Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Birdwatchers and patriots alike can celebrate some good news today. The American bald eagle is thriving in Oregon.
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission just approved removing the bald eagle from the Oregon Endangered Species List.
According to Catherine Flick, coordinator of the annual Gorge-wide Christmas Bird Count for the Audubon Society, bald eagle populations in the Gorge and across Oregon have increased steadily since the late 1970s.
"We have about 8 to 10 permanent resident pairs between Cascade Locks and Mosier," said Flick.
Flick also noted that in the winter months, when preferred eagle food supplies of fish and water fowl increase, an additional 120 or more individual birds also become temporary residents of the area.
"On Feb. 7, I sighted the first nesting bird in the Gorge," said Flick. "This is very early and it appears that the eggs hatched last week."
OFW Commissioners called recovery of bald eagles in Oregon a great success made possible through the cooperation of many agencies, landowners and other partners.
Biologists estimated a minimum population of 570 nesting pairs of bald eagles in Oregon in 2010, compared to just 65 pairs in 1978.
"Eagles are very territorial. They return to the same nests every year," said Flick. "As long as they are not harassed and nothing happens to the nests, they will return."
Flick wanted to emphasize the importance of keeping those birds and their nests "harassment-free."
"Just like any species, like us even, they need their privacy," said Flick. "They will flush off their nests if disturbed"; which may also lead to abandonment of eaglets and eggs.
Flick noted that visiting wintering eagles also arrive from thousands of miles away including Arizona, California, Yellowstone Park and the Northwest Territories.
"There are all age classes of birds here in the winter. It takes four to five years for them to become adults and we see both juveniles and adults here."
Flick has been involved with the Christmas Bird Count since 2000 and also conducts monthly winter raptor surveys throughout the Gorge. This winter a new bald eagle nesting site was found in Tygh Valley - the first in decades in that area.
The bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007. Bald eagles are still protected under a number of state and federal laws.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge