Species Extintion Alert!!

Willamette Valley Species of Focal Interest

  •     1 Chinook salmon

  •     2 Coho salmon

  •     3 Chum salmon

  •     4 Steelhead trout

  •     5 Sockeye salmon

  •     6 Coastal cutthroat trout    

  •     7 American shad*

  •     8 Amur goby*

  •     9 Banded killifish*

  •     10 Black crappie*

  •     11 Brown bullhead*

  •     12 Chiselmouth

  •     13 Common carp*

  •     14 Goldfish*

  •     15 Largemouth bass*

  •     16 Largescale sucker

  •     17 Northern pikeminnow    

  •     18 Peamouth

  •     19 Prickly sculpin

  •     20 Pumpkinseed*

  •     21 Redside shiner

  •     22 Smallmouth bass*

  •     23 Starry flounder

  •     24 Threespine stickleback    

  •     25 White crappie*

  •     26 Yellow perch*

  •     27 Pacific Lamprey

  •     28 Oregon Chub

  •     29 White sturgeon

  •     30 Bull Trout

  •     31 Streaked Horned lark

  •     32 Oregon spotted frog

  •     33 Fender's blue Butterfly   

  •     34 Taylor's checkerspot

  •     35 Kincaid's Lupine

  •     36 Golden Paintbrush

  •     37 Nelson's checker-mallow   

  •     38 Willamette daisy

  •     39 Bradshaw's lomatium

  •     40 Rough popcornflower   

  •     41 Western Meadowlark

  •     42 Cascade calico-flower

  •     43 Osprey

  •     44 Peregrine falcon

  •     45 Northern harrier

  •     46 Great blue heron

  •     47 Green heron

  •     48 Belted kingfisher

  •     49 Hooded merganser

  •     50 Wood duck

  •     51 Green-winged teal   

  •     52 Greater yellowlegs

  •     53 Long-billed dowitcher

  •     54 Dunlin

  •     55 Red-winged blackbird

  •     56 Marsh wren

  •     57 Common yellowthroat

  •     58 Sora

  •     59 Greater Sandhill Crane     

  •     60 Short-eared owl

  •     61 American beaver

  •     62 Common muskrat

  •     63 Coyote

  •     64 Bobcat

  •     65 Black-tailed deer

  •     66 Roosevelt Elk

  •     67 American black bear

  •     68 Cougar

  •     69 White Brodiaea

  •     70 Farewell-to-spring

  •     71 Little Brown Myotis

  •     72 Northern Red-legged Frog   

  •     73 Western Pond Turtle

  •     74 Eulachon

  •     75 Fringed Myotis

  •     76 Acorn Woodpecker

  •     77 Foothill Yellow-legged Frog    

  •     78 Spotted sandpiper

  •     79 Double crested cormorant   

  •     80 Great egret

  •     81 Tundra swan

  •     82 Snow goose

  •     83 American kestrel

  •     84 Merlin

  •     85 Bald eagle

  •     86 Purple loosestrife*

  •     87 Water-purslane*

  •     88 Pennyroyal*

  •     89 Mountain whitefish   

  •     90 Walleye

  •     91 Mountain sucker

  •     92 Mosquitofish*

  •     93 Channel catfish*

  •     94 Western terrestrial garter snake    

  •     95 Rubber boa

  •     96 Pacific Gopher Snake   

  •     97 Barred owl

  •     98 Northern spotted owl

  •     99 California sea lion   

  •     100 American mink

  •     101 Pacific Harbor seal

  •     102 North American River Otter    

  • 1 / 102
    Chinook salmon - (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

  • Photo Credit: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Endangered (Upper Columbia River spring-run) / ESA Threatened (Upper Willamette River).
  • Length: up to 5-feet / Weight: up to 120-lbs.
  • Threats: Climate change, Commercial and recreational fishing, habitat degradation, habitat impediments (dams and poorly designed culverts), and habitat loss.

  • Chinook salmon are anadromous fish, which means they can live in both fresh and saltwater. Chinook salmon have a relatively complex life history that includes spawning and juvenile rearing in rivers followed by migrating to saltwater to feed, grow, and mature before returning to freshwater to spawn and die. They are vulnerable to many stressors and threats including blocked access to spawning grounds and habitat degradation caused by dams and culverts.
  • 2 / 102
    Coho salmon - (Oncorhynchus kisutch)

  • Photo Credit: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Threatened (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3-feet / Weight: Adults - up to to 35 lbs.
  • Threats: Climate change, commercial and recreational fishing, habitat degradation, habitat impediments (dams and poorly designed culverts), and habitat loss.

  • Coho salmon are an anadromous fish, which means they can live in both fresh and saltwater. Coho salmon have a relatively complex life history that includes spawning and juvenile rearing in rivers for at least one summer followed by migrating to saltwater to feed, grow, and mature before returning to freshwater to spawn and die. They are vulnerable to many stressors and threats including blocked access to spawning grounds and habitat degradation caused by dams and culverts.
  • 3 / 102
    Chum salmon - (Oncorhynchus keta)

  • Photo Credit: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Threatened (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3.6-feet / Weight: up to 45 lbs.
  • Threats: Climate change, Commercial and recreational fishing, habitat degradation, habitat impediments (dams and poorly designed culverts), and habitat loss.

  • Chum salmon may historically have been the most abundant of all Pacific salmonids. They are an anadromous fish, which means they can live in both fresh and saltwater. Chum salmon have a relatively complex life history that includes spawning and juvenile rearing in rivers followed by migrating to saltwater to feed, grow, and mature before returning to freshwater to spawn and die. They are vulnerable to many stressors and threats including blocked access to spawning grounds and habitat degradation caused by dams and culverts.
  • 4 / 102
    Steelhead trout - (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

  • Photo Credit: NOAA Fisheries
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Threatened (Upper Columbia River, Lower Columbia River, Upper Willamette River).
  • Length: up to 3.8-feet / Weight: up to 55 lbs.
  • Threats: Climate change, commercial and recreational fishing, habitat degradation, habitat impediments (dams and poorly designed culverts), and habitat loss.

  • Steelhead trout are a unique species. Individuals develop differently depending on their environment. All wild steelhead trout hatch in gravel-bottomed, fast-flowing, well oxygenated rivers and streams. Some stay in fresh water all their lives and are called rainbow trout. Steelhead trout that migrate to the ocean typically grow larger than the ones that stay in freshwater. They then return to freshwater to spawn. Steelhead trout are vulnerable to many stressors and threats including blocked access to spawning grounds and habitat degradation caused by dams and culverts.
  • 5 / 102
    Sockeye salmon - (Oncorhynchus nerka)

  • Photo Credit: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Endangered (Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3-feet / Weight: about 8-lbs.
  • Threats: Climate change, commercial and recreational fishing, habitat degradation, habitat impediments (dams and poorly designed culverts), and habitat loss.

  • Sockeye salmon are anadromous fish, which means they can live in both fresh and saltwater. They have a relatively complex life history that includes spawning and juvenile rearing in rivers followed by migrating to saltwater to feed, grow, and mature before returning to freshwater to spawn. Sockeye salmon are vulnerable to many stressors and threats including blocked access to spawning grounds and habitat degradation caused by dams and culverts.
  • 6 / 102
    Coastal cutthroat trout - (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki)

  • Photo Credit: Jim Cummins
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Species of Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: 0.6 to 1.3-ft. / Weight: about 4 to 6-lbs.
  • Threats: Climate change, commercial and recreational fishing, habitat degradation, habitat impediments (dams and poorly designed culverts), and habitat loss.

  • Coastal cutthroat trout are anadromous fish, which means they can live in both fresh and saltwater. They have a relatively complex life history that includes spawning and juvenile rearing in rivers followed by migrating to saltwater to feed, grow, and mature before returning to freshwater to spawn. Coastal cutthroat trout are vulnerable to many stressors and threats including blocked access to spawning grounds and habitat degradation caused by dams and culverts.
  • 7 / 102
    American shad - (Alosa sapidissima) *

  • Photo Credit: Raver Duane, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - None - Considered as a nonnative invasive species.
  • Length: up to 2.5-ft. / Weight: up to 12-lbs.
  • Threats: American shad were introduced to West Coast rivers in the late 1800s and rapidly expanded and are considered as a threat to native fish species. Shad colonized upriver reaches of the Columbia River Basin as the hydropower system developed, using passage facilities provided for native salmonid species.

  • Like salmon and steelhead, shad are anadromous. They enter freshwater rivers in the spring to spawn. Unlike Pacific salmon, they do not necessarily die after spawning. Many shad continue to spawn annually. The non-native shad is now the predominant anadromous fish species in the Columbia River Basin. Since the 1980s, shad routinely surpassed the combined total of all returning native salmon and steelhead adults counted at Bonneville Dam, while in some recent years they comprised greater than 90% of the recorded upstream migrants. In 2019, for example, more than seven million shad passed above Bonneville Dam by late August, compared with fewer than 250,000 adult wild anadromous salmon and steelhead and 450,000 hatchery salmonids. The opposing general trends for shad (increasing) and salmonids (decreasing) point to an ongoing, and perhaps accelerating, disruption of ecosystem health in the basin. Furthermore, the growth of shad populations risks straining the management and operational infrastructure aimed at stabilizing or recovering anadromous salmonid communities.
  • 8 / 102
    Amur goby - (Rhinogobius brunneus) *

  • Photo Credit: National Institute of Ecology - Photo Source
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - None - Considered as a nonnative invasive species.
  • Length: up to 0.5-ft. / Weight: up to 0.17-lbs.
  • Threats: Amur goby were probably introduced to West Coast rivers in ballast water or released from aquariums and are considered as a potential threat to native fish species. They were discovered in the East Fork Lewis River in western Washington state in 2004 and may be reproducing there. Since then, specimens have been collected from the Columbia River and its estuary. Specimens have also been collected from the Sandy River and the Ramsey Wetland in Portland, Oregon. The Ramsey Wetland is connected to Columbia Slough and the Willamette River.

  • In their native range, some species in the Amur goby species complex are landlocked, while others have an amphidromous life history, spending portions of their lives in both fresh and saline waters. Spawning occurs in the Spring in freshwaters. Males construct nests under stones and entice females to spawn. After spawning, males defend and care for the eggs. Larvae hatch and drift downstream to the sea where they feed and grow. Larval drift occurs nocturnally, and the larvae halt their migration in pools with low flow rates during the day. After a few months in marine waters, juveniles migrate upstream into freshwater for further growth and reproduction, often reaching the headwaters of rivers.
  • 9 / 102
    Banded killifish - (Fundulus diaphanus) *

  • Photo Credit: Konrad P. Schmidt
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - None - Considered as a nonnative invasive species.
  • Length: up to 0.4-ft. / Weight: up to 0.15-lbs.
  • Threats: Banded killifish were probably introduced by releases from aquariums and are considered as a potential threat to native fish species.

  • Banded killifish habitat includes quiet waters of lakes, ponds, and sluggish streams, usually over sand, gravel, or detritus-covered bottom where there are patches of submerged aquatic plants; schools tend to stay in the shallows in summer. Killfish often occur in estuaries. Eggs are released in clusters, attach by filaments to plants in quiet weedy pools. They generally spawn in late spring and summer. Their eggs hatch in about 11 to 12 days and the young become sexually mature at age 2 and rarely live over 3-years. They feed at all water levels on various invertebrates and some plant materials.
  • 10 / 102
    Black crappie - (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) *

  • Photo Credit: Eric Engbretson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - None - Considered as a nonnative invasive species.
  • Length: up to 19-in. / Weight: about 6-lbs.
  • Threats: Black crappie were probably introduced by fishermen as an effort to establish a warm water sport fishery and are considered as a potential threat to native fish species.

  • Black crappie inhabit quiet, warm temperate waters; usually associated with abundant aquatic vegetation and sandy to muddy bottoms. They prefer cover under vegetation, fallen trees or boulders and may compete with walleye because the feeding habits of these two species are very similar. They spawn in the spring, live about 8-years, and prefer clear waters of large streams and medium-sized lakes with aquatic vegetation over bottom of sand, muck, or aquatic debris. Their diet consists of zooplankton, supplemented with insects toward the end of their first year. Insects and their larvae remain an important food item throughout life but adults also feed on small fish. Large adults are efficient predators of small, often native, fish.
  • 11 / 102
    Brown bullhead - (Ameiurus nebulosus) *

  • Photo Credit: Duane Raver
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - None - Considered as a nonnative invasive species.
  • Length: up to 1.6-ft. / Weight: up to 8-lbs.
  • Threats: Brown bullhead were probably introduced by fishermen as an effort to establish a warm water sport fishery and are considered as a potential threat to native fish species.

  • Spawning occurs from April through June and their life span can range up to 10-years. The parents build a nest in a dark, protected area such as under a rock or inside a hollow, submerged log. The female lays her eggs into the nest. Both parents guard the eggs and young. Brown bullheads are bottom-feeders that eat algae, insects, mollusks, crustaceans, crayfish and other fish, using their long barbels to taste for prey. Larger predatory fish may prey upon brown bullheads, especially the young.
  • 12/ 102
    Chiselmouth - (Acrocheilus alutaceus)

  • Photo Credit: Wikipedia
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1.0-ft. / Weight: about 4 to 6-lbs.
  • Threats: As a 'Least Concern' species, chiselmouth do not appear to be directly threatened by any specific anthropogenic or environmental impacts, like most lotic fishes they are likely to be sensitive to sedimentation that covers periphyton or fills interstices of spawning substrate. They are also probably sensitive to loss of marginal, backwater, or offchannel rearing habitat that is likely critical for juvenile survival. L

  • Chiselmouth are generally absent from sites that have maximum temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). This is likely due to insufficient thermal conditions for growth and development of eggs, juveniles, adults, or their gonads at lower temperatures. In addition to an appropriate thermal regime, chiselmouth adults appear to require an abundance of deeper (greater than 1 m) faster flowing (water column velocities in the range of 40-80 cm s-1; habitat with boulder-cobble substrate that can be colonized by periphyton (as a food source). Thus adults will be restricted to streams with adequate suitable substrate as well as enough nutrients to support algal production. Based on location of captures, juveniles appear to require marginal, backwater, or side-channel habitat with slow current velocities for rearing. Juveniles are almost invariably collected in association with aquatic macrophytes, which are likely both a source of food (aquatic invertebrates – juveniles are insectivorous) and cover from predators.
  • 13/ 102
    Common carp - (Cyprinus carpio) *

  • Photo Credit: Duane Raver
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - None - Considered as a nonnative invasive species.
  • Length: up to 1.3-ft. / Weight: about 4 to 6-lbs.
  • Threats: Invasive carp cause serious damage to the native fish populations in the lakes and rivers that they infest because they out-compete other fish for food and space. Carp are also thought to lower water quality, which can kill off sensitive organisms like native freshwater mussels.

  • A typical female carp may produce up to 300,000 eggs over the breeding season. Eggs take roughly four days to hatch. Carp live an average of 17 to 20 years, but some carp have been known to live up to 47 years in captivity. Adult Common Carp have few predators. In fact, they are the bigger threat to other fish. As an omnivorous fish, the common carp is known to uproot aquatic plants while foraging for food and consuming fish eggs. They disturb sediments as they forage and spawn, which can cause a deterioration of water quality and habitat for native fish species.
  • 14/ 102
    Goldfish - (Carassius auratus auratus) *

  • Photo Credit: None
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - - None - Considered as a nonnative invasive species.
  • Length: up to 1.25-ft. / Weight: up to 9-lbs.
  • Threats: Mostly spread by the commercial pet trade, adverse impacts have been reported in areas where wild releases have resulted in populations that are particularly high and subsequently native fish habitat destruction has occurred. They may also help spread harmful fish parasites. The first sighting of goldfish in the Pacific Northwest was from a bridge over the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.

  • Modern genetic sequencing has suggested that goldfish are domesticated varieties of carp. Goldfish can only grow to sexual maturity with enough water and the right nutrition. Most goldfish breed in captivity, particularly in pond settings. Breeding usually happens after a significant temperature change, often in spring. Males chase gravid female goldfish (females carrying eggs), and prompt them to release their eggs by bumping and nudging them. Their eggs are adhesive and attach to aquatic vegetation. The eggs hatch within 48 to 72 hours. Within a week or so, the fry begins to assume its final shape, although a year may pass before they develop a mature goldfish color; until then they are a metallic brown like their wild ancestors. In their first weeks of life, the fry grow quickly, an adaptation born of the high risk of getting devoured by the adult goldfish (or other fish and insects) in their local environment.
  • 15/ 102
    Largemouth bass - (Micropterus salmoides) *

  • Photo Credit: ESD 2003
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - None - Considered as a nonnative invasive species.
  • Length: up to 1.8-ft. / Weight: up to 3-lbs.
  • Threats: Largemouth bass are voracious predators of native species, including fish.

  • Largemouth bass live mainly in lakes and rivers. The optimal habitat for this species include slow moving, quiet, clear waters with soft, shallow substrates. Dense vegetation is ideal for avoiding predation and being predators themselves. Although largemouth bass tend to stay in shallow water with a depth of 0.3 to 4 meters, they migrate during the winter to deeper water, 5 to 15 meters. Largemouth bass typically spawn in late spring, May to June, in the Pacific Northwest when water temperatures reach around 15 degrees Celsius. They spawn in water usually 0.6-2 meters deep where hard packed sand and mud are found. The average wild lifespan of the largemouth bass is about 16 years, with a reported range of 15 to 23 years.
  • 16/ 102
    Largescale sucker - (Catostomus macrocheilus)

  • Photo Credit: NOAA Fisheries
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1-ft. / Weight: up to 7-lbs.
  • Threats: Largescale suckers have been used as scapegoats for human impacts on fisheries. Ignorance about suckers is widespread and many anglers in the Pacific Northwest kill them because they mistakenly believe them to have a negative impact on salmon and trout stocks.

  • Largescale suckers spawn in the spring in shallow water over sandy areas of streams or the sandy or small gravel shoals of lakes. Females may produce up to 20,000 adhesive eggs. The young feed upon small zooplankton until they become bottom dwellers. Then they feed on benthic aquatic invertebrates, diatoms, and other plant material. They are an important part of the food web and the diet of fish-eating animals (such as osprey, eagles, river otters, and other fish).
  • 17/ 102
    Northern pikeminnow - (Ptychocheilus oregonensi)

  • Photo Credit: Joel Sartore
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 2.9-ft. / Weight: up to 15-lbs.
  • Threats: Northern pikeminnow while native, are often regarded as pests because they are not a highly prized food fish and they compete indirectly with salmon anglers by feeding on salmon fry and eggs.

  • Spawning periods of northern pikeminnow occur between May and July. They generally spawn in shallow gravel riverbed, along the lake shore or river bank. The fish tend to gather in large numbers, and each female will spawn with more than one male. The eggs are released low in the water column, and will settle on the bottom eventually. The eggs will hatch in a week. Sexual maturation is reached in six years when they are about a foot long. Their lifespan is quite long, up to 30 years. Northern pikeminnow are generally scavengers, and their diet varies from small insects to large shiners. Young individuals (2 cm to 10 cm) will feed on insects until they grow larger. Fish that are in the middle size range will feed on plankton and small fish such as salmonoid fries and shiners. Large northern pikeminnows that live offshore will only feed on fish. During the salmon spawning season, they will also feed on eggs that are being deposited in salmon redds.
  • 18/ 102
    Peamouth - (Mylocheilus caurinus)

  • Photo Credit: Patrick Shaw
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1.2-ft. / Weight: up to 1-lb.
  • Threats: Predators include fish-eating birds and mammals. They may be excluded in certain areas by dams lacking a suitable fishway, improperly placed culverts, or by naturaly high waterfalls.

  • Peamouth are primarily insectivorous. They feed on a wide variety of aquatic insects and their larvae in addition to some terrestrial insects. They also eat planktonic crustaceans, molluscs, and a few small fishes. They are typically found in lakes, slow parts of small to medium rivers; weedy shallows; most common in vegetation. They have a limited tolerance for brackish water and generally occupy bottoms in water less than 60-ft deep. They may winter in deep parts of lakes but may occur in the shallows at night. Peamouth spawn in streams or along lake shores, over gravel or rubble, in shallow water within 3-ft of shore.
  • 19/ 102
    Prickly sculpin - (Cottus asper)

  • Photo Credit: Mike Pearson
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 0.9-ft. / Weight: up to 1-lb.
  • Threats: Prickly sculpin are preyed on by larger fish, herons, otters, and racoons. They are also considered a good bait fish and larger sculpin are occasionally fished and consumed by humans.

  • Prickly sculpin have an inland form that lives in lakes and a coastal form that lives in rivers and swims down into brackish estuaries to breed, a catadromous species. Prior to breeding, males move downstream and select a nesting site under boulders or flat rocks. Females aggregate some distance upstream and move down singly to the spawning area. Courtship behavior occurs outside the nest until a female is selected. The pair enter the nesting site, courting continues until eggs are deposited and fertilized. The female then leaves the nest and goes back upstream to feed, while the male spawns with other females or fans and guards the eggs. The male does not feed until the eggs have hatched, moving upstream only in the late summer. During the planktonic stage, larvae of the freshwater nonanadromous form in lakes show distinct diurnal vertical migrations, being most abundant at the surface during the darkest hours of the night. They apparently stay deep in the water during the day and on bright moonlight nights. Metamorphosis is complete by the end of the planktonic period and the young take up a demersal mode of life. The young coastal form may move upstream during the fall, although the young may remain in the estuary for a full year.
  • 20/ 102
    Pumpkinseed- (Lepomis gibbosus) *

  • Photo Credit: Creative Commons (CC)
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN No special status (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1-ft. / Weight: up to 1-lb.
  • Threats: Introduced nonnative species in the Pacific Northwest that consume native species.

  • Pumpkinseeds are freshwater fishes, like other members of the sunfish family, Centrarchidae. They prefer moderately warm, clear water that is 1 to 2 m deep in areas with lots of vegetation for cover. The ideal water temperature for pumpkinseeds ranges from 21 to 24 degrees Celsius. Pumpkinseeds are active during the day and rest at night near the bottom or in protected areas in dense vegetation, near rocks or submerged logs. Pumpkinseeds consume a diverse diet of small prey including insects, insect larvae, mollusks, snails, crustaceans, and small fish. They are effective at destroying mosquito larvae and also consume detritus and small amounts of aquatic vegetation. Spawning occurs when water is between 13 to 28 degrees Celsius, during late spring to late summer, depending on location. A female between 2 to 5 years of age can produce anywhere from 4000 to 7000 eggs in a single season and a male will breed several times (every 11 days or so) through the season. Eggs can hatch in 3 days at 28 degrees Celsius. After hatching, the larvae will stay around 5 days in the nest, getting their nutrients from the yolk sac. When the larvae are able to self-feed they have a fully developed mouth and partially developed fins. The pelvic fins are the last to complete development. Pumpkinseeds reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age.
  • 21/ 102
    Redside shiner - (Richardsonius balteatus)

  • Photo Credit: Mike Pearson
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 0.6-ft. / Weight: less than 1-lb.
  • Threats: Preyed upon by mergansers, loons, and mink.

  • Wihin the focal area, Redside shiner occur in coastal streams of Oregon and Washington, the Columbia River below Snake River Falls. Flanks of males turn bright red during spawning period. Spawning occurs from May to July, females lay eggs over a period of several days over gravel sand or in vegetation. Fry eat zooplankton and algae. Adults feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects, molluscs, plankton, small fish and fish eggs. Young and adult shiners aggregate and feed during most of the day with peak activity occurring at dawn and dusk. Adults are found throughout the water column and on the substrate, whereas young shiners are found at or near the water surface. Redside shiners prefer steam reaches with heavy vegetative cover in the winter. Backwater areas are extremely important overwintering habitat for redside shiners.
  • 22/ 102
    Smallmouth bass - (Micropterus dolomieu) *

  • Photo Credit: William H. Mullins
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 2.3-ft. / Weight: up to 6-lbs.
  • Threats: Nonnative invasive species that preys on native species, including native amphibians and salmonids.

  • Spawning occurs in late spring or early summer and may be interrupted by flooding. Spawning habitat includes shallow water in lakes or quiet areas of streams, often fairly close to shore. Lake populations may move a short distance up a stream to spawn. Females deposit eggs in nests made by males, usually near cover on gravel or sand bottoms. Individual males may nest close to the previous year's nest site. Eggs hatch in 2 to 10 days at 60 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 25 degrees Celsius). Males guard eggs and hatchlings. Fry leave the nest about 10 to 15 days after egg deposition. Parental care may last 4 weeks or longer. Individuals usually attain sexual maturity at age 2. Fry eat mainly crustaceans and aquatic insects (e.g., chironomid larvae and pupae) until they are about 5 cm long, when they start feeding heavily on fishes, including many native species. Crayfish, amphibians, and insects often become dominant foods of local populations. Smallmouth bass prefer large clear lakes and clear midorder streams with many large pools, abundant cover (rocks, shelves, logs, etc.), and cooler summer temperatures. Adults may seek shelter of pools or deep water during day.
  • 23/ 102
    Starry flounder - (Platichthys stellatus)

  • Photo Credit: American Oceans
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3-ft. / Weight: up to 20-lbs
  • Threats: Starry flounder suffer from pollution and dumping along the nearby shores.

  • The West Coast Starry Flounder (Platichthys stellatus) is a flatfish that resides in cold water. An impressive feature of this fish is its ability to change color by altering the pigment granule concentration in its chromatophores. Their spawning period runs from November to February. But they are most active during December through January, as they prefer colder water when fertilizing and reproducing. Like many fish, they exercise external fertilization, meaning the eggs are laid and then fertilized by the sperm. These fish do not usually lay eggs in deep water, sticking to the shores, riverbeds, and sloughs to keep their eggs safe from predators until they can hatch. The Starry Flounder lives a relatively long life for their size. Females usually live for 15 to 17 years, while males can survive for 25 years under the right conditions.
  • 24/ 102
    Threespine stickleback - (Gasterosteus aculeatus)

  • Photo Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 0.3-ft. / Weight: up to 0.01-lb.
  • Threats: Pollution and loss of spawning habitat as a result of development may impact population density.

  • The three-spined stickleback is widespread in the focal area. It is named for its three dorsal spines. The spines of these pugnacious fish are effective weapons used both in offense and defense against intruders or predators, often against fishes much larger than themselves. Breeding usually takes place in spring. After building a nest of plant materials glued together by threadlike, mucous secretions from his kidneys, the male coaxes and drives a female into the nest to lay her eggs. He then follows her into the nest to fertilize the eggs. More than one female may be chosen, and each female may lay up to 200 eggs. When the nest is full, the male becomes its guard and caretaker; by fanning the eggs with his pectoral fins, he aerates them until they hatch, and he aggressively defends the eggs and any young from intruders. The fry are 0.17-0.18 in long at hatching. They live on their attached egg sacs for 3-4 days. They develop their spines and assume adult form at about 6 weeks of age when they are 0.55-0.63 in long. Threespine sticklebacks are voracious omnivores, eat small crustaceans, worms, copepods, larvae of adult aquatic insects, small fishes, and occasionally their own eggs and fry.
  • 25/ 102
    White crappie - (Pomoxis annularis) *

  • Photo Credit: Matthew R. Thomas
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 0.8-ft. / Weight: up to to 3-lbs.
  • Threats: White crappie consume many native fishes.

  • White crappies are most abundant in reservoirs and freshwater lakes greater than 2 hectares in area, but also occur in smaller ponds and in slow-moving streams and rivers, usually over sand- or mud-bottoms. They prefer shallow waters and are not usually found deeper than the thermocline. White crappies are polygynandrous and spawn in late spring or early summer (varies with local climate and water temperature). Males are first to arrive in the spawning area and make nests in shallow water, about 20 cm to 1 m under the surface, in places where there is cover for protection. Males push out depressions in the mud, sand, clay, or gravel of the bank with their fins and construct a nest about 30 cm in diameter. They surround the nest with twigs for additional cover. Nests are arranged in colonies, but the males are protective of their nest and are aggressive towards other males. Males will chase away intruders and bite them or push them out. They will even show aggression towards females until the females act submissively and do not swim away. They then lead females to the nest so the females can lay their eggs. Upon hatching, the egg dissolves around the embryo and the yolk sac stays attached to its head. Young crappies are identified as larvae at this stage. They remain in the nest until their yolk sac is absorbed which takes 2 to 4 days, afterward they are known as post-larvae. When the post-larvae leave the nest, they are 4.1 mm to 4.6 mm long and do not join schools. White crappies obtain all their scales in their second year when they reach about 27 mm in length. The young stay in shallow waters where there is plenty of light until they are juveniles in their third year have grown to 50 mm to 60 mm in length. Then they travel to deeper waters and join the adults in schools. White crappies are sexually mature after two or three years. When born in the spring White crappies eat zooplankton. As they develop, they are able to devour small crustaceans in the autumn and winter months. By the end of their second year, they are able to eat small fish and insects. Adults generally forage on small fish, such as minnows.
  • 26/ 102
    Yellow perch - (Perca flavescens) *

  • Photo Credit: Keith Publicover/Shutterstock.com
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).<
  • Length: up to 1.2-ft. / Weight: up to 5-lbs.
  • Threats: Yellow perch are nonnative predators on native species, including juvenile salmonids.

  • Yellow perch are found mainly in lakes and sometimes in impoundments of larger rivers and are most commonly found in clear water near vegetation and tend to school near the shore during the spring. They have a high tolerance for low oxygen conditions. Yellow perch typically reach sexual maturity in 2 to 3 years for males and 3 to 4 years for females. They are iteroparous, spawning annually in the spring when water temperatures are between 2.0 and 18.6 degrees Celsius (35.6 and 65.5 degrees Fahrenheit). Spawning is communal and typically occurs at night. Yellow perch are oviparous, as eggs are fertilized externally. Eggs are laid in a gelatinous strand (commonly 10,000 to 40,000), a characteristic unique among North American freshwater fishes. Egg strands are commonly draped over weeds, the branches of submerged trees or shrubs, or some other structure. Eggs hatch in 11–27 days, depending on temperature and other abiotic factors. They are commonly found in the littoral zones of both large and small lakes, but they also inhabit slow-moving rivers and streams, brackish waters, and ponds. Yellow perch commonly reside in shallow water, but are occasionally found deeper than 15 meters (49 feet) or on the bottom. Perch are most often found in schools. Their vision is necessary for schooling and the schools break up at dusk and reform at dawn. The schools typically contain 50 to 200 fish, and are arranged by age and size in a spindle shape. Younger perch tend to school more than older and larger fish, which occasionally travel alone, and males and females often form separate schools. Some perch are migratory, but only in a short and local form. They also have been observed leading a semianadromous life. Yellow perch do not accelerate quickly and are relatively poor swimmers. Large adult perch feed on invertebrates, fish eggs, crayfish, mysid shrimp, and juvenile fish. They have been known to be predominantly piscivorous and even cannibalistic in some cases.
  • 27/ 102
    Pacific Lamprey - (Entosphenus tridentatus)

  • Photo Credit: WDFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Species of Concern (Lower Columbia River)
  • Length: up to 2.5-ft. / Weight: less than 1-lb.
  • Threats: Like Pacific Salmon species, Pacific Lamprey populations have declined rapidly over the past several decades. Tribes across the Northwest were among the first people to notice and call attention to the fact that action was needed to protect lamprey. Since that time, efforts have been made to assess Pacific Lamprey populations and identify threats at a watershed scale. Like Pacific salmonids, there are many factors contributing to these declines, including habitat degradation, passage barriers, dewatering/flow management impacts, and impaired water quality, all of which may be compounded by the effects of climate change. Predation by non-native fish and disease may also contribute to declines, though less is known about these issues.

  • Lampreys are part of an ancient superclass of jawless fish, call Agnatha. This group of fish evolved over 450 million years ago, making them one of the oldest living lineages in the world. Jawless fish are older than dinosaurs and even older than trees and have survived at least four mass extinction events. Both female and male Pacific Lamprey work together to build nests where they lay their eggs. They use their sucker mouths to move gravels and small cobbles to clear an area suitable to deposit the eggs. Most commonly they create roughly a circle shaped depression 1 to 2 ft in diameter in the substrate. Sometimes the nest can be much larger, and many individuals will work on moving the rocks to make depressions for the eggs. Females may lay up to 200,000 eggs. Eggs incubate for 3 to 4 weeks depending on stream temperatures before the larvae emerge and disperse downstream to nearby fine sediments. Spawning timing is also temperature dependent. Where water temperatures are warmer, Pacific Lamprey may spawn as early as February and where temperatures are colder Pacific Lamprey may spawn as late as August. Most spawning occurs from April to July. Larval lamprey (also known as ammocoetes) are eyeless and burrow in fine sediments where they live for up to 10 years. Larval lamprey are filter feeders; they stick their heads out of their burrows and consume drifting detritus and algae that is in the water column. Through filter feeding, larval lamprey play an important role in making nutrients accessible to other species in the stream food web. They also act like an aquatic earthworm by burrowing into the streambed and make the habitat a healthier place for other species. During this freshwater stage, larval lamprey may move downstream volitionally at night to find better feeding habitat or they may be washed downstream during high flow events. Densities of larval lampreys can exceed 100 fish per square yard in optimal habitats. After years rearing in the stream environment, larval lamprey begin transforming into juveniles, readying themselves to feed in salt water. At this stage, the lamprey temporarily stops feeding and spends all its energy on transformation, which includes developing eyes and teeth. The teeth are part of their characteristic oral disc that will allow the lamprey to attach and suction on to their hosts in the ocean. After the transformation is complete, the young adult lamprey migrate downstream to the ocean and latch on to a host species to begin feeding. Once attached to their host, they extract blood and body fluids but do not consume flesh. Numerous fish species have been identified as the hosts for Pacific Lamprey, such as Pacific salmon, flatfish, rockfish, Walleye Pollock, and Pacific Hake. Pacific Lamprey have rarely been observed feeding on whales.
  • 28/ 102
    Oregon Chub - (Oregonichthys crameri)

  • Photo Credit: Rick Swart ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 0.25-ft. / Weight: less than 1-lbs.
  • Threats: The Oregon Chub (Oregonichthys crameri) is a small cyprinid minnow endemic to the Willamette River drainage of western Oregon. In 1993, the Oregon Chub was listed as Endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act due to extensive habitat loss, curtailed distribution, severely modified hydrograph flood stages by up-stream dams, and predation by nonnative species. In 2015 the Oregon chub became the first fish in the United States to be taken off the federal Endangered Species List as the result of population recovery.

