Blanche, the swan who captured the hearts of generations of visitors Palace of Fine Artsshe has died on the 28th, The San Francisco Department of Parks and Recreation announced today.
Blanche died Thursday, January 12, at her home in Sonoma County, where she retired in July 2022 after spending her life at the Palace of Fine Arts Lake amid fears of bird flu and lead in urban soil. The move was temporary, but the recently widowed mute swan has blossomed into an idyllic country estate, where she She is reunited with her son, Stanleysaid Acting Volunteer Gayle Hagerty.
“She was in a beautiful place where she was very happy and she was in control,” said Hagerty, who has been taking care of the mansion’s swans for 30 years. “The other swans knew her as a queen and there was not a day when she was not valued and loved.”
While mute swans are usually territorial and aggressive, Blanche was blessed with an optimistic, sociable temperament. She charmed visitors with her proud poses and wavering greetings. She had a craving for corn and alfalfa, and had a weakness for Cheez-It candy at times.
“She was amazing. She loved people. She loved children. I thought anyone near the water’s edge was there to see her. People were just fascinated by how social she was,” Hagerty said.
Blanche was born on May 5, 1994 in the Palace of Fine Arts to mother Friday and father Stella – who had been purchased as a female and soon revealed to be male when Friday became pregnant the previous season. Blanche’s parents were deeply in love, even by companion life standards.
“The courtship ritual seemed delicate. They walked in a circle on the ground, turning their heads in unison and touching their breasts together before making a heart shape with their beaks,” Hagerty recalls.
Blanche spent her early years on the water with her parents, brother Mortimer, and sisters Knuckles and Monday Two. But tragedy would soon break their family. Mortimer mated with his sister Knuckles and became territorial once the Cygnets hatched. In 2001, he killed his father and attacked his mother. Mortimer, Knuckles and their children were later given to breeders in Point Reyes.
For a time, Blanche, her mother Friday, and her sister Monday II enjoyed a quiet life on the lake. But in early 2010, someone stole Friday. She was found six months later in the backyard of a private house on the streets and taken away.
Then, in November of the same year, Monday was found with a broken neck. Scattered feathers and discarded beer cans were nearby, but the attacker was never brought to justice.
In 2011, Blue Boy joins Blanche at the lake and they quickly become companions and parents in their resulting webs. A loyal but protective partner, Blue Boy was prone to chasing birds and humans alike during mating season. The couple shared a love of recreation and gardening in the gardening department, particularly Emma Thueney. Blue Boy passed away in 2021 at the age of 17, leaving Blanche the only swan to grace the still waters.
Blanche is survived by her son Stanley, caretaker Gayle Hagerty, and countless fans including Rec and Park employees, townspeople, and tourists from around the world.
“Blanche has inspired animal lovers and the romance of her Palace of Fine Arts for nearly three decades,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the San Francisco Department of Parks and Recreation. “Her beauty and grace rivaled that of the palace itself, but it was her extraordinary personality that won over our visitors. She was an ideal ambassador.”
Instead of flowers, please honor Blanche by going outside and enjoying the park. You find More information about Blanche’s life