The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is one of a handful of urban refuges in the country. It is close to home but offers a place where people can escape the city and experience nature in a quiet setting. Its diverse habitats support some of the most abundant and varied wildlife in the Tualatin River watershed.
The refuge is home to nearly 200 species of birds, more than 50 species of mammals and a variety of insects, fish and plants. Every month offers a different aspect of nature and July is a good month to visit.
Take a walk on the refuge and you'll find it's a quiet time for songbirds. They have completed their breeding and raising babies. Many of the birds are still around, so you may hear them singing if you come early. Wilson's snipes and spotted sandpipers are hatching. Great blue herons and great egrets may be seen foraging on fish and frogs in drying wetlands.
Most wetlands are dry now to grow the next crop of natural waterfowl food. However, birds are not the only wildlife you will see. Visitors have reported seeing minks, coyotes, black-tailed deer, rough-skinned newts and garter snakes.
Work on the Chicken Creek restoration project will resume later this summer. Due to the active construction work that will take place, visitors can expect trail closures that will impact the seasonal trail loop. We have not yet implemented any trail closures, but when we do, we will continue to update our Refuge 2020 website, where the most up-to-date information on the trail closures can be found. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we undergo the last leg of our restoration project. While we know that trail closures create a temporary inconvenience, this short-term disruption will ultimately result in an improved visitor experience and much improved habitat for wildlife.
The visitor center remains closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, but online shopping is available. If you are looking for something for your friends, family or for yourself, check out the store's selection. Items available include jewelry, nature books and field guides, toys for children, puzzles, hats, socks and more. Contact-free merchandise pickup will be available outside the visitor center during limited hours or by appointment. The link for online shopping is https://bit.ly/2V116zP. For questions about merchandise, ordering or pickup/shipping, please call the online store at 971-420-5989.
Pam Farris is a member of Friends of Tualatin Refuge.
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