Originally published February 22, 2013 at 12:31p.m., updated February 22, 2013 at 12:31p.m.
Hood River Rara Avis: Jake Allen of Carson, Wash., looked out his window at the Embarq building on Wasco Street Thursday at 11:30 a.m. and saw a rare sight: a snowy owl, perched in a pine tree next to the Union Pacific railroad tracks.
Snowy owls’ normal habitat is the North American tundra regions, from Alaska to the East Coast up into the arctic. They are known to migrate to the U.S.-Canada border areas in response to changing habitat conditions.
The raptor paused long enough for Allen, an Insitu employee, to take nearly 100 images, including this one, displaying the translucent beauty of its wing feathers.
Allen used a Canon 7D with a 100-400mm lens, at f4.5 and 6.
“Depending on the severity of the weather, their food resources and the number of young birds produced in the season, we can see these ‘eruptive’ movements,” said Martin Nugent, wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in Salem. “They move south and stop where they find food.”
According to OregonLive, the Audubon Society has fielded reports of the white owls in Portland and other locales across Oregon, including Bend, Burns, Astoria, Lincoln City and Eugene, where reported sightings of the raptor have been recorded this winter.
“These are magnificent birds, quite easy to spot,” said Nugent, who noted that the birds are protected under federal laws throughout the U.S. and Canada. They feed on small mammals and lemmings are their primary food source in their normal terrain.
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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