  • The Oregon chub is a small minnow found only in the Willamette River basin of western Oregon. They are found in slack water, off-channel habitats such as beaver ponds, oxbows, side channels, backwater sloughs, low-gradient tributaries, and flooded marshes. These habitats usually have little or no water flow, silty and organic substrate, and abundant aquatic vegetation for hiding and spawning cover. Summer temperatures in shallow ponds inhabited by Oregon chub generally exceed 16 degrees Celsius (C) (61 degrees Fahrenheit (F)). In the winter months, Oregon chub are found buried in detritus or concealed in aquatic vegetation. Although the Oregon chub evolved in a dynamic environment in which flooding periodically created and reconnected habitat for the species, currently most populations of Oregon chub are isolated from other chub populations due to the reduced frequency and magnitude of flood events and the presence of migration barriers such as impassable culverts and beaver dams. There is a positive side to this isolation as well, however, because it also reduces the risk of Oregon chub of being preyed upon by nonnative invasive fishes (e.g., bass and crappie) a significant contributer to their original population decline. One of the primary negative aspects of isolation is that since the Oregon chub are weak swimmers, the only way for individuals to move into new locations is by being carried and tranported with periodic flooding is severely restricted or altogether eliminated. The reason this is important is that this also serves to severely restrict their gene pools in their respective isolated locations, which can result in maladapted genetic responses of their progeny, also known as gene depression. One way biologists have dealt with this in the past has been to artificially collect Oregon chub individuals from one location and then to release them into another Oregon chub population at a location nearby. Oregon chub reach maturity when they are about 2 years old and, in wild populations, can live up to 9 years. Most individuals over 5 years old are females. Oregon chub spawn in warm (16 to 21 degrees C (61 to 70 degrees F)) shallow water from June through August. The diet of Oregon chub includes copepods, cladocerans, and chironomid larvae.
  • 29/ 102
    White sturgeon (Columbia River) (Acipenser transmontanus)

  • Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 20-ft. / Weight: up to 1400-lbs.
  • Threats: White sturgeon likely exhibit physiological sensitivity to warmer water temperatures associated with impoundments and overall global warming. Increasing temperatures can reduce spawning success and/or increase disease and mortality. Shifts in ocean conditions may also affect prey availability for young white sturgeon when occupying estuarine environments. Reduced prey availability has been linked with undermined sturgeon growth. Predation by sea lions can also exert pressure on White sturgeon populations.

  • White Sturgeon, the largest and longest-living fish in the Columbia River Basin, can live 80-100 years. Their the highest numbers are found where they can still reach the ocean without being blocked by dams. They primarily live in the estuaries of large rivers, but migrate to spawn in freshwater. They are also known to travel long distances between river systems. White Sturgeon do not spawn until they are about 25 years old. Consequently, only about one percent of the population is believed to comprise spawning-age adults and the juvenile age class as a proportion of the overall population appears to be trending down. Spawning periodicity is thought to be 2 to 4 years for females and 1 to 2 years for males. Behavior during spawning is not well known, but it is known that they are communal broadcast spawners, where a female's eggs are fertilized by many males. When ready to spawn, white sturgeon choose a variety of substrates dependent on the river system, spawning on gravel or rocky substrate in moderate to fast currents, with observed depths of 3 to 23 meters (9.8 to 75.5 feet), and water velocities at the bottom on a range of 0.6 to 2.4 meters per second. When eggs are released by the female, they are negatively buoyant, and develop an adhesive coat upon contact with water, which allows them to attach to the substrate near where they were spawned. Hatching time is temperature dependent, and can range from 3 to 13 days. Optimal temperature is between 14 to 16 degrees Celsius (57 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit), with mortality observed below 8 degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit) and above 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit). Young White Sturgeon feed on small crustaceans and aquatic insects. Diet broadens with growth to include a variety of bottom dwelling invertebrates, including primarily clams, crabs and shrimps, but also fish and fish eggs in certain circumstances (e.g., Eulachon, sculpins, lamprey, and spawning Pacific Herring).
  • 30/ 102
    Bull Trout - (Salvelinus confluentus)

  • Photo Credit: Terry Smith
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Threatened (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3-ft. / Weight: up to 32-lb.
  • Threats: Artificial barriers such as dams and poorly engineered culverts severely restrict or eliminate their access to their historical migration and spawning reaches. Rearing habitat for juvenile Bull trout has also been severely compromised or altogether eliminated in many places. The Bull trout habitat quality both above and downstream of dams has been compromised and when in the dam reservoirs in particular, predation on Bull trout by non-native invasive fish is extremely problematic. Bull trout hybridization with other salmonids has been observed in the upper McKenzie River drainage. In many areas their primary prey populations have been compromised, limiting their food sources. Dam project related hydrological regime modifications combined with overfishing have proven disruptive to Bull trout survival and reproduction. It is also probably reasonable to deduce that a warming planet will result in the diminishing availability of cold water refugia necessary for cold water adapted species like Bull trout.

  • Bull trout depend on cold and clean water flowing in complex and connected channel habitats. These conditions are most common in high mountainous areas where snowfields and glaciers are present. However, they also occur in the deep pools of large and cold rivers and lakes. Bull trout usually mature between four to seven years of age. This species exhibits four different life history strategies. These strategies include a non-migratory or resident bull trout form, a riverine or fluvial bull trout form, a lacustrine or adfluvial bull trout form, and a rare marine or amphidromous/anadromous form. An individual may spawn annually or every other year. Typically spawning for bull trout occurs between August and November, but sometimes as late as December. Redds (egg nests) are dug into clean gravel and laid during spawning: females lay an average of 5,000 eggs. Eggs remain in the gravel for up to 210 days before the bull trout fry emerge. Upon emergence, juvenile bull trout may rear one to four years in their natal (or birth) stream before migrating either to a river, lake/river, or nearshore marine area to mature. Bull trout are voracious predators of other fish, including other salmonids.
  • 31/ 102
    Streaked Horned lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata)

  • Photo Credit: Jim Leonard
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Threatened (Lower Columbia River).
  • Size: up to 0.6-ft.
  • Threats: Extensive loss of prairie and open grassland habitat from human encroachment and on-going disturbances are primary factors contributing to Streaked Horned lark decline.

  • Streaked Horned Larks are ecologically adapted to depend on prairie habitat. The female Streaked Horned Lark selects a bare ground patch site to build their nest, either in a natural depression or by excavating the site herself. The females use their bills to loosen soil and flip it aside, sometimes also kicking out the dirt with their feet. The Horned Lark's nest is a 'basket' woven of fine grass and lined with feathers and fine rootlets.
  • 32/ 102
    Oregon spotted frog - (Rana pretiosa)

  • Photo Credit: Kelly McAllister
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Threatened (Lower Columbia River).
  • Size: up to 0.3-ft.
  • Threats: Oregon spotted frog declines have been attributed to the introduction of bullfrogs along with the degradation of their breeding habitat through altered drainage patterns caused by dams dewatering areas and diverting it to serve urban areas and agricultural lands. Excessive livestock grazing and a myriad of other human activities have reduced or eliminated the lentic shallow water habitat Oregon spotted frogs require.

  • The Oregon spotted frog is a medium-sized aquatic frog endemic to the Pacific Northwest. Historically, it was distributed from southwestern British Columbia, Canada to northeastern California. Today it is known from about 46 occupied locations in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. The Oregon spotted frog is a highly aquatic frog that seldom strays from areas of standing water. Wetlands, lakes, and slow-moving streams that include shallow water areas with abundant emergent or floating aquatic plants are suitable habitat for the Oregon spotted frogs. Mats of aquatic vegetation are used when escaping from predators by allowing the Oregon spotted frogs to dive beneath the vegetation cover and avoid detection. These habitats also often provide a thin layer of unusually warm water which the frogs seem to prefer. The Oregon spotted frog's reproduction is strictly aquatic and their late winter breeding season is brief, less than four weeks in duration. Males call quietly during the day or night from the vicinity of traditional oviposition sites, places where females lay their eggs in communal piles. Ovipostition at selected sites is initiated when water temperatures reach 8 degrees Celsius, but the timing of oviposition varies from late February to early March at lowland sites and from late May to late June at higher elevation sites in Oregon. They breed in warm shallow water, often 5.1 to 30.5 cm (2 to 12 in) deep in areas where grasses, sedges, and rushes are generally present. Adult females reportedly breed every year and probably produce a single egg mass each year. Though egg masses are occasionally laid singly, communal oviposition sites comprise the majority of the annual reproductive output.
  • 33/ 102
    Fender's blue Butterfly - (Icaricia icarioides fenderi)

  • Photo Credit: Tom Kaye/Institute for Applied Ecology
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Threatened (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1-in.
  • Threats: Habitat degradation, fragmentation, and loss; combined with broad applications of non-target pesticides; have contributed to Fender's blue Butterfly population declines. Nonnative invasive vegetation and native woody plant succession has displaced their primary host plant, Kincaids lupine, and many other native plants, on which the butterfly depends.

  • Fender's blue butterflies inhabit native remnant prairie and oak savannah in the Willamette Valley Ecoregion. They require Kincaids lupine as a host plant. Two critical elements of Fender's Blue butterfly habitat are larval host plants and nectar plant species. Kincaid's lupine (Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii) is the primary larval host plant for Fender's Blue butterfly. Secondary host plants include sickle-keeled lupine (Lupinus albicaulis) and spur lupine (Lupinus arbustus). Adult butterflies lay their eggs on lupine leaves in May and June, and larvae (caterpillars) hatch out a few weeks later. The larvae feed for a few weeks, then go into diapause (similar to dormancy) at the base of the plant until the following February or March. Emerging larvae then feed on young lupine leaves and inflorescences. The larvae grow and develop quickly, pupate, and emerge as butterflies in early May. Adult butterflies feed on nectar (sugary fluid) produced by certain flower species. Nectar species to support Fender's Blue include narrowleaf onion (Allium amplectens), Tolmie startulip (Calochortus tolmiei), common camas (Camassia quamash), dwarf checkermallow (Sidalcea virgata), and Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum), among others. Insufficient nectar sources may limit Fender's Blue population size. However, because of extensive recovery efforts, both the Kincaid's lupine and the Fender's blue butterfly are currently under consideration for delisting.
  • 34/ 102
    Taylor's checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori)

  • Photo Credit: WDFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Endangered (Lower Columbia River).
  • Size: up to 2.4-in.
  • Threats: The decline of Taylor's checkerspot has accompanied the loss of prairie and open grassland habitats. They are particularly vulnerable to agricultural and urban development as well as the encroachment of trees and nonnative invasive plants that displace the native flora the Taylor's checkerspot depends on.

  • Taylors checkerspot is a Pacific Northwest endemic butterfly. It is currently restricted to a small scattering of populations in Washington, British Columbia, and Oregon. The Taylors checkerspot needs open grassland with sparse vegetation and wet conditions that support the food sources larvae need, such as marsh speedwell, thymeleaf speedwell or plantago (an introduced species). Nectar-producing wildflowers such as wild strawberry must also be nearby to feed the adults. These conditions are often found in natural Garry oak ecosystems, which are now rare. Adults emerge in April and May, when they mate and lay clusters of as many as 1,200 eggs. The larvae that emerge pause their development in mid-June to early July and hibernate through the winter.
  • 35/ 102
    Kincaid's Lupine - (Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii)

  • Photo Credit: Tom Kaye/Institute for Applied Ecology
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Threatened (Lower Columbia River).
  • Height: up to 100-cm.
  • Threats: Loss of habitat due to agriculture practices (iincluding herbicide use), development activities, forestry practices, grazing, roadside maintenance, and commercial Christmas tree farming. Also changes in plant community structure due to plant succession in the absence of disturbance, such as fire and invasion by nonnative species such as Himalayan blackberry, Scotch broom, and aggressive pasture grasses.

  • Kincaid's lupine is found in upland prairie remnants and ecotones between grassland and forest (the native prairies of western Oregon and southwest Washington supporting this species are among the most imperiled ecosystems in the United States). It usually occurs in well-drained soils at elevations below 2750 ft. The early seral prairie habitat occupied by Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii was historically maintained by periodic disturbance. Before Euro-American settlement the Willamette Valley was subject to seasonal burning by the Native American tribes of the area. Burning maintained the open prairie by controlling invasive trees and other woody species. Kincaid's lupine is the primary larval host plant of the Fender's blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi), although its caterpillars also have been observed on sickle-keeled lupine (Lupinus albicaulis) and spurred lupine (Lupinus arbustus). Adult butterflies lay their eggs on the lupine host plants during May and June. Newly hatched caterpillars feed and develop on the host plant until they transform into adult butterflies the following spring. The butterfly's larvae overwinter at the base of the plant. Because of extensive recovery efforts, Kincaid's lupine is currently under consideration for delisting.
  • 36/ 102
    Golden Paintbrush - (Castilleja levisecta)

  • Photo Credit: Tom Kaye/Institute for Applied Ecology
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Threatened (Lower Columbia River).
  • Height: up to 3.3-ft.
  • Threats: Golden paintbrush is compromised by habitat loss through urbanization and agricultural developmenthe encroachment of woody plants as a result of fire suppression has also proved harmful to this species. Competition with non-native invasive weeds, trampling by recreationists, and severe herbivory by deer and rabbits present even further threats.

  • Golden paintbrush historically occurred in low-elevation open prairies with moist winter soils (but no standing water). This species was also associated with gravelly glacial outwash or outcrops of clayey glacio-lacustrine sediment. The species historical range included west of the Cascade Mts. from southern Vancouver Island, B.C. to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. It is considered primarily as a formerly aboriginally burned upland prairie species commonly associated with Roemer's fescue (Festuca roemeri) and red fescue (Festuca rubra), in the Willamette Valley on convex linear berms interdigitated with concave linear swales left over from periodic catastrophic Missoula floods.
  • 37/ 102
    Nelson's checker-mallow - (Sidalcea nelsoniana)

  • Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Agriculture
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Threatened - (Lower Columbia River).
  • Height: - up to 3.3-ft.
  • Threats: Include habitat loss, habitat degradation due to fire suppression, and competition from invasive plants. Overspray of herbicides and severe seed predation by weevils are among the risk factors.

  • Nelsons checkermallow occurs in the Willamette Valley and on the western flanks of the Coast Range, from southern Benton County, Oregon north to Lewis County, Washington. The majority of populations occur in Oregon, with many concentrated near the cities of Corvallis and Salem. Nelson's checkermallow occurs in wet and dry prairies, wetlands, edges of woodlands, and riparian areas. Remnant populations occur in roadsides and ditches. Willamette Valley populations of Nelsons checkermallow are typically found in open prairie remnants along the margins of streams, sloughs, ditches, roadsides, fence rows, and drainage swales and in fallow fields. Occasionally, the species occurs in the understory or at the edges of ash woodlands or among woody shrubs. Substrates at Willamette Valley sites range from gravelly, well drained loams to poorly drained, hydric clay soils. Coast Range populations often occur in open areas in wet to dry meadows and intermittent stream channels, and on the edges of coniferous forests in substrates ranging from clay to loam. The species is found at elevations from about 43-610 m (140-2000 ft).
  • 38/ 102
    Willamette daisy - (Erigeron decumbens var. decumbens)

  • Photo Credit: Tom Kaye/Institute for Applied Ecology
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Species of Concern (Lower Columbia River)
  • Height: up to 2.3-ft.
  • Threats: Habitat loss due to urban and agricultural development is the primary threat to this species. Successional encroachment by trees and shrubs, competition from invasive weeds, and possible inbreeding depression due to small population sizes also pose serious threats to Willamette daisy. Road construction and maintenance and grazing pose additional risks.

  • Willamette daisy is known only from the Willamette Valley in northwestern Oregon. Though once found throughout the valley, the species is now restricted to scattered habitat remnants. Willamette daisy inhabits both seasonally flooded bottomland prairies and well-drained upland prairies at elevations ranging from 70-290 m (240-950 ft).
  • 39 / 102
    Bradshaw's lomatium (Lomatium bradshawii)

  • Photo Credit: Tom Kaye Institute for Applied Ecology
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Delisted due to Recovery (Columbia River).
  • Height: up to 1.6-ft.
  • Threats: Loss of over 99% of its wet-prairie habitat in its historic range from urbanizing development and agricultural conversion.

  • Bradshaw's lomatium is a herbaceous plant in the Parsely family and is found only in Oregon and Washington. It is typically associated with seasonally wet prairie on heavy clay hydric soils that usually dry up by mid to late summer. It generally flowers in April and May and is commonly associated with Camas meadows. It produces 'corky' seeds that float and disperse with the perched sheet flows common on heavy clay seasonal wetlands during that time of year. It is historically adapted to seasonal fire, flooding, and grazing. Subsequently it can be tolerant to periodic limited disturbance.
  • 40 / 102
    Rough popcornflower (Plagiobothrys hirtus)

  • Photo Credit: Oregon Natural Heritage Data Base
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Species of Concern (Lower Columbia River)
  • Height: up to 1.9-ft.
  • Threats: Historically, a great deal of rough popcornflower habitat was lost due to agricultural conversion of wetlands to pasture or crop fields, with grazing probably also contributing to this species decline. Filling of wetlands for residential and industrial development in the fast-growing urban areas continue to be a threat; hydrologic disruptions and competition from exotic weeds threaten even those populations under administrative protection.

  • Like Bradshaw's lomatium, Rough popcornflower is typically associated with seasonally wet prairie on heavy clay hydric soils that usually dry up by mid to late summer. But it tends to occupy depressional features called vernal pools interspersed with the surrounding wet and dry prairie matrix. Flowering begins in June and continues throughout the summer, with seed production beginning by the end of June. As the vernal pools begin to dry in late spring, rough popcornflower plants grow rapidly, producing large mats of vegetation that develop adventitious roots and quickly fill all available habitat. Deer, ground squirrels, and insects often forage for the plant. Turtles will also feed on the flowers in riparian zones.
  • 41/ 102
    Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)

  • Photo Credit: wildaboutbitds.com via Depositphotos.com
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Size: up to 0.9-ft.
  • Threats: Loss, degradation, and fragmentation of grasslands, as well as human encroachment, are factors contruting to Western Meadowlark declines. This is exasperated by wildfires and extreme heat waves associated with climate change.

