Local resident Stefan Savides is one of the most renowned avian sculptors in the world, whose work has been sought out by everyone from leading museums to Cabela’s Outfitters to Prince Akishino of Japan. But it’s the Klamath Basin that proudly boasts more of Savides’s public masterpieces than anywhere else. Bird lovers and art aficionados alike will want to set their GPS to enjoy a Klamath day trip of pure beauty.
Begin your tour at the Running Y Ranch Lodge, where the lobby features Savides’s smaller sculptures created using the lost wax method. Then head south on Highway 140 and turn onto Lakeshore Drive. Here you may see osprey or red-tailed hawks in the wild, but you’ll also find the Robert Anderson Memorial on the shores of Klamath Lake—a massive bronze sculpture of two bald eagles.
Continue on Lakeshore Drive exiting north on Highway 97. Your next stop is A Swirl of Terns featured at Sky Lakes Medical Center. Take in the beautiful view of Klamath Lake, then enter the hospital’s main lobby to see the flock of 49 Forster’s Terns “flying” above the three-story atrium stairwell.
Leave the medical campus and drive south on Highway 97 to Main Street. At Sugarman’s Corner, Savides’s colorful squadron of pelicans take flight. “Opportunist,” the bronze Blue Heron, patiently stalks its prey among a bed of native plants, while a school of bronze salmon swim up the river.
Continue on Main Street toward Lake Ewauna. The seven-foot tall bronze sculpture Pelican on Parade perches on the edge of Veteran’s Park, a monument to a bird that is ubiquitous here but rarely seen in other parts of Oregon. The City of Klamath falls honored Savides by choosing this piece as its official symbol.
Just past Veteran’s Park and over the Link River Bridge is the Favell Museum. Several of Savides’s beautifully patinated sculptures will be displayed at the 35th annual Favell Museum Invitational Art Show & Sale, running from October 4th through November 16th.
In front of the Favell Museum sits Savides’s latest commission—a collaboration with Texas sculptor Garland Weeks and Perry Chocktoot, director of the Klamath Tribes Culture and Heritage Department. The sculpture depicts a rite of passage ceremony where a man reaches to select an eagle feather. It is fitting that the first sculpture paying homage to the Klamath Tribes sits near the site of the ancient Ewauna fishing village.
For a final dose of beauty, head 20 miles south to Tulelake, California. While driving you may see white-faced ibis, cormorant, or grebes. But you’re looking for the Steel Pelican Silhouettes that grace the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 as the nation’s first waterfowl refuge, there couldn’t be a more fitting home for world class avian sculptor Stefan Savides’s work.
Written by Janann Loetscher Executive Director, Favell Museum