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This is the place where the editor ruminates on whatever is on the editor's mind. This time, it's owls

ERIC NORBERG - An owl in a tree in Westmoreland, seen in daylight, in the later afternoon of November 15. Ever since cats and small dogs began disappearing years ago, it has been clear that there are coyotes here, as in fact there are in many large cities in this country. These clever canids survive on what they catch, and some of them in Portland look well fed indeed.

But coyotes are not the only wildlife in Portland that we live with. Last month, in our Letters to the Editor we printed a photo of an eight-point buck deer, seen between two parked cars on S.E. 10th in Sellwood, out on the street in broad daylight.

Many of us have seen raccoons, opossums, and skunks. We have pigeons, crows, the occasional duck, and even now and then a released pet peacock wandering our streets.

Not to mention the flocks, if not herds, of Canadian geese which migrate daily between Oaks Bottom and the Eastmoreland Golf Course and Westmoreland Park.

We have printed in THE BEE images of hawks and eagles taken near the Willamette River (and also nesting on light poles near McLoughlin Boulevard, and on a cellular tower near Brooklyn) in years past.

In November, BEE reader Marvin Price called our attention to an owl sitting in one of his street trees in Westmoreland. It obligingly stayed put until we could get there with a camera, and it examined us carefully from aloft as we snapped its picture – which appears on this page. (From a bird book in Mrs. BEE's possession, it appears this may have been one of Oregon's famous, but endangered, Spotted Owls.)

City life certainly does not insulate us from the natural world, nor would we want it to; part of our humanity is developed through relationships with animals. But if you have cats or small animals, it is probably best to make sure they are indoors at night and when coyotes are nearby.

And these members of the dog family do not limit themselves to the hours of darkness; shortly after 9 a.m., earlier this year, we were visiting with Dr. Beeson at Beeson Chiropractic in Sellwood and were startled to see a nice, sleek, self-assured coyote come up over the edge of the Oaks Bottom Bluff behind Dr. Beeson's practice, and trot around the building out towards S.E. 13th Avenue.

That same week, we heard that a very similar animal was seen on S.E. 18th in the north end of Westmoreland. And it is well-known that coyotes have been living near the headwaters lake of Crystal Springs Creek on the Reed College campus.

This might be the place to tell anyone who has not strolled the Bluff Trail around Oaks Bottom that doing so is an experience that takes you far away from any sense that you are in a big city. Remarkably, it seems as if you might be somewhere in the Cascades! It probably is more fun to stroll it in the warmer and drier months of the year, but undoubtedly its pleasures draw walkers even in the winter.

Take a camera, and take your time. It's a therapeutic experience.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from all of us at THE BEE.


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