Swan Saga Pt. 2

Written by Alexa Martinez/Photos by Dan Streiffert and Alexa Martinez

Throughout the months of January and February, Malheur NWR staff conduct surveys for Trumpeter swans that may be utilizing the refuge during the winter months. Most survey sites are located at the south end of the refuge where there tends to be more water, as well as the Diamond Swamp area. On a weekly basis, biologist, volunteers, and staff report any sightings of swans on the refuge. Visitors are also more than welcome to send in their swan sightings during this time. Information that is collected include the date, time(s), location(s), and whether the individual was able to distinguish between the two species of swans found on refuge: trumpeter and tundra swans.

In the month of February, Malheur NWR collaborates with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to have an overall count of swans in Oregon. We try to coordinate with biologist from Summer Lake Wildlife Area in Summer Lake, OR on a time and date when this will occur. For this year we had conducted our survey on the 4th of February. Malheur had 177 swan sightings: 46 Trumpeter swans, 89 Tundra swans, and 42 unidentified. At Summer Lake Wildlife Area they had a total of 422 swan sightings.

Throughout the survey conducted at Malheur NWR, two collared swans were recorded, which include our native female from Benson Pond, θ64 and 2@1 female that was tagged at Boca Lake back in 2018. Both female swans have been hanging around each other at Benson Pond for majority of the winter. It is thought that 2@1 may be the daughter of θ64. As was mentioned in last month’s article by Gary Ivey, the other female, θ76, who would typically be seen with 2@1 has been observed with a male at Summer Lake Wildlife Area.

Like most of the misfortune brought to the world in 2020, it also brought misfortune to θ64, since she had lost her mate last year. Reasons are unknown. With that said, hopefully, 2021 will bring θ64 some luck, and who knows, luck might have brought her a surprise for this Valentine’s Day. We are all anxiously awaiting the next chapter of this Swan Saga.

Backyard Bird Shop Gives Back to Nature

Celebrating 30yrs in business by supporting conservation organizations the region. Photo by Dan Streiffert

Inspired by the natural world, Backyard Bird Shop is a local flock of shops dedicated to connecting people to nature. They offer products and information that help folks invite native birds, squirrels, bats, mason bees and other wildlife into their own yard or outdoor space. Their mindful selection of products reflects their values and offers responsibly sourced products and giftware and gives reference to working with local artisans, small American businesses, cottage industries, and international fair-trade groups.

Backyard Bird Shop now operates five stores in the Portland-Vancouver metro area. In addition to being the ultimate source for wildlife supplies, their shops are a tranquil place to select beautiful gifts for the home and yard or to simply relax and reduce the stress from your day. 

This beloved business is celebrating their 30th Anniversary this March.  To recognize this milestone, Backyard Bird Shop has planned a year of giving back to nature!  Every month from March 2021 through February 2022, Backyard Bird Shop will donate a portion of their sales to and promote awareness of select nonprofits that benefit birds and wildlife. 

Friends of Malheur NWR and four other NWR friends groups will be among the participating nonprofits to benefit during the month of June 2021 (Don’t worry we’ll remind you!). Backyard Bird Shop will donate $1 for every case of suet sold during June – a time when birds are taking suet back to a nest full of young or bringing their newly fledged family to the suet.

Visit your local Backyard Bird Shop online www.BackyardBirdShop.com or on Facebook. You can also fly over to any of these 5 locations where they are currently offering in-store shopping and curbside pick-up:

1. Beaverton: 11429 SW Bvtn-Hillsdale Hwy, Beaverton, OR 97005
(503) 445-2699 (Press 1)
Mon-Sat  10-6 and Sun  10-5

2. Lake Oswego: 16949 S.W. 65th Ave., Lake Oswego, OR 97035
(503) 445-2699 (Press 2)
Mon-Sat  10-6 and Sun  10-5

3. Portland: 1419 N.E. Fremont St, Portland, OR 97212
(503) 445-2699 (Press 3)
Mon-Sat  10-6 and Sun  10-5

4. West Linn: 22000 Willamette Dr, West Linn, OR 97068
(503) 445-2699 (Press 4)
Mon-Sat  10-6 and Sun  10-5

5. Vancouver: 8101 N.E. Parkway Dr, Vancouver, WA 98662
(503) 445-2699 (Press 5)
Mon-Sat  10-6 and Sun  11-5