Bald eagles nest at Crystal Springs Rhody Gardens
Bald eagles are no stranger to the area in and around Oaks Bottom, but are rarer elsewhere. However, a bald eagle family has become a regular near S.E. 28th Avenue, in the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, just west of Reed College, and has built a nest.
You can get a glimpse of them and their nest by standing in the north end of the parking lot on 28th and focusing on a tall fir tree with a flat top growing at the center of the peninsula in the Garden. Look about six feet down at a fork in the tree, and there you'll see the eagles' nest of sticks. They build the largest nest of any American bird – it can reach over eight feet wide.
Philip Lofrumento, a worker for the American Rhododendron Society who has worked at the Garden for some sixteen years, tells THE BEE, "This is their sixth year here. Last year and the year before, they hatched two chicks per season. The year before that, there was only one eaglet. The young eagles 'fledge' in July; and, after learning how to hunt for themselves, the parents then kick them out. The youngsters tried to visit the following year, but were chased away by their parents.
"This is a great place to view the eagles," he continued; "Even better than at Oaks Bottom, I think. We also have osprey here, a pair of red-tailed hawks, and other raptors. Bird watchers can also see great blue herons hunting in the shallows, and a wide variety of smaller waterfowl. The eagles' nest is here to stay, apparently. You can see the birds at different times of day, soaring over nearby Reed College, fishing in the area, or roosting in nearby trees."
Many folks boating along the Willamette River near Ross Island have seen two or three bald eagles flying near the south end of the island, or perching on logs sticking up out of the water. Some eagles nest on the island, as well. Johnathan Swanson [www.pdxnaturephotos.com], who lives on the west side of the river, has photographed many young eagles (dark plumage) and adults (white heads) near Oaks Bottom.
Sometimes you can even see eagles catching fish on the fly, from the river. All are great places to view our majestic national bird. Portland is fortunate to have such a wide variety of wildlife so near the city's center.
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