Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A New Home and a New Bridge

Last week, I spent a day at the Audubon Society of Portland preparing for the week of summer camp I am leading starting next Monday. I will be taking a dozen fourth and fifth graders to field research sites to introduce them to wildlife biology in action. I still have a lot to organize, and I am trying not to stress out.

While at Audubon, I was able to check out their newest structure. The Wildlife Care Center has several unreleasable education birds. Julio the great horned owl once had a large enclosure all to himself.

Last year, however, Ruby the turkey vulture arrived and was moved into the enclosure while a bitter Julio was relegated to a smaller cage inside.

During the last few weeks, staffers and volunteered built Julio a splendid new enclosure just down the hill from his old one.

He seems much happier now.

Yesterday, I drove to Sauvie Island for a job interview with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. As usual, the interview was a tense process, so I had a much better time viewing the island's sites.

I crossed the new Sauvie Island bridge for the first time. The old, green bridge is still in place. Some want to move it to downtown Portland for a bicycle commuter bridge, but the plan seems to have stalled.

The volcanic peaks of Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens and Mount Adams are all visible from the island. A forest fire is currently burning on Mount Adams. This weekend, the plume of smoke resembled an eruption and fooled many, including myself, into thinking that one of the giants had reawakened.

Unfortunately, the local news stations show many bemoaning the "loss" of the forest. Apparently many people still think of forests as a static entity that will not recover from a natural disturbance.

I also spotted a purple marten perched near this marten condo complex. The small bird on the bar is a black-headed grosbeak. I only saw house sparrows enter the nests, but hopefully there are some marten babies in there as well.

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