  • Western Meadowlarks primarily prefer grasslands, cultivated fields and pastures, meadows, and prairies. They breed mostly in natural grasslands, abandoned weedy fields, rangeland, and sometimes on cultivated land. The Western Meadowlark nests in small hollows or depressions in the ground under a dense cover of grasses and forbs. The male sings to defend nesting territory. One male may have more than one mate. In courtship, the male faces the female, puffs out chest feathers and points bill straight up to show off black "V," spreads tail widely, and flicks wings. The female lays 3-7, usually about 5, eggs that are white, heavily spotted with brown and purple, especially at the larger end. Incubation is by female, about 13-15 days. Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest after about 12 days, before they are able to fly, and are tended by parents for at least another 2 weeks. The Western Meadowlark diet consists mostly of insects, especially in summer, when it eats many beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, caterpillars, ants, true bugs, and others. They also eat spiders, snails, and sowbugs. Especially in fall and winter, seeds and waste grain often dominate their diet.
  • 42 / 102
    Cascade calico-flower - (Downingia yina)

  • Photo Credit: Dianne Fristrom - license cc-by-sa-3.0 copyright 2003
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Height: up to 1.3-ft.
  • Threats: Historically, a great deal of Cascade calico-flower habitat was lost due to agricultural conversion of wetlands to pasture or crop fields, with grazing probably also contributing to this species decline. Filling of wetlands for residential and industrial development in the fast-growing urban areas continue to be a threat; hydrologic disruptions and competition from exotic weeds threaten even those populations under administrative protection.

  • Cascade calico-flower grows in moist habitats including vernal pools, wet meadows, and edges of lakes and ponds. It can be found in the Pacific Northwest from Washington to northern California. It is a colorful wildflower that bears small, easily recognizable flowers up to 1 centimeter in width. Each flower has three fused lower petals which are blue or violet with a central spot which is white with a yellow center. These distinctive traits are thought to be important cues for attracting pollinators.
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    Osprey - (Pandion haliaetus)

  • Photo Credit: Vicki Jauron
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: Adults - up to 2.2-ft. / Weight: Adults - up to 4.6-lbs.
  • Threats: Osprey numbers crashed in the early 1950s to 1970s, when pesticides poisoned the birds and thinned their eggshells. Along the coast between New York City and Boston, for example, about 90% of breeding pairs disappeared. Now, as natural nest sites have succumbed to tree removal and shoreline development, specially constructed nest platforms and other structures, such as channel markers and utility poles, have become vital to Osprey recovery. Sadly, a growing cause of death for Ospreys is entanglement at the nest. Adults incorporate baling twine and other discarded plastic lines into their nests, and these can wrap around a chick's feet and injure it or keep it from leaving the nest. The continued production and disposal of toxic materials along with the effects of climate change have likely impacted the well-being of ospreys. Also fish species decimated by overharvest by humans will likely adversely affect prey availability for fish predators like the osprey.

  • Ospreys are migratory birds. They come to Oregon in April and remain until September when they travel south for the winter, commonly to Mexico. While in Oregon, osprey mate, nest, and raise their young until their first migratory flight. Ospreys mate for life and return to the same nest each year. Female osprey only lay once a year, with one to four eggs in their clutch. The osprey diet comprises almost entirely of fish, with a selection of species that varies with region. They typically prey on fish that range from 4 to 12 inches long. Common prey includes mullet, sucker, smelt, gizzard shad, bullhead, and flounder. In addition to fish, ospreys may occasionally prey on small birds, eels, snakes, and frogs, likely only when fish are scarce. These birds will hover over their prey before swooping into the water, feet first, to grab a fish. Upon capturing their prey, ospreys often carry them back to the nest.
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    Peregrine falcon - (Falco peregrinus)

  • Photo Credit: Tim Moore
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: Adults - up to 1.5-ft. / Weight: Adults - up to 1.7-lb.
  • Threats: The peregrine falcon became an endangered species over much of its range because of the use of organochlorine pesticides, especially DDT, during the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. Pesticide biomagnification caused organochlorine to build up in the falcons' fat tissues, reducing the amount of calcium in their eggshells. With thinner shells, fewer falcon eggs survived until hatching. Since the pesticide bans in the 1970s, the perigrine falcon has demonstrated remarkable recovery and is no longer considered threatened and endangered. Peregrines now breed in many mountainous and coastal areas, especially in the west and north, and nest in some urban areas, capitalising on the urban feral pigeon populations for food.

  • The peregrine falcon lives mostly along mountain ranges, river valleys, coastlines, and increasingly in cities. In mild-winter regions, it is usually a permanent resident, and some individuals, especially adult males, will remain on the breeding territory. The peregrine falcon reaches faster speeds than any other animal on the planet when performing the stoop, which involves soaring to a great height and then diving steeply at speeds of over 320 km/h (200 mph), hitting one wing of its prey so as not to harm itself on impact. The air pressure from such a dive could possibly damage a bird's lungs, but small bony tubercles on a falcon's nostrils are theorized to guide the powerful airflow away from the nostrils, enabling the bird to breathe more easily while diving by reducing the change in air pressure. To protect their eyes, the falcons use their nictitating membranes (third eyelids) to spread tears and clear debris from their eyes while maintaining vision. The distinctive malar stripe or 'moustache', a dark area of feathers below the eyes, is thought to reduce solar glare and improve contrast sensitivity when targeting fast moving prey in bright light conditions. The peregrine falcon hunts most often at dawn and dusk, when prey are most active, but also nocturnally in cities, particularly during migration periods when hunting at night may become prevalent. Nocturnal migrants taken by peregrines include species as diverse as yellow-billed cuckoo, black-necked grebe, virginia rail, and common quail. The peregrine requires open space in order to hunt, and therefore often hunts over open water, marshes, valleys, and fields, searching for prey either from a high perch or from the air.
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    Northern harrier - (Circus hudsonius)

  • Photo Credit: Cathy Nowalk ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: Adults - up to 1.6-ft. / Weight: Adults - up to 1.5 lbs.
  • Threats: There is evidence of some population declines, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List and is therefore classified as "species of least concern."

  • The Northern harrier is also known as the marsh hawk. It is a slender, medium-sized hawk characterized by a noticeably long tail, bold white rump patch, and owl-like face. Commonly encountered in large expanses of open country, its main hunting technique is through use of a distinctive buoyant, gliding flight low over the ground that relies heavily on visual as well as auditory cues to detect prey. The larger females have rich brown upperparts while adult males are mostly light to medium gray, sometimes appearing almost ghostly silvery-white. Males are noted for their high-spirited and acrobatic courtship displays, in particular a series of dives and barrel rolls in multiple loops that serve as a means of advertising territory occupancy.
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    Great blue heron - (Ardea herodias)

  • Photo Credit: Nick Myatt ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 4-ft. / Weight: about 4 to 6-lbs.
  • Threats: Apart from habitat encroachment, fragmentation, and degradation by humans, predators of eggs and nestlings include turkey vultures, common ravens, and American crows. Red-tailed hawks, American black bears, and raccoons are known to take larger nestlings or fledglings, and in the latter predator, many eggs. In exceptional cases, Harris's hawks may kill subadult great-blue heron. Adult herons have few natural predators and are rarely preyed upon due to their large size and sharp beak, but bald eagles are known to attack great blue herons at every stage of their lifecycle from in the egg to adulthood. And less frequently, golden eagles and great horned owls are known to take adults. There is a single report that a large bobcat attacked and killed an adult great blue heron.

  • Great blue herons frequent many habitats from shallow areas of marshes, lakes, and streams where they feed on fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrates; to pastures and dry fields where they hunt for rodents, primarily during the winter. Herons are highly adaptable and may be found hunting in urban settings such as ponds of city parks. This species usually breeds in colonies, in trees close to lakes or other wetlands. Adults generally return to the colony site after winter from December to March. Usually, colonies include only great blue herons, though sometimes they nest alongside other species of herons. These groups are called a heronry (a more specific term than "rookery"). These colonies may be large, ranging between five and 500 nests per colony, with an average around 160 nests per colony. A heronry is usually relatively close, usually within 4 to 5 km (2.5 to 3.1 mi), to ideal feeding spots. Heronry sites are usually difficult to reach on foot (e.g., islands, trees in swamps, high branches, etc.) to protect from potential mammalian predators. Trees of any type are used when available. When not, herons may nest on the ground, channel markers, artificial platforms, beaver mounds, and duck blinds. Other waterbirds (especially smaller herons) and, occasionally, even fish and mammal-eating raptors may nest amongst colonies.
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    Green heron - (Butorides virescens)

  • Photo Credit: Randy Shipley
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: Adults - up to 1.5-ft. / Weight: Adults - up to 0.5-lbs.
  • Threats: Green herons are considered to be in a cumulative decline of about 51%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates the global breeding population at 1.2 million and rates them 12 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, indicating a species yet of relatively low conservation concern. However, declines have been recorded across most of their range and the Green Heron is included on the list of Common Birds in Steep Decline, for species that are still too numerous or widely distributed to warrant Watch-List status but have been experiencing troubling long-term declines. Contributing to their declines are habitat losses from the draining and/or development of wetlands.

  • The Green heron is an uncommon but regular migrant and summer resident throughout western Oregon. They are notable for their behavioral strategy of dropping bait on the surface of the water to attract fish. The habitat of the green heron is small wetlands in low-lying areas. The species is most conspicuous during dusk and dawn, and if anything these birds are nocturnal rather than diurnal, preferring to retreat to sheltered areas in daytime. They feed actively during the day, however, if hungry or provisioning young. Shore-living individuals adapt to the rhythm of the tides. They mainly eat small fish, frogs and aquatic arthropods, but may take any invertebrate or vertebrate prey they can catch, including such animals like leeches, earthworms, dragonflies, damselflies, waterbugs, grasshoppers, spiders, crayfish, prawns, mice, other rodents, lizards, tadpoles and snakes. Some of the many fish eaten are: minnows, sunfish, catfish, perch, eels and, in urban areas, goldfish. Green herons are intolerant of other birds, including conspecifics, when feeding and are not seen to forage in groups. They typically stand still on shore or in shallow water or perch upon branches and await prey. Sometimes they drop food, insects, or other small objects on the water's surface to attract fish, making them one of the few known tool-using species. This feeding method has led some to title the green heron as among the world's most intelligent birds.
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    Belted kingfisher - (Megaceryle alcyon)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1.2-ft. / Weight: up to 0.4-lb.
  • Threats: Belted kingfishers are frequently adversely affected by riparian forest clearing and/or degradation.

  • Belted kingfishers occupy a wide range of habitats, but are often associated with riparian areas abutting rivers and lakes. They feed on a wide variety of prey but are most famous for hunting and eating fish. They generally hunt from an exposed perch; when a fish is observed, the kingfisher swoops down into the water to catch it, then returns to the perch to swallow its prey. Kingfishers are generally cavity nesters. Typical clutch size is around three to six eggs. The offspring of the kingfisher usually stay with the parents for up to 3 to 4 months.
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    Hooded merganser - (Lophodytes cucullatus)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1.5-ft. / Weight: up to 2-lbs.
  • Threats: Population declines in the past have been linked with large scale deforestation. Because these waterfowl are cavity nesters, they require mature trees in which suitable nesting sites are likely to be found. It has been suggested that in recent years proper timber management is increasing available habitat successfully. One priority consideration when managing wooded habitat for cavity nesting ducks, is to maintain a sufficient population of mature trees in which suitable nesting cavities would be plentiful. In addition these ducks do make use of artificial nest boxes when available. Because of their high reliance on aquatic prey, hooded mergansers are very susceptible to harm from many types of pollution, some of which are poisons that accumulate in the food organisms, directly poisoning predators high in the food chain, and some of which simply reduce the populations of their prey.

  • Hooded mergansers live on small bodies of water such as ponds and small estuaries where there is ample emergent aquatic vegetation, but they also inhabit larger wetlands, impoundments, flooded timber, and rivers. They prefer fresh water but do occur on brackish water bodies as well. The hooded merganser is a diving predator that largely hunts by sight while under water. Most studies report that its diet varies according to circumstances, usually being dominated by fish. In addition it feeds on aquatic insects and other aquatic invertebrates such as crabs and crayfish. Males and females of the hooded merganser form monogamous pairs and they remain together until the female has selected a nesting cavity and completed laying her clutch. After that, the male leaves the female to incubate and care for the brood. Females will actively seek out cavities in dead trees or artificial nest boxes such as those provided for nesting wood ducks. They prefer cavities 4 to 15 feet off the ground. Breeding occurs anytime between the end of February and the end of June, depending on the region. The female will lay a clutch of 7 to 15 eggs but only begins incubation when the last egg has been laid, thereby permitting synchronous hatching. All hatchlings are consequently of the same size, which facilitates efficient parental care. During incubation, the female may lose anywhere from 8% to 16% of her body weight. Like most waterfowl, hooded merganser hatchlings are precocial and usually leave the nest within 24 hours after they hatch; this is about long enough to accommodate synchronous hatching. Once they leave the nest, the young are capable of diving and foraging, but remain with the female for warmth and protection.
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    Wood duck - (Aix sponsa)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Size: up to 1.6-ft. / Weight: up to 1.5-lbs.
  • Threats: Overhunting offset by stricter enforcement of existing hunting regulations and habitat loss offset by protection of woodland and marsh habitat, wood duck populations began to recover after earlier severe population declines. The erection of nesting boxes to offset loss of natural cavity nesting opportunities in old tree snags and dead logs further assisted wood duck population recovery.

  • Wood duck breeding habitat is wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes, ponds and creeks. They usually nest in cavities in trees close to water, although they will take advantage of nesting boxes in wetland locations. Other species may compete with them for nesting cavities, such as birds of prey, as well as mammals such as grey squirrels, and these animals may also occupy nest boxes meant for wood ducks. Wood ducks may end up nesting up to a mile away from their water source as a result. Females line their nests with feathers and other soft materials, and the elevation provides some protection from predators. After hatching, the precocial ducklings climb to the opening of the nest cavity, jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. They prefer nesting over water so the young have a soft landing, but will nest up to 140 m (460 ft) away from the shoreline. The day after they hatch, the young climb to the nest entrance and jump to the ground. The ducklings can swim and find their own food by this time. Wood ducks feed by dabbling (feeding from the surface rather than diving underwater) or grazing on land. They mainly eat berries, acorns, and seeds, but also insects, making them omnivores. They are able to crush acorns after swallowing them within their gizzard.
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    Green-winged teal - (Anas carolinensis)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1.25-ft. / Weight: up to 1-lb.
  • Threats: Common predators of green-winged teal include humans, skunks, red foxes, raccoons, and crows.

  • Green-winged teal, more than any other species of duck, prefer to seek food on mud flats. Where mud flats are lacking, they prefer shallow marshes or temporarily flooded agricultural lands. They usually eat vegetative matter consisting of seeds, stems, and leaves of aquatic and emergent vegetation. Green-winged teal appear to prefer the small seeds of nutgrasses (Cyperus spp.), millets (Panicum spp.), and sedges to larger seeds, but they also consume corn, wheat, barley, and buttonbush (Cephalanthus spp.) seeds. In marshes, sloughs, and ponds, green-winged teal select the seeds of bulrushes, pondweeds, and spikerushes (Eleocharis spp.). To a lesser extent they feed upon the vegetative parts of muskgrass (Chara spp.), pondweeds, widgeongrass (Ruppia maritima), and duckweeds (Lemna spp.).They will occasionally eat insects, mollusks, and crustaceans. Occasionally during spring months, green-winged teal will gorge on maggots of decaying fish which are found around ponds.
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    Greater yellowlegs - (Tringa melanoleuca)

  • Photo Credit: Dave Budeau ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1.25-ft. / Weight: up to 0.5-lb.
  • Threats: The Greater Yellowlegs is a relatively common species, but like many shorebirds, it faces threats from habitat loss and degradation, climate change, and disturbance by humans and predators. Conservation efforts are underway to protect this species, including the designation of Important Bird Areas and the development of management plans to protect breeding and migratory habitats.

  • The Greater yellowlegs is a large shorebird. It breeds in central Canada and southern Alaska and winters in southern North America, Central America, the West Indies and South America. Their breeding habitat is bogs and marshes in the boreal forest region of Canada and Alaska. They migrate to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States, the Caribbean, and south to South America. They are very rare vagrants to western Europe. These birds forage in shallow water, sometimes using their bills to stir up the water. They mainly eat insects and small fish, as well as crustaceans, marine worms, frogs, seeds and berries.
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    Long-billed dowitcher - (Limnodromus scolopaceus)

  • Photo Credit: Kathy Munsel ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 0.9-ft. / Weight: up to 0.25-lb.
  • Threats: During winter, Long-billed Dowitchers are at risk of being predated by Merlins, Short-eared Owls, and Peregrine Falcons. The long-term losses of western wetlands have likely had negative impacts on this species, and pollution and climate change pose ongoing threats.

  • In North America, the Long-billed dowitcher breeds mainly throughout western and northern Alaska along the coast from Hooper Bay to w. Mackenzie and south to the foothills of Brooks Range. In this range, while nesting it greatly prefers wet, grass or sedge freshwater meadows but it is also sometimes confined to marshes and will move to lakes, ponds, or estuaries to forage after nesting. Along the Pacific coast however, it winters in various locations from south-western British Columbia to Baja California, also moving inland to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and south to Mexico. The spring migrations occurs from February to May with birds moving up along the Pacific coast and interior. The fall migrations generally occurs from July to October with the adult long-billed dowitcher beginning to migrate south in July while juveniles begin migrating through September to October. Long-billed dowitchers forage by jabbing or probing with a characteristic "sewing machine" motion in shallow water or on wet mud, often with their heads underwater and using tactile receptors on the tip of their bill to locate prey by touch. The long-billed dowitcher, during breeding, consumes large quantities of chironomidae larva and larva of other insects with occasional plant matter and seeds. During migration and in their wintering region, the long-billed dowitcher consumes a far greater range of food types. Dowitchers eat everything from polychaetes to insect larva to crustaceans to mollusks. Also, having night vision, they are known to forage at night during migration.
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    Dunlin - (Calidris alpina)

  • Photo Credit: Tim Moore
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 0.75-ft. / Weight: Adults - up to 0.2-lb.
  • Threats: Habitat fragmentation has reduced the availability of habitat patches to these birds through reducing patch size and increasing patch isolation. This reduced connectivity between patches has reduced the movements of Dunlin leaving them more susceptible to inbreeding in these locations.

