Trumpeter Swans released in Lake San Marcos

by Jacque on January 11, 2015

Two Mated Pairs of Trumpeter Swans Released in Lake San Marcos

Article form the Union Tribune on December 6, 2014, written by Teri Figueroa

Community purchases, releases birds in honor of late longtime resident

There are two new pairs of swans on Lake San Marcos.
The birds arrived by plane from Northern California around midday Friday, and before 4 p.m. — with much clapping, laughter and Champagne — they were gleefully out of their wooden crates and swimming on the lake.
Their arrival was welcomed but bittersweet, as the birds are a nod to a well-loved man who lived along the lake for nearly a decade and loved to watch the wildlife — including swans — enjoy the water.
Kenneth C. “Ken” Beall was one of those folks who made a difference — the first to arrive and help set up an event, and the last to leave, while carrying a bag of rubbish to the trash can. The longtime Lake San Marcos resident was also the associate editor of its community newsletter, Quail Call.
Beall died Nov. 7 at age 87, following a long battle with cancer.
Flowers were not the way to honor this former Navy man, his widow Norma Beall said. He was best remembered with a living legacy.
So, with the help of donations, the community raised nearly $8,000 and bought two pair of mating swans. Theyreleased them from the dock behind Beall’s home.
“I know this is something he would have loved,” his widow said Friday.
The couple met when they were in preschool, and their parents were best friends. They dated four times, went their separate ways and married others and later divorced them. Then, 37 years ago, they married each other.
The Bealls moved to Lake San Marcos a little less than 10 years ago.
He was diagnosed with cancer less than two years ago, “but he did not give up,” Norma Beall said. So they went to parties, took cruises, and went out on the lake when they could. Ken Beall enjoyed watching the birds.
After his death, his widow thought of the birds — and the idea for the swans was born. She talked to friend and neighbor Lee Herzog, who helped spread the word. Money quickly came in, even a donation from the lake‘s new owner.
The birds are trumpeter swans, which are the largest waterfowl in America. Herzog arranged to purchase them from a breeder in Auburn.
The original plan was to set the birds free this morning. But, Herzog said, everyone recognized it was much more humane to release them from their wooden shipping crates as soon as possible.
So Friday afternoon, Beall’s widow and three of her friends quickly dropped their bridge cards, picked up phones and started calling friends. Within moments, three dozen showed up to watch the release of the swans.
Early Friday evening, even after darkness fell, Norma Beall could see the newly released birds across the lake, settled into a patch of grass.
One of the two mating pairs is unnamed. The other pair bears the names of K.C. and Peaches.
K.C. was Ken’s nickname, Peaches is Norma’s.
Trumpeter Swans released in Lake San Marcos

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