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Volume 8, Issue 9


September 2010

The Nature of Cedar Mill
Summer visitors
by Lauretta Young, Portland Birdwatching

Many of us have family or school reunions during the summer. Seeing old friends again brings a mixture of joy and curiosity about how their lives have been since the last time we met. Similarly when our summer backyard bird visitors return, I remember how much I have missed the "skyows and kucks" of the Green Heron in my wetlands.

Green Heron
A Green Heron in Cedar Mill. Photo by Jeff Young

These small cousins of the Great Blue Herons which are with us all year, come only in late spring and summer. They, like their Great Blue Heron kin make a very loud KUCK as they land. It is very hard to not notice that these relatives have arrived! They are one of the last migrants to come back to Oregon so when we see them we know summer has indeed arrived.

Summer is a wonderful time to go outdoors but also one of the most challenging for bird watching. Spring's wonders of the singing, courtship and mating displays end with nests of little hungry birds. The parents are too busy to sing but instead go to and fro all day gathering food and teaching the babies how to avoid hawks and other predators.

If you want to do bird watching in the summer it's best to go early in the day. By mid-day the birds appear to be too hot to be out and about. Like us they are hanging out in cooler areas. I picked blueberries at Bonny Slope Blueberry Farm (what a lovely bunch of berries I got too) and the birds were there happily eating away as well. What a feast for all of us.

The Cedar Waxwings were singing, the Western Tanagers were flying around, the robins were gorging on berries, the Western Wood Peewees were catching bugs; it was quite the scene. Then as the sun got higher and the air got hotter the activity ceased and it was quiet as the birds began an afternoon siesta.

Soon all the swallows with their babies flying high above my pond will start their journey south for the winter. I will have more migratory ducks stop in my pond on their way to winter warmth. But for now I will enjoy the many baby Hummingbirds visiting my summer blooming flowers, the Quail babies eating my cherries and the summer visitors calling from the pond. Reunions are lovely.

Lauretta Young is a retired physician who now teaches at PSU and OHSU and also has a bird tour business in Cedar Mill and surrounding areas—check out her web site at for more pictures and a blog.



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Portland, Oregon 97291