be placed in the power dam forebay. However, no promise is being made that the birds will remain there.

Source: Bend Bulletin

Clyde and Lela Must Remain Below Bridge


Pugnaciuos Swans to Have Realm of Their Own in Forebay Above Power Dam

The Mirror Pond’s pugnacious swans, “Clyde” and “Lela,” are to be placed in a miniature refuge in the power dam forebay immediately below the Newport Avenue bridge, it was announced today, when means of isolating the battling birds from young swans that are to be placed on the mirror pond were approved. Work on a screen under the bridge, to keep the parental swans from returning upstream, was to be started this afternoon. The two swans will be herded by boat into this enclosure.

Steps to remove the two old swans from the Mirror Pond were taken after the Kiwanis trapped four of the old orchard swans with the intention of placing these birds in the scenic pond upstream. It was then decided that “Clyde” and “Lela” would drive the younger birds out of the pond, so the deportation of the old birds was approved. The two old swans have started a nest in the “island” below the Tumalo avenue bridge.

J. Alton Thompson, who has been making a close study of mirror pond birds lately, reports that there are now 16 or 17 swans on the Deschutes river. Reports were received that one of the old orchard swans was dead, but this report had not been verified this morning.

The clubmen hope to take all the young swans and one older bird from the old orchard into the mirror pond. Four swans are still downstream.

Source: Bend Bulletin

Nine Islands Placed in Mirror Pond Here

Nine willow covered “islands” so small and movable that they ride the waves, made their appearance in the Deschutes river below the Tumalo avenue bridge yesterday, as the result of cooperative work of local sportsmen, members of the Four L, locals, Boy Scouts and the Miller Lumber Co. The tiny, man-made islands are intended for ducks and other waterfowl of the Deschutes mirror pond. If these birds see fit to make nests on these islands, they are welcome.

Men working on the artificial nesting places for the ducks found that the usual nesting places in the tule island just below the bridge are under water this season, the depth of this water ranging from eight to 18 inches.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1934