  • The Dunlin is an abundant transient and winter visitant in estuaries and occasionally on beaches along the coast of Oregon, but significant numbers winter in the Willamette Valley, especially the southern part. The dunlin is highly gregarious in winter, sometimes forming large flocks on mudflats or sandy beaches. It uses a characteristic "sewing machine" feeding action, methodically picking small food items. Insects form the main part of the dunlin's diet on the nesting grounds. It also eats molluscs, worms and crustaceans.
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    Red-winged blackbird - (Agelaius phoeniceus)

  • Photo Credit: Blaine Fanning
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 0.6-ft. / Weight: less than 0.13-lb.
  • Threats: Red-winged blackbirds thrive in wetland areas and along with the destruction of natural wetlands their populations are likely to shrink. The species is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act 1918, a formal treaty between the United States and Canada that was later expanded to include Mexico.

  • The common name for the red-winged blackbird is taken from the mainly black adult male's distinctive red shoulder patches, or epaulets, which are visible when the bird is flying or displaying. At rest, the male also shows a pale yellow wingbar. The spots of males less than one year old, generally subordinate, are smaller and more orange than those of adults. The female is blackish-brown and paler below. She is also smaller than the male. These markings are vital in the defense of the territory. Males with larger spots are more effective at chasing away their non-territorial rivals and are more successful in securing mates. The red-winged blackbird inhabits open grassy areas. It generally prefers wetlands, and inhabits both freshwater and saltwater marshes, particularly if cattail is present. It is also found in dry upland areas, where it inhabits meadows, prairies, and old fields. The red-winged blackbird is omnivorous. It feeds primarily on plant materials, including seeds from weeds and waste grain such as corn and rice, but about a quarter of its diet consists of insects and other small animals, and considerably more so during breeding season. It prefers insects, such as dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, moths, and flies, but also consumes snails, frogs, eggs, carrion, worms, spiders, mollusks. The red-winged blackbird forages for insects by picking them from plants, or by catching them in flight. Sometimes insects are obtained by exploring the bases of aquatic plants with their small beaks, opening holes to reach the insects hidden inside. Due to high predation rates, especially of eggs and chicks, the red-winged blackbird has developed various adaptations to protect its nests. One of them consists of nesting in groups, which reduces the danger since there is a greater number of alert parents. Nesting over water also lowers the chances of an attack. Nests in particular offer a strategic advantage as they are often hidden among dense riparian reeds, at a height of one or two meters. Males often act as sentinels, using a repertoire of calls. Males in particular hunt down potential predators to scare them away, even when dealing with much larger animals. Aggressiveness of the red-winged blackbird towards the marsh wren, which also nests in swamps, causes a partial interspecies territorialism.
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    Marsh wren - (Cistothorus palustris)

  • Photo Credit: Cathy Nowak ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 5.5-in. / Weight: up to 1/2-oz.
  • Threats: Marsh wren numbers have declined with the loss of suitable wetland habitat and wholesale draining of marshes have lead to local extripations.

  • In the western United States, some Marsh wrens are permanent residents. Others migrate to marshes and salt marshes in the southern United States and Mexico. The nest is an oval structure attached to marsh vegetation, entered from the side. The male builds many unused nests in his territory. A hypothesis of the possible reason to why males build multiple "dummy" nests in their territory is that they are courting areas and that the females construct the "breeding nest" in which she lays her eggs. These birds forage actively in vegetation close to the water, occasionally flying up to catch insects in flight. They mainly eat insects, also spiders and snails, however ants and wasps were observed to be mostly eaten in the fall.
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    Common yellowthroat - (Geothlypis trichas)

  • Photo Credit: Kathy Munsel ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 5-in. / Weight: up to 0.3-oz
  • Threats: There has been a distinct decline in Common yellowthroat numbers due to loss of optimal habitat. Common yellowthroat nests are commonly subject to brood parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird.

  • The breeding habitats of Common yellowthroats are marshes and other wet areas with dense low vegetation, and may also be found in other areas with dense shrub. However, these birds are less common in dry areas. Females appear to prefer males with larger masks. Common yellowthroats nest in low areas of the vegetation, laying 3 to 5 eggs in a cup-shaped nest. Both parents feed the young.
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    Sora - (Porzana carolina)

  • Photo Credit: Kathy Munsel ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 11.8-in. / Weight: up to 4-oz.
  • Threats: Sora eggs are eaten by several species including American minks, skunks, coyotes, crows, and herons. Predation of adult soras by American minks, coyotes, and hawks and owls have been reported.

  • Sora's breed in marshes and build their nests in well-concealed locations under dense vegetation. The peak nesting period typically occurs from May to early July. The female usually lays 10 to 12 eggs, sometimes as many as 18, in a cup built from the marsh vegetation. The eggs do not all hatch together. Both parents incubate and feed the young, who leave the nest soon after they hatch and are able to fly within a month. Soras forage while walking or swimming. They are omnivores, eating seeds, insects and snails. Although soras are more often heard than seen, they are sometimes seen walking near open water.
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    Greater Sandhill Crane - (Antigone canadensis tabida)

  • Photo Credit: Dave Budeau ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 5-ft. / Weight: up to 10.5-lbs.
  • Threats: Greater sandhill cranes are experiencing habitat loss due to urbanization, hydrological changes, vegetation succession, and livestock grazing. Protecting wetland habitat is key for this species survival. Conservation actions include managing hydrology to include both wet and dry meadow habitat during nesting season, minimizing disturbance, and using prescribed burns to set back plant succession. This type of management carefully maintains open meadow habitat by preventing encroachment of larger shrubs and trees.

  • In fall, the Greater Sandhill cranes that stage on Sauvie Island are frequently heard as they migrate south over the Willamette Valley. Sandhill cranes are found in an increasing winter population on this island. Greater sandhill cranes need large emergent marsh-meadow wetlands with both wet and dry areas for nesting and foraging. These are social birds that commonly live in pairs or family groups through the year. During migration and winter, unrelated cranes come together to form "survival groups" that forage and roost together. Such groups often congregate at migration and winter sites, sometimes in the thousands. Sandhill cranes are mainly herbivorous, but eat various types of food, depending on availability. They often feed with their bills down to the ground as they root around for seeds and other foods, in shallow wetlands with vegetation or various upland habitats. Cranes readily eat cultivated foods such as corn, wheat, cottonseed, and sorghum. Waste corn is useful to cranes preparing for migration, providing them with nutrients for the long journey. Among northern races of sandhill cranes, their diet is most varied, especially among breeding birds. They variously feed on berries, small mammals, insects, snails, reptiles, and amphibians.
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    Short-eared owl - (Asio flammeus)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1.4-ft. / Weight: up to 1-lb.
  • Threats: Like other grassland birds, the Short-eared Owl is threatened by habitat loss.

  • The Short-eared owl is one of our most conspicuous owls owing to its use of open country and crepuscular habits. It is often seen hunting low over the ground across marshes, fields, and other open areas on its buoyant, long wings, flying slowly and irregularly like a giant moth. The short-eared owl nests on the ground in prairie, tundra, savanna, or meadow habitats. Nests are concealed by low vegetation, and may be lightly lined by weeds, grass, or feathers. Approximately 4 to 7 white eggs are found in a typical clutch, but clutch size can reach up to a dozen eggs in years when voles are abundant. There is one brood per year. The eggs are incubated mostly by the female for 21 to 37 days. Offspring fledge at a little over four weeks. This owl is known to lure predators away from its nest by appearing to have a crippled wing. Hunting occurs mostly at night, but this owl is known to be diurnal and crepuscular as well. Its daylight hunting seems to coincide with the high-activity periods of voles, its preferred prey. It tends to fly only feet above the ground in open fields and grasslands until swooping down upon its prey feet-first. Several owls may hunt over the same open area. Its food consists mainly of rodents, especially voles, but it will eat other small mammals such as rabbits, mice, ground squirrels, shrews, rats, bats, muskrats and moles. It will also occasionally depredate smaller birds, especially when near sea-coasts and adjacent wetlands at which time they attack shorebirds, terns and small gulls and seabirds with semi-regularity. Avian prey is more infrequently preyed on inland and centers on passerines such as larks, icterids, starlings, tyrant flycatchers and pipits. Insects supplement the diet and short-eared owls may prey on roaches, grasshoppers, beetles, katydids and caterpillars. Competition can be fierce with the northern harrier, with which the owl competes for habitat and prey preferences. Both species will readily harass the other when prey is caught.
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    American beaver - (Castor canadensis)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 4-ft. / Weight: up to 100-lb.
  • Threats: With protection in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the current beaver population has rebounded to an estimated 10 to 15 million; while this is a fraction of the originally estimated 100 to 200 million North American beavers before the days of the fur trade, they are not at this time to be at risk for extinction. American beavers are nowadays introduced into areas they have been historically extripated from with the expectation their unique habitat altering behaviors will significantly augment ongoing habitat recovery projects.

  • Beavers are active mainly at night. They are excellent swimmers and may remain submerged up to 15 minutes. More vulnerable on land, they tend to remain in the water as much as possible. They use their flat, scaly tail both to signal danger by slapping the surface of the water and as a location for fat storage. They construct their homes, or "lodges", out of sticks, twigs, rocks, and mud in lakes, streams, and tidal river deltas. These lodges may be surrounded by water, or touching land, including burrows dug into river banks. Beavers are well known for building dams across streams and constructing their lodges in the artificial ponds which form. When building in a pond, the beavers first make a pile of sticks and then eat out one or more underwater entrances and two platforms above the water surface inside the pile. The first is used for drying off. Towards winter, the lodge is often plastered with mud which, when it freezes, has the consistency of concrete. A small air hole is left in the top of the lodge. Communication is highly developed in beaver, including scent marking, vocalization, and tail slapping. Beaver deposit castoreum on piles of debris and mud called scent mounds, which are usually placed on or near lodges, dams, and trails less than a meter from water. Over 100 of such mounds can be constructed within one territory. Beaver colonies with close neighbors constructed more "scent mounds" than did isolated colonies, and the number of scent mounds at each active lodge is correlated with the distance to the nearest occupied lodge. Beavers are herbivorous generalists with sophisticated foraging preferences. Beavers consume a mix of herbaceous and woody plants, which varies considerably in both composition and species diversity by region and season. They prefer aspen and other poplars, but are opportunists with other species. They also eat cattails, water lilies, and other aquatic vegetation, especially in the early spring. The beaver is a keystone species, increasing biodiversity in its territory through creation of ponds and wetlands. As wetlands are formed and riparian habitats enlarged, aquatic plants colonize newly available watery habitat. Insect, invertebrate, fish, mammal, and bird diversities are also expanded. Effects of beaver recolonization on native and non-native species in streams where they have been historically absent, particularly dryland streams, is not well-researched.
  • 62/ 102
    Common muskrat - (Ondatra zibethicus)

  • Photo Credit: Dave Budeau ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 2.2-ft. / Weight: up to 4-lbs.
  • Threats: Common muskrat declines have been attributed to habitat loss, increased frequency of lower recurrence interval flood events associated with climate change, predation, and environmental contamination.

  • Commonm muskrats normally live in families consisting of a male and female and their young. During the spring, they often fight with other muskrats over territory and potential mates. Many are injured or killed in these fights. Muskrat families build nests to protect themselves and their young from cold and predators. In streams, ponds, or lakes, muskrats burrow into the bank with an underwater entrance. These entrances are 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 in) wide. In marshes, push-ups are constructed from vegetation and mud. These push-ups are up to 90 cm (3 ft) in height. Muskrats are most active at night or near dawn and dusk. They feed on cattail and other aquatic vegetation. Plant materials compose about 95% of their diets, but they also eat small animals, such as freshwater mussels, frogs, crayfish, fish, and small turtles. Muskrats provide an important food resource for many other animals, including mink, foxes, cougars, coyotes, wolves, lynx, bobcats, raccoons, bears, wolverines, and eagles.
  • 63/ 102
    Coyote (Canis latrans)

  • Photo Credit: Charlotte Ganskopp
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 5-ft. / Weight: up to 50-lbs.
  • Threats: There is no threat of extinction facing the coyote population. In fact, their numbers may even be increasing. These adaptable canids can be found all the way from Canada to Mexico.

  • Individual feeding territories vary in size from 0.4 to 62 km2 (0.15 to 24 sq mi), with the general concentration of coyotes in a given area depending on food abundance, adequate denning sites, and competition with conspecifics and other predators. The coyote generally does not defend its territory outside of the denning season, and is much less aggressive towards intruders than the wolf is, typically chasing and sparring with them, but rarely killing them. Conflicts between coyotes can arise during times of food shortage. Coyotes mark their territories by raised-leg urination and ground-scratching. Like wolves, coyotes use a den, usually the deserted holes of other species, when gestating and rearing young, though they may occasionally give birth under sagebrushes in the open. Coyote dens can be located in canyons, washouts, coulees, banks, rock bluffs, or level ground. Some dens have been found under abandoned homestead shacks, grain bins, drainage pipes, railroad tracks, hollow logs, thickets, and thistles. The den is continuously dug and cleaned out by the female until the pups are born. Should the den be disturbed or infested with fleas, the pups are moved into another den. A coyote den can have several entrances and passages branching out from the main chamber. A single den can be used year after year. Coyotes have been observed to kill porcupines in pairs, using their paws to flip the rodents on their backs, then attacking the soft underbelly. Only old and experienced coyotes can successfully prey on porcupines, with many predation attempts by young coyotes resulting in them being injured by their prey's quills. Coyotes sometimes urinate on their food, possibly to claim ownership over it. Recent evidence demonstrates that at least some coyotes have become more nocturnal in hunting, presumably to avoid humans. Coyotes may occasionally form mutualistic hunting relationships with American badgers, assisting each other in digging up rodent prey. The relationship between the two species may occasionally border on apparent "friendship", as some coyotes have been observed laying their heads on their badger companions or licking their faces without protest. The amicable interactions between coyotes and badgers were known to pre-Columbian civilizations, as shown on a jar found in Mexico dated to 1250 to 1300 CE depicting the relationship between the two. Prior to the near extermination of wolves and cougars, the coyote was most numerous in grasslands inhabited by bison, pronghorn, elk, and other deer, doing particularly well in short-grass areas with prairie dogs, though it was just as much at home in semiarid areas with sagebrush and jackrabbits or in deserts inhabited by cactus, kangaroo rats, and rattlesnakes. As long as it was not in direct competition with the wolf, the coyote ranged from the Sonoran Desert to the alpine regions of adjoining mountains or the plains and mountainous areas of Alberta. With the near extermination of the wolf, the coyote's range expanded.
  • 64/ 102
    Bobcat - (Lynx rufus)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 4-ft. / Weight: up to 35-lbs.
  • Threats: Urbanization can result in the fragmentation of contiguous natural landscapes into patchy habitat within an urban area. Animals that live in these fragmented areas often have reduced movement between the habitat patches, which can lead to reduced gene flow and pathogen transmission between patches. Animals such as the bobcat are particularly sensitive to fragmentation because of their large home ranges. Bobcat populations are affected by urbanization, creation of roads, and other developments. The populations may not be declining as much as predicted, but nevertheless the connectivity of different populations is affected. This leads to a decrease in natural genetic diversity among bobcat populations. For bobcats, preserving open space in sufficient quantities and quality is necessary for population viability. Educating local residents about the animals is critical, as well, for conservation in urban areas.

  • The Bobcat inhabits all habitats except intensively cultivated lands and areas at high altitudes. The bobcat is crepuscular, and is active mostly during twilight. It keeps on the move from three hours before sunset until about midnight, and then again from before dawn until three hours after sunrise. Each night, it moves from 3 to 11 km (2 to 7 mi) along its habitual route. This behavior may vary seasonally, as bobcats become more diurnal during fall and winter in response to the activity of their prey, which are more active during the day in colder weather. Like most felines, the bobcat is largely solitary, but ranges often overlap. Unusual for cats, males are more tolerant of overlap, while females rarely wander into others' ranges. Given their smaller range sizes, two or more females may reside within a male's home range. When multiple territories overlap, a dominance hierarchy is often established, resulting in the exclusion of some transients from favored areas. The bobcat is able to survive for long periods without food, but eats heavily when prey is abundant. During lean periods, it often preys on larger animals, which it can kill and return to feed on later. The bobcat hunts by stalking its prey and then ambushing with a short chase or pounce. The bobcat hunts animals of different sizes, and adjusts its hunting techniques accordingly. It hunts in areas abundant in prey and waits lying or crouching for victims to wander close. It then pounces and grabs the prey with its sharp, retractable claws. For slightly larger animals, such as geese, ducks, rabbits and hares, it stalks from cover and waits until prey comes within 6 to 11 m (20 to 35 ft) before rushing in to attack. Less commonly, it feeds on larger animals, such as young ungulates, and other carnivores, such as primarily female fishers, gray foxes, minks, American martens, skunks, raccoons, small dogs and domestic cats. It also hunts rodents such as squirrels, moles, muskrats, mice, but also birds and insects. Bobcats occasionally hunt livestock and poultry. While larger species, such as cattle and horses, are not known to be attacked, bobcats do present a threat to smaller ruminants such as pigs, sheep and goats. However, some amount of bobcat predation may be misidentified, as bobcats have been known to scavenge on the remains of livestock kills by other animals.
  • 65/ 102
    Black-tailed deer - (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Weight: up to 200-lbs.
  • Threats: Black-tailed deer have been negatively impacted by humans through climate change induced drought, flooding, and wildfire; pollution; habitat encroachment and loss, and poaching.

