Monday, March 21, 2016

Raptor Road Trip

Snow geese.
We try to never miss the annual Raptor Road Trip.  It's a neat way to help Portlanders discover Sauvie Island's amazing birds. There are three wildlife viewing areas on the island where volunteers set up spotting scopes to see remarkable birds up close, and plenty of experts to help identify them and share their stories.  If possible, Audubon will release a rehabilitated bird from their wildlife care center. This year, it was a female red tailed hawk.  They explained that on average they receive 3,000 injured animals per year, although their total in 2015 was closer to 3,500, and the largest single cause of injury to the wild animals they receive are cats. (They work hard to get the message across that outdoor cats decimate native wildlife and have much shorter lifespans themselves than indoor cats.) We always find that if we take our time and drive carefully, we can join the bird lovers stopped by the side of the road all over the island, having spotted something cool.  We saw our first up close flock of sandhill cranes at one if these impromptu stops, as well as the returning great blue herons at a huge rookery on Reeder Road (heading east, just past mile marker 6 on the left). 

Sandhill cranes.
Sandhill cranes.
Sandhill cranes.
Sandhill cranes.
Sandhill cranes.
Swans.
Canada geese.
Swans.
Snow geese.
Snow geese.
Snow geese.
Red tailed hawk release.
Red tailed hawk release.
Red tailed hawk release.
Finnegan, an Audubon educational bird who was hatched with a deformed foot.
Julio the great horned owl, an Audubon educational bird who was once kept as a pet and cannot be released.
Great blue heron rookery.
Great blue heron rookery.

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