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Troublingly Friendly

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Blog |

Do you ever get the feeling that something is watching you – and then find out that you are right? On a late February day I was planting trees in the open meadow of the Timber Forest.  Driving the shovel’s blade in to the soil, something gave me pause as I reach into the bag on my left hip for the next seedling.  Looking up, I was surprised to see a red tailed hawk sitting on a limb of an alder, not twenty feet away, watching me closely.  As we stared across the gap between us for several minutes, I thought to myself “this is not right”.   As I continued to plant, the hawk followed me – moving from tree to tree.  At times we were less than ten feet apart. An hour later, I visited with a team of 7th grade scientists from Catlin Gabel School who were monitoring the creek.  They recounted how a hawk – apparently THE hawk – approached close to them.  As they watched, it threw itself to the forest floor and flopped around with wings outstretched.  It appeared that it might have been trying to capture something to eat, but no creature was visible on the ground. These encounters reminded me that this hawk as been uncommonly friendly and comfortable with us two leggeds for several months.  The photo above was taken in early December when the hawk made a close approach to coho watchers. What might explain this?  Could it be a hawk who once lived with people and was released, or escaped, to the wild?  We looked for leather jesses on the legs, but saw none.  Could the hawk be sick in some way.   Who knows? ———————————————————————- Additional Update March 7, 2014: Because other know much more about these things than we do, we made contact with knowledgeable friends at the Audubon Society of Portland and here is what we learned:   From Steve Engel, naturalist and Director of Adult Education – “I’d be interested in what Deb and Char think and I’m cc’ing Carole Hallett, a raptor biologist with tons of experience with these birds.  Here’s my 2 cents, for what it’s worth: It sounds...

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The Only Owl is a Lonely Owl

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Blog |

On the evening of Saturday March 1st, eleven of us divided into two teams and set off into the dark forest to learn what our annual owl monitoring would tell us.  Hopes were raised by our having heard up to seven individual owls in three species during monitoring in past years.  Following each of two routes, covering the full breadth of the forest, we stopped roughly eight times and called for owls in a progression of species, from smallest to largest.  Saw whet, Northern pygmy, Western Screech, Spotted, Barred, and Great horned. And what called back? We were disappointed that only one owl responded – and it was the unwanted, new arrival – the barred owl.   This result led to long discussion of what conclusions we might draw.  Regardless, we all enjoyed the quiet walk through the dark, sleeping forest and look forward to what we might learn next March.  Thanks to all for their important involvement and...

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A Most Hopeful Act

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Blog |

This world is always in need of hope. In our forests there is one activity that we always look forward to.  Tree planting.  One reason for this is that it is one of the few activities we do that is welcomely quet and not overshadowed by some load equipment.  But the main reason we look forward to and enjoy it is that is a fundamentally hopeful thing to do.  Every winter we suit up and slog through the mud and rain to stuff beautiful, vulnerable seedlings into the ground based on a faith – and hope – that this small thing will grow into something big and remarkable.  Perhaps this faith and hope is a metaphor or subset of the faith and hope that caring as best we can for these forests will be a good thing – for both the land and for the people. As we planted valley ponderosa pine today in the meadow in the Timber Forest, thriving  trees planted five or six years  served as reminders that our faith may not be misplaced.   Fortunately the protective tubes are made from corn starch and break down before they strangle the growing tree.    ...

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