  • Black-tailed deer are a subspecies of the mule deer (O. hemionus) and are found in western North America, from Northern California into the Pacific Northwest of the United States and coastal British Columbia in Canada. They are browsers. During the winter and early spring, they feed on Douglas fir, western red cedar, red huckleberry, salal, deer fern, and lichens growing on trees. Late spring to fall, they consume grasses, blackberries, apples, fireweed, pearly everlasting, forbs, salmonberry, salal, and maple. The mating or 'rutting' season occurs during November and early December. Bucks can be observed running back and forth across the roads in the pursuit of does. After the rut, the bucks tend to hide and rest, often nursing wounds. They suffer broken antlers, and have lost weight. They drop their antlers between January and March. After dropped the antlers provide a source of calcium and other nutrients to other species such as ground squirrels. Bucks regrow their antlers beginning in April through to August. The gestation period for does is 6 to 7 months, with fawns being born in late May and into June. Twins are the rule, although young does often have only single fawns. Triplets can also occur. Fawns weigh 2.7 to 4 kg (6.0 to 8.8 lb) and have no scent for the first week or so. This enables the mother to leave the fawn hidden while she goes off to browse and replenish her body after giving birth. She must also eat enough to produce enough milk to feed her fawns. Although does are excellent mothers, fawn mortality rate is 45 to 70%. Does are very protective of their young and humans are viewed as predators. Deer communicate with the aid of scent and pheromones from several glands located on the lower legs. The metatarsal (outside of lower leg) produces an alarm scent, the tarsal (inside of hock) serves for mutual recognition and the interdigital (between the toes) leave a scent trail when deer travel. Deer have excellent sight and smell. Their large ears can move independently of each other and pick up any unusual sounds that may signal danger.
  • 66/ 102
    Roosevelt Elk - (Cervus canadensis roosevelti)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Apparently Secure (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 10-ft. / Weight: up to 1200-lbs.
  • Threats: Currently habitat loss and fragmentation due to logging and road construction threaten these unique elk. Elk habitat is also being reduced by forest management practices that are keeping sunlight from reaching the forest floor and providing the vegetation they eat, such as clearcutting and replanting dense tree plantations. Creative forest management practices are needed to provide breaks in the canopy while maintaining old growth stands that will allow for vegetation that is essential to elk and many other species.

  • The Roosevelt Elk, named for Theodore Roosevelt, is the largest of the four remaining North American elk subspecies. Males (bulls) average 875 pounds, but bulls weighing nearly 1300 pounds have been found in Alaska. Historical records of accounts from fur trappers and settlers report Roosevelt Elk as abundant within the river valleys and bottom lands of western Oregon. Females (cows) average 700 pounds. These elk also have the largest antlers of all elk species, reaching lengths of up to four feet with a distinctive three-point tip, or crown and the end. Males grow their antlers between April and August every year. The Roosevelt Elk is also much darker than other elk species, often with a dark brown or even black neck and a tan body. Female elk typically give birth to one calf at a time, and calves are able to stand and feed within an hour of being born. These elk are seasonally migratory, spending the summer months in the mountains and moving to lower elevations in the winter to avoid winter storms and find food. From late spring to early fall, the Roosevelt elk feed upon herbaceous plants, such as grasses and sedges. During winter months, they forage on woody plants, including highbush cranberry, elderberry, devil's club, and newly planted seedlings (Douglas fir and western redcedar). The Roosevelt elk is also known to eat blueberries, mushrooms, lichens, and salmonberries.
  • 67/ 102
    American black bear - (Ursus americanus)

  • Photo Credit: Jim Smith
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 6-ft. / Weight: up to 900-lbs.
  • Threats: Black bears can live more than 20 years in the wild, but in areas near human habitation most black bears die sooner as a result of habitat encroachment and loss, hunting, trapping, poaching, nuisance removal near campgrounds and/or dumps, and collisions with vehicles.

  • Though classified as carnivores, black bears have an omnivorous diet. In spring they consume emerging plants and carcasses of animals that died during the winter. Fruits dominate the diet in summer, and both fruit and mast, especially acorns, constitute most of the fall diet. As opportunistic feeders, black bears will also eat pine cones, roots, ants, and honey from wild or domestic bees. Nonetheless, black bears are strong predators, and in some areas they frequently kill deer fawns during spring. Black bears living near humans adapt readily to alternate food sources, such as garbage from dumps or campsites and handouts from tourists in parks. Encounters with black bears occasionally result in injury or death, and attacks are reported every year. In almost all cases, avoiding surprise encounters is the best defense, as black bears prefer to avoid people. Throughout most of their range, black bears become dormant during winter. They spend the winter in dens located in rock crevices, in underground burrows, under tree roots, in hollow trees, in brush piles, or simply on open ground. Prior to winter sleep, bears must accumulate large quantities of body fat during late summer and fall. Not only does this enable them to survive the long period of winter fasting, but it also allows them to have sufficient energy in spring when they emerge and food is rare. For females, the amount of fat stored before winter is linked with reproductive success: fatter females typically have more and bigger young than leaner females do. Accumulating fat for the winter is thus a strong drive, and it explains the constant search for food through the summer and fall. Breeding begins in the spring and peaks during June and July. Black bears are promiscuous, males and females often mating with several individuals. Implantation of the fertilized egg is delayed, occurring in November or December. Actual gestation then lasts 60 to 70 days, and one to four young cubs are born in January or February. Born blind, fully furred, and toothless, the cubs remain with the mother for 16-months, and the female breeds every second or third year. Although the mother is very protective of her litter, young cubs may be killed by coyotes, wolves, brown bears, or other black bears.
  • 68/ 102
    Cougar - (Puma concolor)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 8-ft. / Weight: up to 250-lbs.
  • Threats: Over time, intensive hunting following European colonization of the Americas and simultaneous large scale and ongoing human development into cougar habitat continually and collectively have served to cause cougar populations to decline in most parts of their historical range.

  • The cougar is largely solitary by nature and considered both nocturnal and crepuscular, although daytime sightings do occur. Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 18 months to three years and are in estrus for about eight days of a 23-day cycle; the gestation period is approximately 91 days. Both adult males and females may mate with multiple partners and a female's litter can have multiple paternities. Copulation is brief but frequent. Chronic stress can result in low reproductive rates in captivity as well as in the field. Gestation is 82 to 103 days long. Only females are involved in parenting. Litter size is between one and six cubs; typically two. Caves and other alcoves that offer protection are used as litter dens. Born blind, cubs are completely dependent on their mother at first, and begin to be weaned at around three months of age. As they grow, they begin to go out on forays with their mother, first visiting kill sites, and after six months beginning to hunt small prey on their own. Kitten survival rates are just over one per litter. Juveniles remain with their mothers for one to two years. When the females reaches estrous again, their offspring must disperse or the male will kill them. Males tend to disperse further than females. One study has shown a high mortality rate amongst cougars that travel farthest from their maternal range, often due to conflicts with other cougars. In a study area in New Mexico, males dispersed farther than females, traversed large expanses of non-cougar habitat and were probably most responsible for nuclear gene flow between habitat patches. Life expectancy in the wild is reported at 8 to 13 years, and probably averages 8 to 10It is an ambush predator that pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources are ungulates, particularly deer, but it also hunts smaller prey, such as rodents. Cougars are territorial and live at low population densities. Individual home ranges depend on terrain, vegetation and abundance of prey. While large, it is not always the apex predator in its range, yielding prey it has killed to American black bears, grizzly bears and wolf packs. It is reclusive and mostly avoids people. Fatal attacks on humans are rare but increased in North America as more people entered cougar habitat and built farms. The cougar lives in all forest types, lowland, and in open areas with little vegetation. The cougar is a generalist hypercarnivore. It prefers large mammals such as mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. It opportunistically takes smaller prey such as rodents, lagomorphs, smaller carnivores, birds and even domestic animals including pets. The mean weight of cougar vertebrate prey increases with its body weight. A survey of North America cougars found 68% of their prey items were ungulates, especially deer.
  • 69/ 102
    White Brodiaea - (Triteleia hyacinthina)

  • Photo Credit: Copyright © 2023 Sevenoaks Native Nursery
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - G4 Apparently Secure (Lower Columbia River).
  • Height: up to 2-ft.
  • Threats: Loss of habitat in its historic range from urbanizing development and agricultural conversions.

  • White Brodiaea is found in fields, grasslands, meadows, vernal pools, coniferous forests, and woodlands up to 6500 ft (2000m) where there is full exposure to sunlight or partial shade, poor to moderately well drained soils, moist to wet winters, and dry summers. White Brodiaea is a perennial prairie species that forms colonies of white in May-July. Plant community associates often include Ranunculus occidentalis- Western Buttercup, Brodiaea elegans- Cluster lily, Plectritis congesta- Sea Blush, and Camassia quamash - Camas. It supports native butterflies, bees, and other insect pollinators.
  • 70/ 102
    Farewell-to-spring - (Clarkia amoena)

  • Photo Credit: Stephen Lea - GNU Free Documentation License Version 1.2, November 2002 Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - G5 Secure (Lower Columbia River).
  • Height: up to 2.4-feet.
  • Threats: Loss of habitat in its historic range from urbanizing development and agricultural conversions.

  • Farewell-to-spring is an annual plant that grows in open areas, flowers in late summer, and plays an important ecological niche by supporting native pollinators.
  • 71/ 102
    Little Brown Myotis - (Myotis lucifugus)

  • Photo Credit: Michael Durham ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - G3 Vulnerable (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 2-in.
  • Threats: Little Brown Myotis commonly incurs significant mortality by turbines at wind energy facilities, though these fatalities are much less frequent than those of hoary, eastern red, and silver-haired bats. Approximately 51,600-107,000 Little Brown Myotis were killed at wind energy facilities in the United States and Canada during the period between 2000-2011.

  • Little Brown Myotis are insectivores. They are especially prone to establish residence near a lake, pond, or stream and will often fly over water hunting their insect prey, occassionally dipping down to take a drink while still flying. They find insects using echolocation, sending out very high-frequency sounds outside the hearing range of humans. These sounds bounce off of objects in their flight paths and return to the bats ears. The returning sound tells the bats all about the object. Using only sound, the bat knows what it is, if it is moving, and how far away it is. Like all mammals, Little Brown Myotis give birth to live young. The females gestate for 45 days. Their progeny are born in June or July after which the females nurse their young until they can catch insects for themselves. The young bats learn to fly by the time they are 3 weeks old. Little Brown Myotis can fly up to 22 miles per hour. They live together in colonies and they do not eat at all during their winter hibernations in caves or hollowed out trees. All summer, they store fat in their bodies, which then, barring major disturbances, sustains them through the following winter.
  • 72/ 102
    Northern Red-legged Frog - (Rana aurora)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - G4 Apparently Secure (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 4-in.
  • Threats: Hydrologic perturbations such as flashy stormwater exposing egg masses in urban areas, fragmentation of habitat by roads and suburban development, and other land use changes can adversely impact Northern Red-legged Frog populations. Predation and competition by invasive fish and amphibians such as bullfrogs (often attracted to permanently inundated stormater ponds) pose as Northern Red-legged Frog population stressors as well.

  • The Northern Red-legged Frog tends to breed in the seasonally inundated still waters of ponds, marshes or stream pools with a clear preference for thickly vegetated shorelines. They require cover to avoid predation by various fishes, snakes, birds, mammals, and other amphibians. When they sense danger, Northern Red-legged Frogs will quickly plunge to depths of up to one meter or more to seek safety in the benthic zone of a water body. Adults leave the breeding ponds soon after the breeding activity is ended and typically migrate about one half kilometer to their summer locations, which are likely to be in riparian zones. Juveniles are slower to leave the breeding ponds, but also tend to find cover in riparian areas, and may readily migrate about one half kilometer by summertime. Mature Northern Red-legged Frogs prey on terrestrial insects, but will also take small snails and crustaceans. They also consume worms, tadpoles, small fish, and small frogs of other species. The tadpoles are herbivorous.
  • 73/ 102
    Western Pond Turtle - (Actinemys marmorata)

  • Photo Credit: Simon Wray ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Vulnerable (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 10-in.
  • Threats: There have been Western Pond Turtle population declines due to habitat loss, degradation of nesting areas by invasive plants, competition from non-native turtles and disease, and predation by raccoons, invasive bullfrogs, and fish.

  • The Western Pond Turtle occupies permanent and intermittent streams, large rivers and other slow-moving bodies of water. It favors habitats with large numbers of emergent logs or boulders, where individuals aggregate to bask. They also bask on top of aquatic vegetation. The western pond turtle is omnivorous and most of its animal diet includes insects, crayfish, and other aquatic invertebrates. Fish, tadpoles, and frogs are eaten occasionally, and carrion is eaten when available. Plant foods include filamentous algae, lily pads, tule and cattail roots. Juveniles are primarily carnivorous, and eat insects and carrion. At about age three they begin to eat plant matter.
  • 74/ 102
    Eulachon - (Thaleichthys pacificus)

  • Photo Credit: Doug Markle
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Threatened (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 10-in. / Weight: up to 2.5-oz
  • Threats: Altered river flows by upstream storage dams and seasonal draught can adversely impact success of migratory runs and bycatch in the ocean fisheries often results in direct mortality.

  • Eulachon are an anadromous (moving between freshwater and saltwater) smelt in the family Osmeridae. They spawn in rivers sometime between December and June. Some rivers have yearly runs and other rivers are only occasionally used. They spawn over sand or gravel. The eggs stick to the bottom once they are fertilized and usually hatch in about 2 to 4 weeks. The larvae then move quickly downstream to the ocean. Juvenile Eulachon will school near the bottom in the ocean and older Eulachon tend to move to deeper waters over the continental shelf. Eulachon mature sometime between about 2 and 4 years of age and maturity seems to be size dependent with fish generally growing more slowly and maturing later at higher latitudes. They often spawn within the tidal reaches of rivers and are known to go nearly 100 miles up the Columbia River and into some of its tributaries to spawn. Stocks from each river system are thought to be genetically isolated. Eulachon sometimes mix with other small schooling forage fish such as Northern Anchovy and Pacific Herring. All of these forage fish species are plankton eaters consuming both phytoplankton and zooplankton. In turn, these forage fish are preyed upon by a wide variety of fishes, birds, and marine mammals. Thus they are an important trophic link in the food web transferring the energy up the food web. Some predators of Eulachon specifically target the large spawning runs and there can be thousands for predators taking advantage of this rich food source.
  • 75/ 102
    Fringed Myotis - (Myotis thysanodes)

  • Photo Credit: Michael-Durham
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Species of Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3.5-in. / Weight: up to 0.3-oz.
  • Threats: Fringed Myotis are vulnerable to habitat fragmentation, degredation, and loss. Reduction of large snags for nesting can contribute to lowered reproductive rates.

  • Fringed myotis require forest habitat. They use large snags and rock features for day, night, and maternity roosts, and caves and mines for hibernacula. They feed primarily on beetles, flies, and true bugs. They occasionally use bridges for night-roosting.
  • 76/ 102
    Acorn Woodpecker - (Melanerpes formicivorus)

  • Photo Credit: Keith Kohl
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Species of Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 8.3-in. / Weight: up to 3-oz.
  • Threats: Loss of oak woodlands, particularly in the Willamette Valley, poses a major threat to Acorn Woodpeckers and other oak habitat specialists. Remaining birds persist locally and in small numbers. Acorn Woodpeckers also compete with European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) for nesting cavities in some areas.

  • Acorn Woodpeckers prefer oak woodlands with high canopies and relatively open understories. They are dependent upon dead limbs or snags for storing acorns. Acorn woodpeckers are cooperative breeders, living and breeding in family groups of up to 15 individuals. Within the same population, groups range from monogamous pairs to polygynandrous breeding collectives consisting of coalitions of up to 8 males and 4 females, along with nonbreeding "helpers at the nest" that are offspring from prior breeding events. In groups with more than one breeding female, the females put their eggs into a single nest cavity. A female usually destroys any eggs in the nest before she starts to lay. Once all the females start to lay, they stop removing eggs. Acorn Woodpeckers depend heavily on acorns for food. Acorns are stored in small holes drilled especially for this purpose in "granaries" or "storage trees"--usually snags, dead branches, utility poles, or wooden buildings. Storage holes--always in dead tissue such as bark or dead limbs--are used year after year, and granaries can consist of thousands of holes, each of which may be filled by an acorn in the autumn.
  • 77/ 102
    Foothill Yellow-legged Frog - (Rana boylii)

  • Photo Credit: Thomas Lossen
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Species of Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3.23-in.
  • Threats: Foothill yellow-legged frogs have disappeared from more than half their historical localities due to dam related water development and diversions, timber harvest, mining, livestock grazing, roads and urbanization, marijuana cultivation, off-road vehicles, climate change related droughts, wilfires, and floods, pollution, invasive species competition and predations, and disease.

