Saturday, July 25, 9-11am ~ Friends of Wildwood Trail. Audubon-led Public Bird Walks in Lincoln City Open Spaces and Parks. Forest and wetlands with cedar and hemlock, some forest edge. Easy walk. No prior birding experience is required and binoculars and guidebooks will be provided. Call 541-992-9720 for more information.
Whether you are a resident state birder or a visitor, you might be interested in finding out what birds were sighted where in the state and when. Click here for up-to-date reports.
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IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS
Injured birds, dead mammals, poaching,
call: State Police: 800-452-7888
Injured Bird and Mammal Rehab Centers:
Chintimini Wildlife Center (Corvallis) 541-745-5324
Wildlife Care Center (Portland) 503-292-0304
Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center (Salem) 503-540-8664
Wildlife Center of the North Coast (Astoria) 503-338-0331
Cascades Raptor Center (Eugene) 541-485-1320
photo © nagi aboulenein - bald eagle
It was May when a group of us noticed a large shadowy bowl tucked in the boughs of a very tall tree across the river. As weeks went by, our excitement grew as we witnessed a young one growing from a fluffball to an adolescent not quite ready to leave home. The winds were strong during our spring months but we couldn’t complain about having absolutely beautiful, sunny and dry weather. One day that huge bowl tucked in the boughs of that very tall tree disappeared and we became distraught with fear for the wellbeing of that young one.
Alive, injured, or dead?
Written by Ernie
That is the question that encouraged Michael and I to cross the river during mid-July to get a final answer to the health status of the young one that had experienced a tremendous fall from a great height.
At eight in the morning, the low tide made the river crossing a bit tenuous via canoe. Stepping out of the canoe on the other bank proved to be hazardous in that the sand wasn't very stable and we sank into it when we stayed in one place too long. So we portaged the canoe about 10-20 yards further downstream before we felt solid earth beneath our feet. We carried the canoe the same distance upstream and another 30 yards up the bank before feeling like we had it far enough inland to keep it from being washed away by the eventual rising tide.
Two weeks earlier, I made this trek by traveling to the right to skirt the swale in front of the ridge. This time we took the same trail and arrived at the same ridge where I had seen the large bird perched about 12 feet from the ground. But Michael's GPS coordinates of the nesting tree showed that we should be much more to the left, to the east more so than the south. So we gritted our teeth, took the seemingly insurmountable challenge and bush-whacked our way in that direction. Yup, we bush-whacked, and bush-whacked, and bush-whacked along the left side of the ridge. Sweat was running down my neck and mosquitoes were favoring the delicious fluid.
Is it that tree? No, is it that one! GPS says we are very close but it wasn't pinpointing the exact location. So we moved further east. About that time the parent was sending out an alert that there were a couple of yahoos thrashing through the woods. She circled us several times under and above the canopy of the trees, keeping an eye on our advancement. We paused several times so as not to get her too excited, as well as to determine where the young body might be, whether alive, injured or dead.
If we continued straight ahead, we would have had to drop about 40 feet and have to climb back up just as far. Instead, we followed the ridge line in a half circle to a grove of very tall trees. On the way, there were signs of past activity, feathers of past prey and feces of white painted on the green leaves of the underbrush.
As we moved continually east, we saw less and less signs of predation and defecation. The parent bird had quieted down and disappeared in the darkness of the forest. Finally on top of the half moon ridge, we paused to catch our breaths and to get our bearings. As Michael dipped down a shallow slope, I panned along the horizon of our dark surroundings. "Ahhh, look over there, Michael. See that dark clump on a limb of that big tree?"
That's what we were looking for! It's not dead, nor is it injured. It's alive and healthy. How could we tell? After a bit, and before I could get my camera ready for shooting, it easily flew away. Michael and I looked at each other with huge smiles on our faces and gave a high-five. That's what we were praying for!