Date: 6/16/18 5:47 pm From: David Vick <or.naturalist...> Subject: [COBOL] Smith Rock raptors and a big surprise
The two bald eaglets took their first flights on Thursday and continue to spend most of their time hanging out on the nest tree waiting for mom and dad to bring home groceries which included a flying fish and a flying squirrel this morning. I know that both of these species are rather rare in Central Oregon but perhaps they were just receiving their first and last flying lessons. The golden eaglet is spending a lot of time exercising it's wings in the nest so fledging will in the next week or two. Unlike the neighbors, once a golden leaves the nest they want nothing to do with their former prison. If you were wanting to observe or photograph the balds from the rim better make it soon but please remember to complete the recently implemented agreement form if you haven't already done so. This can be obtained from the office or you can give me a call at 541-923-6943 and I will set you up. Despite the valiant efforts of Gary Landers of Wild Wings Raptor Rehabilitation in Sisters the tiercel of the peregrine pair was lost last month right after confirmation of incubation which obviously resulted in failure. It was kind of sad to see her defending the scrape for the following two weeks but such is the natural world. The good news is that the she has recruited a replacement, a very brief period of morning indeed! It is highly unlikely that they will produce a clutch this late in the season but it was awesome for Ranger Kyle and I to watch them hunting Violet-green Swallows from the face of Picnic Lunch Wall yesterday. The First Kiss climbing area's Prairie Falcons continue their nesting efforts and those closures also continue despite some members of the climbing community getting antsy but oh well. When I was checking on their status recently I noticed something out of place up on the rim. When I got my binoculars on it I was amazed to see a female California Bighorn Sheep. My first thought was, "Ewe got to be kidding!" I feel sheepish about posting this on COBAL but couldn't resist four baaad puns in a row. By proximity it would be more likely to have been one of the feral Mouflon Sheep from Crooked River Ranch but that apparently is not the case. The nearest population of bighorns was reintroduced in the Mutton Mountains on the Rez several years ago. (One of my former students, tribal member Joel Santos, was the recipient of the very first tag and bagged a huge ram when the population grew large enough to be hunted.) Many of you no doubt remember when the Mountain Goat showed up and stayed for awhile in the Dry Canyon out in the Badlands a few years ago. Populations always have those that hear the beat of a different drummer and are just hard wired to disperse like OR-7 did. Wonders never cease!
David Vick Interpretive Naturalist Smith Rock State Park