  • The foothill yellow-legged frog is a striking stream-dwelling amphibian with a distinctive lemon-yellow color under its legs. It can be found in Pacific drainages from the upper reaches of the Willamette River system, Oregon. The foothill yellow-legged frog occurs in a wide variety of vegetation types including valley-foothill hardwood, valley-foothill hardwood-conifer, valley-foothill riparian , ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, mixed chaparral and wet meadows. The frog is closely associated with streams and is rarely observed far from the waters edge. Breeding stream habitat is typically shallow, rocky and at least partially exposed to direct sunlight. During the breeding season, foothill yellow-legged frogs exhibit a lek-style mating system, where males congregate at breeding sites and often establish small calling territories to attract female mates. Female foothill yellow-legged frogs lay one egg mass per year, containing approximately 1,000 to 2,500 eggs, but may range from approximately 100 to more than 4,000 eggs. Tadpoles feed on algae and related freshwater organisms. After metamorphosis, juvenile and adult frogs feed on aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates including snails, moths, flies, water striders, beetles, grasshoppers, hornets and ants.
  • 78/ 102
    Spotted sandpiper - (Actitis macularius)

  • Photo Credit: Greg Gilson
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - ESA Species of Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 7.9-in. / Weight: up to 1.8-oz.
  • Threats: The destruction of their natural habitats due to increasing wildfires causes problems for breeding and raising offspring. Additionally, the gradual increase in temperatures poses a problem for newborn sandpipers.[

  • Breeding grounds are chosen based on various environmental factors, but tend to be in the proximity of bodies of water that offer some coverage from vegetation. Successful breeding sites may be used repeatedly until either the site becomes physically unsuitable (from overgrown vegetation or flooding) or predation becomes too severe. The females usually arrive at breeding grounds before the males do and establish their territories. Males arrive to breeding sites later, but it is uncertain whether or not they will arrive to the same breeding sites that some females have chosen. The search for mates amongst female spotted sandpipers is much more competitive than finding potential mates is for males. During each summer breeding season, females may mate with and lay clutches for more than one male, leaving incubation to them. This is called polyandry. Male spotted sandpipers take care of the offspring, both before and after the offspring hatch. They will incubate their eggs for about 20 to 23 days.The Spotted sandpiper is a widespread transient and breeder throughout the state, found in nearly every county in Oregon. Most birds depart the state by October.
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    Double crested cormorant - (Nannopterum auritum)

  • Photo Credit: Jeff Jones
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3-ft. / Weight: up to 6-lbs.
  • Threats: Once threatened by the use of DDT, the numbers of this bird have increased markedly in recent years.

  • Double crested cormorants fly low over the water, with their bills tilted slightly upward, sometimes leaving the colony in long, single-file lines. They forage in the sea, freshwater lakes, and rivers. Like all cormorants, the double-crested dives to find their prey. They mainly eats fish, but will sometimes also eat amphibians, crustaceans and insects. Fish are caught by diving under water. Smaller fish may be eaten while the birds are still beneath the surface but bigger prey are often brought to the surface before being eaten. After diving, Double crested cormorants spend long periods standing with their wings outstretched to allow them to dry, since they are not fully waterproofed. Cormorants regurgitate pellets containing undigested parts of their meals such as bones. They build stick nests in trees, on cliff edges, or on the ground on suitable islands and they are gregarious birds, usually found in colonies.
  • 80/ 102
    Great egret (Ardea alba)

  • Photo Credit: Zachary Kephart
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3.4-ft. / Weight: up to 3.3-1bs.
  • Threats: Great egret numbers have declined in some localized areas due to habitat loss, particularly wetland degradation through drainage, grazing, clearing, burning, groundwater extraction, and invasion by exotic plants. Nevertheless, they have generally adapted well to human habitation and can be readily seen near wetlands and bodies of water in urban and suburban areas.

  • As a breeder, the Great egret is most abundant east of the Cascades, but it is present year round in the Klamath Basin. It is more common April through November. It is also fairly common to abundant on the south coast except during summer months. In summer, it is rare west of the Cascades, but is a regular local breeder around Coos Bay. In fall, it occurs statewide, especially in the south central and southeast Willamette Valley and coast. This species breeds in colonies in trees close to large lakes with reed beds or other extensive wetlands, preferably at height of 10 to 40 feet (3.0 to 12.2 m). It begins to breed at 2 to 3 years of age by forming monogamous pairs each season. Whether the pairing carries over to the next season is not known. The male selects the nest area, starts a nest, and then attracts a female. The nest, made of sticks and lined with plant material, could be up to 3 feet across. Up to six bluish green eggs are laid at one time. Both sexes incubate the eggs, and the incubation period is 23 to 26 days. The young are fed by regurgitation by both parents and are able to fly within 6 to 7 weeks. The great egret forages in shallow water or in drier habitats, feeding mainly on fish, frogs, other amphibians, small mammals (such as mice), and occasionally small reptiles (such as snakes), crustaceans (such as crayfish) and insects (such as crickets and grasshoppers). They normally impale their prey with ther long, sharp bill by standing still and allowing the prey to come within the striking distance of its bill, which it uses as a spear. It often waits motionless or slowly stalks its prey.
  • 81/ 102
    Tundra swan - (Cygnus columbianus)

  • Photo Credit: Kathy Munsel ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 4.5-ft. / Weight: up to 20-lbs.
  • Threats: Tundra swannumbers seem to be slowly declining in the west of its range since the late 19th century, coincident with the expansion of human settlement and habitat conversion in the birds wintering areas.

  • As their common name implies, the tundra swan breeds in the tundra of the Arctic and subarctic, where they inhabit shallow pools, lakes and rivers. These are migratory birds. The winter habitat is grassland and marshland. In summer, their diet consists mainly of aquatic vegetation, e.g. mannagrass (Glyceria), Potamogeton pondweeds and marine eelgrass (Zostera), acquired by sticking the head underwater or upending while swimming; they also eat some grass growing on dry land. At other times of year, leftover grains and other crops such as potatoes, picked up in open fields after harvest, make up much of their diet. Tundra swans forage mainly by day. In the breeding season, they tend to be territorial and are aggressive to many animals who pass by; outside the breeding season they are rather gregarious birds. The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) may threaten breeding females and particular the eggs and hatchlings. Adults typically can stand their ground and displace foxes but occasionally the foxes are successful. Another surprisingly serious nest predator for tundra swans are brown bears (Ursus arctos), which were apparently the primary cause of nesting failure in both the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Other potential nest predators include red fox (Vulpes vulpes), golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), parasitic jaegers (Stercorarius parasiticus), and glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus). Brown bear, golden eagles and, rarely, gray wolves (Canis lupus) may on occasion succeed at capturing and killing an adult. Small or avian predators usually elicit either an aggressive response or the behavior of sitting tight on nests while larger mammals, perhaps more dangerous to adults, usually elicit the response of leading the cygnets into deep waters and standing still until they pass. About 15% of the adults die each year from various causes, and thus the average lifespan in the wild is about 10 years. The tundra swans mate in the late spring, usually after they have returned to the nesting grounds; as usual for swans, they pair monogamously until one partner dies. Should one partner die long before the other, the surviving bird often will not mate again for some years, or even for its entire life.
  • 82/ 102
    Snow goose - (Anser caerulescens)

  • Photo Credit: ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 2.6-ft. / Weight: up to 7.5-lbs.
  • Threats: The breeding population of the snow goose exceeds 5 million birds, an increase of more than 300% since the mid-1970s. The population is increasing at a rate of more than five percent per year. Non-breeding geese (juveniles or adults that fail to nest successfully) are not included in this estimate, so the total number of geese is likely higher. The Light Goose Conservation Order was established in 1997 and federally mandated in 1999. Increasing hunter bag limits, extending the length of hunting seasons, and adding new hunting methods have all been successfully implemented, but reportedly have not reduced the overall population of snow geese in North America.

  • Long-term pair bonds are usually formed in the second year, although breeding does not usually start until the third year. Females are strongly philopatric, meaning they will return to the place they hatched to breed. Snow geese often nest in colonies. Nesting usually begins at the end of May or during the first few days of June, depending on snow conditions. The female selects a nest site and builds the nest on an area of high ground. The nest is a shallow depression lined with plant material and may be reused from year to year. After the female lays the first of three to five eggs, she lines the nest with down. The female incubates for 22 to 25 days, and the young leave the nest within a few hours of hatching. The young feed themselves, but are protected by both parents. After 42 to 50 days they can fly, but they remain with their family until they are two to three years old. Outside of the nesting season, they usually feed in flocks. In winter, snow geese feed on left-over grain in fields. They migrate in large flocks, often visiting traditional stopover habitats in spectacular numbers. Snow geese frequently travel and feed alongside greater white-fronted geese; in contrast, the two tend to avoid travelling and feeding alongside Canada geese, which are often heavier birds.
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    American kestrel - (Falco sparverius)

  • Photo Credit: Jim Leonard
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1-ft. / Weight: up to 6-oz.
  • Threats: Since American kestrels are carnivores, toxic chemical runoff ingested by their prey can concentrate at high levels in their blood. Wild kestrels are subject to immunomodulation, or an altered immune response, to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a group of industrial flame retardants that may leach from factories into the environment. When PBDEs accumulate in body tissues of kestrels, the T-cell mediated immune response decreases in efficiency. As a result, kestrels that ingest PBDEs may not respond sufficiently to viruses or other invading microorganisms. In addition, certain PBDEs may suppress the growth and development of the spleen and bursa in American kestrels.

  • Formerly known in American literature as the Sparrow hawk, this is the smallest (dove-sized) and most familiar and abundant member of the family Falconidae in North America and one of the easiest raptors to observe. American kestrels feed largely on small animals such as grasshoppers, crickets, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, beetles, lizards, mice, voles, shrews, frogs, and small birds. The kestrel has also been reported to have killed scorpions, snakes, bats, and squirrels. The kestrel is able to maintain high population densities, at least in part because of the broad scope of its diet. The American kestrel's primary mode of hunting is by perching and waiting for prey to come near. The bird is characteristically seen along roadsides or fields perched on objects such as trees, overhead power lines, or fence posts. It also hunts by kiting, hovering in the air with rapid wing beats and scanning the ground for prey. Other hunting techniques include low flight over fields, or chasing insects and birds in the air. American kestrels in Canada and the northern United States typically migrate south in the winter, some of them converging with resident kestrels of smaller size in Mexico, sometimes going as far as Central America and the Caribbean. Birds that breed south of about 35 degrees north latitude are usually year-round residents. Migration also depends on local weather conditions. American Kestrels breeding at lower latitudes to below 48 degrees N to be precise, arrive earlier after warmer springs, whereas birds from higher latitudes return to their breeding grounds at the same time each year. These patterns suggest that short-distance migrants are better able to cope with climate change. Wintering kestrels choice of habitat varies by sex. Females are found in open areas more often than males during the non-breeding season. In migratory populations, the males arrive at the breeding ground before females, then the female selects a mate. Pair bonds are strong, often permanent. Pairs usually use previous nesting sites in consecutive years. This gives birds an advantage over younger or invading individuals, as they would already be familiar with the hunting grounds, neighbors, predators, and other features of the site. Males perform elaborate dive displays to advertise their territory and attract a mate. These displays consist of several climbs and dives, with three or four "klee" calls at their peaks. Food transfers from the male to the female occur from about four to five weeks prior to egg laying to one to two weeks after. American kestrels are cavity nesters, but they are able to adapt to a wide variety of nesting situations. They generally prefer natural cavities (such as in trees) with closed tops and tight-fitting entrances that provide for maximum protection of the eggs and young. Kestrels occasionally nest in holes created by large woodpeckers, or use the abandoned nests of other birds, such as red-tailed hawks, merlins, and crows.
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    Merlin - (Falco columbarius)

  • Photo Credit: Bob Swingle ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 11.8-in. / Weight: up to 8.5-oz.
  • Threats: By far the most serious long-term threat to Merlins is habitat destruction, especially in their breeding areas.

  • Merlins inhabit fairly open country, such as willow or birch scrub, shrubland, but also taiga forest, parks, grassland such as steppe and prairies, or moorland. They are not very habitat-specific and can be found from sea level to the treeline. In general, they prefer a mix of low and medium-height vegetation with some trees, and avoid dense forests as well as treeless arid regions. During migration however, they will utilize almost any habitat. Merlins rely on speed and agility to hunt their prey. They often hunt by flying fast and low, typically less than 1 m (3.3 ft) above the ground, using trees and large shrubs to take prey by surprise. But they actually capture most prey in the air, and will "tail-chase" startled birds. Throughout its native range, the merlin is one of the most able aerial predators of small to mid-sized birds. Breeding pairs will frequently hunt cooperatively, with one bird flushing the prey toward its mate. In particular during the breeding season, most of the prey are smallish birds weighing 10 to 40 g (0.35 to 1.41 oz). Almost any such species will be taken, with local preferences for whatever is most abundant, be it larks (Alaudidae), pipits (Anthus), finches (Fringillidae), house sparrows (Passer domesticus), other Old World sparrows (Passeridae), northern wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe), true thrushes (Turdus), kinglets (Regulidae) or buntings (Emberiza). Smaller birds will generally avoid a hunting merlin if possible. Larger birds (e.g. sandpipers, flickers, other woodpeckers, ptarmigan, other grouse, ducks and even rock pigeons as heavy as the merlin itself) and other animals—insects (especially dragonflies, moths, grasshoppers, butterflies and beetles), small mammals, (especially bats, shrews, rabbits, voles, and other small rodents) reptiles (such as lizards and snakes) and amphibians complement its diet. These are more important outside the breeding season, when they can make up a considerable part of the merlins diet. Breeding occurs typically in May/June. Though the pairs are monogamous at least for a breeding season, extra-pair copulations have been recorded. Most nest sites have dense vegetative or rocky cover; the merlin does not build a proper nest of its own. Most will use abandoned corvid (particularly Corvus crow) or hawk nests which are in conifer or mixed tree stands. Three to six (usually 4 or 5) eggs are laid. The rusty brown eggs average at about 40 mm by 31.5 mm (1.57 in by 1.24 in). The incubation period is 28 to 32 days. Incubation is performed by the female to about 90%; the male instead hunts to feed the family. Hatchlings weigh about 13 g (0.46 oz). The young fledge after another 30 days or so, and are dependent on their parents for up to 4 more weeks. Sometimes first-year merlins (especially males) will serve as a nest helper for an adult pair. More than half of all or almost all eggs of a clutch survive to hatching, and at least two-thirds of the hatched young fledge.
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    Bald eagle - (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

  • Photo Credit: Jim Leonard
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3.3-ft. / Weight: up to 17-lbs.
  • Threats: The bald eagle has been officially removed from the U.S. federal governments list of endangered species and is now assigned a risk level of least concern category on the IUCN Red List. They remain regulated under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703-712) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668 to 668d).

  • The Bald eagle breeds in 32 of 36 Oregon counties and is found throughout the state during non-breeding season. The Bald eagle was brought back from the brink of extinction when the federal government banned the use of DDT in 1972 and listed the eagle under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1978. Recovery took decades and involved agencies, organizations, politicians, landowners, and the American public. It was removed from the federal ESA in Oregon in 2007 and removed from the Oregon state threatened species list in 2012. The bald eagle occurs during its breeding season in varied wetland habitats such as rivers, large lakes, marshes, or other large bodies of open water with an abundance of fish. Trees or forest used for nesting typically have a canopy cover of no more than 60%, and no less than 20%, and are in close proximity (within 200 m (660 ft)) of open water. The bald eagle is usually quite sensitive to human activity while nesting, and is found most commonly in areas with minimal human disturbance. It chooses sites more than 1.2 km (0.75 mi) from low-density human disturbance and more than 1.8 km (1.1 mi) from medium to high-density human disturbance. However, they will occasionally nest in large estuaries or secluded groves within major cities, such as Hardtack Island on the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. The bald eagle is an opportunistic carnivore with the capacity to consume a great variety of prey. Fish often comprise most of the eagles diet throughout their range. In 20 food habit studies across the species' range, fish comprised 56% of the diet of nesting eagles, birds 28%, mammals 14% and other prey 2%. More than 400 species are known to be included in the bald eagles prey spectrum.
  • 86/ 102
    Purple loosestrife - (Lythrum salicaria) *

  • Photo Credit: Eric Coombs, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - Nonnative invasive species (Lower Columbia River).
  • Height: up to 5-ft.
  • Threats: The purple loosestrife has been introduced into North America where it is now widely spreading. Infestations result in dramatic disruption in water flow in rivers and canals, and a sharp decline in biological diversity as native food and cover plant species, notably cattails, are completely crowded out, and the life cycles of many aquatic organisms are adversely affected. A single plant may produce up to 2.7 million tiny seeds annually. Easily carried by wind and water, the seeds germinate in moist soils after overwintering. The plant can also sprout anew from pieces of root left in the soil or water. Once established, loosestrife stands are difficult and costly to remove by mechanical and chemical means.

  • Purple loosestrife is native to Europe, temperate Asia and northwest Africa. It is now spreading as a nonnative invasive weed in many temperate parts of the world, including North America. Because it is very tolerant to low oxygen in the root zone due to high and / or perched water tables (obligate hydrophyte) it tends to invade and eventually dominate in wetland plant communities.
  • 87/ 102
    Water-purslane - (Lythrum portula) *

  • Photo Credit: Christian Fischer - Photo License
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - Nonnative invasive species (Lower Columbia River).
  • Height: up to 8-in / prostrate up to 25-cm long
  • Threats: Water-purslane invades vernal pools and wetlands and displaces native species.

  • Water-purslane is native to Europe, and it is now found introduced into parts of western North America. It often grows in moist habitat, such as marshes. It is a prostrate annual herb producing a hairless, reddish stem which lies along the ground and roots where its nodes come in contact with moist soil. The slightly fleshy, spoon-shaped leaves are about a centimeter long and greenish to reddish in color. Solitary white or pink petaled flowers occur in the leaf axils.
  • 88/ 102
    Pennyroyal - (Mentha pulegium) *

  • Photo Credit: Raffi Kojian - Photo License
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - Nonnative invasive species (Lower Columbia River).
  • Height: up to 1-ft.
  • Threats: Pennyroyal is native to the eastern Mediterranean, and it is now found introduced into parts of western North America. It often grows in moist habitat, such as marshes and vernal pools.

  • Pennyroyal are in the mint family and have a distinct minty odor. They are often found where standing water over the winter leaves bare ground in the summer,and where livestock preferentially graze other plants. An analogue of this habitat is found on roadsides, where trampling or disturbance of the ground produces similarly bare soil, particularly where there is waterlogging in winter. It is also found along watercourses, in wet woodland and in abandoned fields. Vernal pools in the Willamette Valley, Oregon are frequently invaded by this species.
  • 89/ 102
    Mountain whitefish - (Prosopium williamsoni)

  • Photo Credit: Mike Cline - Photo License
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - G4 Apparently Secure (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1.8-ft. / Weight: up to 6-lbs.
  • Threats: Localized threats such as dams exist, but on a range-wide scale no major threats are known.

