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Geese and all manner of ducks will flock to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge this month

November is the month waterfowl migrate.

From the beginning of the month to the end, the number of geese may go from a few hundred to several thousand flying into the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. In addition, ducks are joining the geese, including northern pintails to be followed by buffleheads, ruddy ducks and ring-neck ducks. It's an exciting fall scene and so close to home.

There are the year-round species of wildlife that call the refuge home, but are not as visible. These include black-tail deer, beaver, muskrat, coyote, mink and other creatures. Birds include redtail hawk, American kestrel, spotted towhee and many others. If you visit the refuge, slow down and look and listen to the sounds of nature. COURTESY PHOTO: PAM FARIS - If you're thinking about Christmas shopping, stop in Nature's Overlook in the visitor center. The store carries a nice selection of nature-themed items.

Don't forget to look down as you walk the trail. You will see small brown- and black-striped caterpillars known as "woolly bears" moving on and along the trail. They are a sure sign that winter is coming. When spring arrives, these little creatures will spin a cocoon and change into the Isabella tiger moth. It's an amazing transformation.

If you're thinking about Christmas shopping, stop in Nature's Overlook in the visitor center. The store carries a nice selection of nature-themed items. You'll find warm and colorful socks, scarves, jewelry, games and puzzles for rainy days, field guides to learn more about nature, and books to read by the fireplace. The store also offers shopping online and features many of the same unique products you will find in the store.

Online orders can be picked up at the store during regular business hours or other times by appointment. Friends' members receive a 10% discount on all purchases and proceeds from the store sales are used to support projects on the refuge.

If you have stopped in the store and thought that it would be a fun place to work, volunteers are needed. The store is often the first contact visitors have with the refuge. It's an enjoyable opportunity to meet and greet people from diverse places; it's also a place to learn about the refuge. No specific experience is necessary and training will be provided, although you must be a member of the Friends of the Refuge and commit to working two three-hour shifts per month. Volunteers receive relevant training, 10% off purchases, behind-the-scenes tours and workshops. If you are interested, email Fish and Wildlife Service Park Ranger Natalie Balkam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call 503-625-5944 or stop by the visitor center.

Second Saturday work party

9 a.m.-noon Nov. 12, Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Are you trying to get out of the neighborhood and explore a different wildlife refuge? Here's your chance. Join us for a planting with Friends of Trees at our Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge located in Gaston. Families are welcome and parking is available at 104 Onion Lane in Gaston. Register on the Friends of the Refuge website at friendsoftualatinrefuge.org. If you have filled out a volunteer service agreement in 2022, you will not need to complete another one.

Give Back Planting

9 a.m.-noon Nov. 19

Looking for ways to give back to your community this holiday season? Look no further than your neighborhood wildlife refuge. Bring yourself or your family and prepare to get down and dirty with a dibble. Volunteers must register and fill out a volunteer service agreement unless you have already done so in 2022. Visit the website www.friendsoftualatinrefuge.org to register.

Pam Faris is a member of Friends of the Refuge.


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