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A photographic essay by BEE correspondent Rita Leonard finds her focusing on wildlife: Artistic, and abstract

RITA A. LEONARD - This concrete camel head on S.E. Haig Street near Brooklyn Park, acts as a storm drain outlet.Wild animals of all sorts inhabit the Brooklyn neighborhood — some in person, some in paintings, some in statues, and some in legend. Proximity to the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge allows deer, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, skunks, and other wildlife easy access to the neighborhood. Anyone who has left out a dish of dry cat food on their porch has likely been visited by a possum or two, or a family of raccoons — which often spend their daylight hours asleep under neighborhood porches.

RITA A. LEONARD - Its a pelican - no, its a planter! Its on S.E. 11th Avenue, in the Brooklyn neighborhood. On the subject of bird life, everything from hummingbirds to osprey have built nests in the area — ospreys often choosing to use tall towers in or near the Union Pacific Brooklyn Railroad Yard. Old-timers also recall a colony of colorful fruit parrots that once built a large communal "stick nest" atop a PGE electrical substation at the corner of S.E. 25th Avenue and Reynolds Street. The noisy birds eventually moved eastward to the Mt. Tabor area.

RITA A. LEONARD - This artistic stained glass window, depicting a pheasant, can be found on S.E. 8th Avenue.Meanwhile, a lovely stained glass pheasant created by Brooklyn glass artist Frank Springer can still be seen at 3391 S.E. 8th Avenue.

RITA A. LEONARD - This mural painting of sturgeon and salmon is on the north wall of Portland Motor Works. Fish, too, are represented among Brooklyn wildlife, as can be seen in paintings on the north side of Pacific Motor Sports, at 936 S.E. Powell Boulevard. These include salmon and sturgeon. A concrete camel's head on S.E. Haig Street, adjacent to Brooklyn Park, serves as a storm drain outlet -- while nearby, on S.E. 11th Avenue, a pelican statue doubles as a street-side planter.

Over at 4262 S.E. 12th Avenue, a family has painted the wall of an under-home garage with images of octopi, sea creatures, and a house elf wearing an aqualung. RITA A. LEONARD - These undersea images on S.E. 12th Avenue in Brooklyn include octopi, crab, and starfish.And who could forget that original "Brooklyn Bear"-- a young black bear, evidently bound for Mt. Hood, which showed up in a backyard birch tree at 3334 S.E. 10th Avenue in 1999? The young male was downed with a anesthetic dart by wildlife officers, carefully captured, and delivered to the Mt. Hood forest, where it was released.

Occasional parrots and cockatiels have escaped, and have shown up to accept living arrangements in new homes. Pet snakes, turtles, and chickens have inhabited various Brooklyn homes during years past, and likely will continue to do so. If you keep your eyes peeled in the Brooklyn neighborhood, you might see almost anything at one time or another!


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