  • The Mountain whitefish is closely related to the trout and chars and is often included in this family. Features: Trout-like in appearance, the body is silvery in color with a bronze or dark back. They can be distinguished from trout by the forked tail and the small, down-turned mouth. They are commonly found in mountain streams and lakes, favoring clear cold water and large deep pools of at least a meter's depth. The spawning season is from October to early December, when water temperatures are 2 to 6 degrees Celsius. Mountain whitefish congregate in large schools on fall spawning runs and seek out areas of coarse gravels or cobbles at depths of at least 75 cm (30 inches), typically in shallow areas of small tributaries or shorelines of lakes. Their non-adhesive eggs are scattered along the substrate. The eggs then develop slowly through the winter (6 to 10 weeks), hatching in the early spring, generally in March. Mountain whitefish reach reproductive maturity at approximately three years old, females can produce as many as 4,000 eggs annually. Mountain whitefish typically live between 7 to 9 years in the wild. Mountain Whitefish are demersal feeders, stirring up the substrate with pectoral and tail fins to expose insect larvae and other invertebrates, including snails, crayfish, and amphipods. Their main feeding time is in the evening, but they will also take drifting prey during the day. The mountain whitefish frequently feeds in the lower strata of streams, but populations may rise to the surface to prey on hatching insects, including mayflies. Mountain whitefish fry are a common food source for other trout species.
  • 90/ 102
    Walleye - (Sander vitreus)

  • Photo Credit: Eric Engbretson - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 2.9-ft. / Weight: up to 15-lbs.
  • Threats: The walleye population is relatively stable. Threats to these fish include climate change, channelization, erosion, overfishing, and degraded water quality.

  • Walleye, also called the yellow pike or yellow pikeperch or yellow pickerel, is a freshwater perciform fish native to most of Canada and to the Northern United States. They are found in the Columbia, Willamette and Snake rivers. In the Willamette River, the walleye fishery is generally limited to the section downstream from Willamette Falls at Oregon City, although a few have been documented as far upstream as Dexter Dam. Walleye prefer large, clean and cold or moderately-warm lakes and rivers with sand or gravel bottoms. Large walleyes live almost exclusively on fish when they are available, but they will eat crayfish, frogs, snails and other items. Young fish feed on zooplankton, soon shifting to a variety of vertebrates and invertebrates.
  • 91/ 102
    Mountain sucker - (Catostomus platyrhynchus)

  • Photo Credit: Joseph Tomelleri
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 9-in. / Weight: less than 1-lb.
  • Threats: The main threats to the mountain sucker generally result from anthropogenic activities, with geographically isolated populations or those that previous anthropogenic activities have adversely affected being the most susceptible to extirpation. Habitat loss due to stream impoundment has been the cause of mountain sucker population declines in some drainages, while habitat degradation from increased sedimentation has also contributed to observed declines in others. Construction of passage barriers, such as dams and culverts, results in population and habitat fragmentation, leaving populations vulnerable to extirpation. Although less well understood, the introduction of non-native fishes also appears to threaten mountain sucker populations, primarily through increased predation, but also via increased competition. Hybridization may be a concern for some populations.

  • While suckerfish in general live in a variety of habitats, the mountain sucker tends to favor clear water streams with a moderate gradient, with widths of 3 to 15 m and depths of less than 2 m, and rocky or gravelly bottoms. Although not exclusive to high elevations, they often live in cool mountain streams (thus the common name), being found as high as 2,800 m, and in waters just above freezing temperatures. Within a stream, they are found in pools or eddies behind or under rocks and logs. Spawning occurs during late spring to early summer, when the waters are between 10.5 to 18.8 degrees Celsius. They move into smaller streams, where they spawn over gravel riffles upstream from quiet pools. They are mainly herbivorous, feeding on algae and diatoms.
  • 92/ 102
    Mosquitofish - (Gambusia affinis) *

  • Photo Credit: Chris Branam
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 2.8-in. / Weight: up to 3-oz.
  • Threats: Gambusia consume much more than mosquito larvae, including native fish, amphibians, invertebrate insects and zooplankton, In western Oregon, many of the native fish, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates such as dragonflies consumed by Mosquitofish ironically also prey on mosquito larvae.

  • Mosquitofish, also known as Gambusia, are small predatory fish, introduced into Oregon from the eastern and southeastern United States to help control mosquitos. Because mosquitofish are not native to Oregon, state law only allows them to be placed in artificial or human-made self-contained waterbodies, such as aquariums, livestock troughs and ornamental ponds that are not fed or drained by natural waterways. Natural waterbodies, such as ponds, streams, rivers or lakes or other waterbodies that may be flooded are legally off limits for mosquitofish. However, they are now found to have either migrated out of their confined water bodies or to have been illegally released into natural water bodies such as the lower Willamette River and its associated wetlands.
  • 93/ 102
    Channel catfish - (Ictalurus punctatus) *

  • Photo Credit: Ryan Somma - Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to over 4-ft. / Weight: up to 40-lbs.
  • Threats: Channel catfish prey on juvenile salmon and steelhead.

  • In Oregon, the channel catfish is documented to have been introduced into the Willamette River near Salem in 1893. This true catfish can readily be identified from the more common bullhead catfish as it is the only member of the family which has a deeply forked tail. The color is silver-gray with numerous black spots over the body. Channel catfish in western Oregon are limited to the Columbia River, lower Willamette River, and a few ponds in the Willamette Valley. While they prefer clear lakes and streams, they can tolerate moderately muddy water if food is abundant. They are predatory opportunists. Included in their diet are fish and frogs, either alive or dead, insects, plant material, crayfish, worms, or snails. Channel catfish are found near cover such as debris, logs, cavities, boulders and cut banks in the warmest parts of lakes and rivers. They seek cavities near shore, usually in 6 to 12 feet of water, in which to spawn when the water temperature reaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The eggs are deposited in gelatinous masses and will number from 2,000 to 15,000 per female, depending on size. In rivers, adult channel catfish are found in the larger pools and deeper holes. Channel catfish are most active in late evening, but feed during the daylight hours more than other catfish species.
  • 94/ 102
    Western terrestrial garter snake - (Thamnophis elegans)

  • Photo Credit: David Bronson ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3.3-ft.
  • Threats: The Western terrestrial garter snake is threatened by urban development, wetland habitat loss, fragmentation of habitat by development and roads, agricultural development, dredging of waterways, disturbance by recreational activities, pesticides, poaching, overgrazing, and predation by owls, hawks, herons, bitterns, rails, turkeys, crows, jays, robins, dogs, cats, mink, otter, skunks, raccoons, opossums, foxes, shrews, nonnative bullfrogs, and nonnative invasive fish.

  • This species is found in a variety of habitats. To make matters more confusing, four subspecies are found in Oregon, each of which has somewhat different habitat preferences. All can be found in moist areas such as marshes and lake or stream margins, but two may occur some distance from water. Courtship and mating occur primarily in spring, soon after emergence from hibernation, though late summer sexual activity has been observed in some parts of the range. In the mountains, newborn individuals first appear most often in August and early September; at lower elevations births sometimes occurs as early as mid-July. Litter size usually is fewer than 20. The diet varies among subspecies; the more aquatic forms feed on fish, frogs, tadpoles, and leeches, which are eaten in the water. Terrestrial forms take frogs and toads, but also lizards, small mammals, salamanders and slugs.
  • 95/ 102
    Rubber boa - (Charina bottae)

  • Photo Credit: Andrew Nydam - Photo License
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 2.2-ft.
  • Threats: Rubber boa is threatened by urban development, wetland habitat loss, fragmentation of habitat by development and roads, agricultural development, disturbance by recreational activities, pesticides, poaching, overgrazing, and predation by owls, hawks, herons, bitterns, rails, turkeys, crows, jays, robins, dogs, cats, mink, otter, skunks, raccoons, opossums, foxes, shrews, nonnative fish, and nonnative bullfrogs.

  • Generally this snake is found in or under rotting logs or stumps, under rocks or in crevices, or under leaf litter, the bark of dead fallen trees or in burrows. It is less tolerant of higher temperatures than other snake species and cannot inhabit areas that are too hot and dry. It can live in areas that are quite cold, but prefers areas that provide adequate warmth, moisture and prey. It is thought to maintain a relatively small home range as many individuals are often captured in the same area year after year, but individuals may occasionally migrate due to competition lack of prey, or other pressures. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration. They release a potent musk from their vent if they feel threatened. and are primarily nocturnal and probably crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) and they hibernate during winter months in underground dens. Rubber boas are very adaptable snake, being good climbers, burrowers and swimmers. Most activity occurs from March to November. They are constrictors and eat small mammals, especially young mice and shrews.
  • 96/ 102
    Pacific Gopher Snake - (Pituophis catenifer catenifer)

  • Photo Credit: Bill Bouton - Photo License
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 7-ft.
  • Threats: Ironically the very behavior of mimicary of rattlesnakes that is beneficial to this species against its natural predators, serves as a disadvantage when humans misidentify them as poisonous snakes and then go to extra efforts to destroy them.

  • Gopher snakes have a distinctive dark facial stripe that passes through both eyes. The Pacific Gopher Snake is found in the Willamette Valley and southwest Oregon. They are an oviparous species in which eggs are laid from June to August and hatch in 2 to 2.5 months. They are diurnal, though sometimes active at dusk and nocturnal during warm weather. They prefer drier habitats such as meadows, fields and agricultural farmland, and are seldom found in dense forests. Like other gopher snakes, the Pacific gopher snake can produce a loud hiss when agitated or fearful. When threatened, this species will inflate its body, flatten its head, and vigorously shake its tail, which may produce a rattling sound if done in dry vegetation. The Pacific gopher snake is carnivorous. Their diet consists of small mammals, notably pocket gophers; birds and their eggs; the occasional lizard and insect, and even bats.
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    Barred owl (Strix varia)

  • Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1.5-ft. / Weight: up to 1.8-1bs.
  • Threats: The barred owl is one of the most common owls in North America. Partners in Flight estimates that the barred owl may number up to 3 million individuals globally, making it the perhaps the second most numerous North American owl behind the great horned owl and perhaps slightly ahead of other commoner species like barn owls and northern saw-whet owls.

  • The Barred owl expanded its range from the eastern United States. It was first reported in Oregon in the early 1970s and has since spread to forested areas throughout most of the state. It adds additional stress through habitat and prey competition with the closely related but imperiled Northern spotted owl which has much more specialized and more exclusive Old-growth forest habitat requirements. Both species are similar in overall appearance and there have been observations of interspecies mating. The Barred owl is large with grayish-brown and white feathers and stripes on its chest and throat but the Northern spotted owl is distinguished by the pronounced horizontal barring across the throat and upper breast, and vertical brown streaks on the lower breast and abdomen. While both Barred and Northern spotted owls prefer Old growth forests as potential nest sites, Barred owls are less specialized and more readily adapt to a broader suite of habitat structural attributes, incuding but not limited to secondary forests.
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    Northern spotted owl - (Strix occidentalis caurina)

  • Photo Credit: John and Karen Hollingsworth - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - - ESA Threatened (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 1.5-ft. / Weight: up to 1-lbs.
  • Threats: There are fewer than 1,200 pairs in Oregon, 560 pairs in Northern California, and 500 pairs in Washington. Washington alone has lost over 90 percent of its old growth forest due to logging which has caused a 40 to 90 percent decline of the Northern Spotted Owl population.

  • The northern spotted owl primarily inhabits old growth forests in the northern part of its range, including most of Oregon. They nest in cavities or on platforms in large trees and will also use abandoned nests of other species. Northern spotted owls remain in the same geographical areas unless forced out from harsh conditions or lack of food. The northern spotted owl diet consists of small mammals, other birds, insects, and other prey. These prey are most nocturnal or active during the day and night, which corresponds to the primarily nocturnal nature of the northern spotted owl. The main species consumed by the northern spotted owl are northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus), woodrats (Neotoma fuscipes and N. cinerea), red tree voles (Arborimus longicaudus), western red-backed voles (Clethnonomys californicus), deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), and gophers (Thomomys spp.). Consumption of these small mammals varies by habitat region and proliferation of small nocturnal mammals. Recent invasion of barred owls (Strix varia) into the northern spotted owl range has resulted in decreased food availability due to overlap in dietary preferences. The northern spotted owl is intolerant of habitat disturbance. Each nesting pair needs a large amount of land for hunting and nesting.
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    California sea lion - (Zalophus californianus)

  • Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 8-feet / Weight: up to 1150-lbs.
  • Threats: California sea lions are frequently at risk to exposures to biotoxins resulting from harmful algal blooms, disease, entanglement in fishing gear, and human-caused injuries, often inflicted by fishermen who see the sea lions as a threat to their fishery. California and Steller sea lions are known to prey on salmon waiting to move up the fish ladders at Bonneville Dam and Willamette Falls and other pinch points. Since the 1990s, a small number of habituated male sea lions have consumed migrating fish at these locations, many from threatened and endangered runs protected under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Data shows that sea lions can consume significant numbers of fish each year.

  • During the breeding season, California sea lions gather on both sandy and rocky shores. On warm days, they lie closer to the water. At night or in cool weather, they travel farther inland or to higher elevations. Non-breeding individuals may gather at marinas, wharves, or even navigational buoys. California sea lions can also live in fresh water for periods of time, such as near Bonneville Dam, nearly 150 miles (240 km) up the Columbia River. California sea lions feed on a wide variety of seafood, mainly squid and fish, and sometimes clams. Commonly eaten fish and squid species include salmon, hake, Pacific whiting, anchovy, herring, rockfish, lamprey, dogfish, and market squid. They mostly forage near mainland coastlines, the continental shelf, and seamounts. They may also search along the ocean bottom. California sea lions may eat alone or in small to large groups, depending on the amount of food available. They sometimes cooperate with other predators, such as dolphins, porpoises, and seabirds, when hunting large schools of fish.
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    American mink - (Neogale vison)

  • Photo Credit: Dave Budeau Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 2-ft. / Weight: up to 7-lbs.
  • Threats: Predators that hunt for wild American minks are foxes, wolves, lynxes, otters, great horned owls and other birds of prey. Water diversion and similar projects can also threaten the mink environment.

  • The Mink is a semiaquatic species. The body is elongate and cylindrical, the legs are short and stout, the tail is bushy and about half as long as the head and body. The head is flattened, the ears small and rounded, and the nose is pointed. The pelage consists of dense grayish underfur and long lustrous guard hairs. Dorsally, it is dark brown to blackish but somewhat lighter on the venter. Mink like to live near water and are seldom found far from riverbanks, lakes, and marshes. Even when roaming, they tend to follow streams and ditches. Mink are very territorial. A male mink will not tolerate another male within his territory but appears to be less aggressive towards females. Generally, the territories of both male and female mink are separate, but a female's territory may sometimes overlap with that of a male. Their territories tend to be long and narrow, stretch along river banks, or around the edges of lakes or marshes. Territory sizes vary, but they can be several miles long. Female territories are smaller than those of males. Sometimes they leave the water altogether for a few hundred meters, especially when looking for rabbits, one of their favorite foods. Mink also prey on fish and other aquatic life, small mammals, birds, and eggs.
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    Pacific harbor seal - (Phoca vitulina)

  • Photo Credit: Bob Swingle ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 6-ft. / Weight: up to 285-lbs.
  • Threats: Harbor seals in Oregon belong to the Oregon/Washington coastal stock. The most recent estimate (1999) of the total stock was 16,165 animals . The stock is not listed as "endangered" or "threatened" under the ESA nor as "depleted" or "strategic" under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972.

  • Harbor seals are the most commonly observed pinniped (seal or sea lion) seen in Oregon. They haul-out to rest at low tide on sand bars in most bays and estuaries along the Oregon coast. They are also found on nearshore rocks and islands usually within 3 miles of the coast. Harbor seals have a gray or black spotted coat. The males and females are approximately the same size: about 5 to 6 feet in length and between 200 and 300 pounds when full grown. In Oregon, pups are born in late March through April. Pups weigh about 10 pounds and they can swim at birth. Females are mature at around age 4 and give birth to one pup each year. Females leave their pups at haul-outs or along sandy beaches while searching for food. Pups are weaned (stop nursing) at about 4 weeks and then begin feeding on their own. Remember, never pick up or handle a seal pup or any other marine mammal you find at the beach. Harbor seals, while common and abundant throughout coastal Oregon, are relatively rare and inconspicuous visitors to upriver sites such as Willamette Falls.
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    North American River Otter - (Lontra canadensis)

  • Photo Credit: Pat Matthews ODFW
  • Protected Status (In Focal Area) - IUCN Species of Least Concern (Lower Columbia River).
  • Length: up to 3.6-ft. / Weight: up to 30-lbs.
  • Threats: The North American river otter is not currently declining at a rate sufficient for a threat category.

  • The River otter is adapted for both terrestrial and aquatic environments. The heavily muscled, somewhat cylindrical body is thickest at the thorax and tapers posteriorly to a thick, flattened tail. The body tapers to a blunt and slightly flattened head. The legs are short and powerful; and the toes are webbed. The eyes are small, forwardly directed and set high on the head. The underfur is grayish, short, and dense, and overlain by longer, stiff and shiny guard hairs. The dorsum is brown and the venter a lighter brown or tan; the lower jaw and throat are whitish. In Oregon, River otters are mostly found west of the Cascade Range but have been found in eastern Klamath County and in Deschutes, Wallowa, and Malheur counties. The River otter is associated with river, lake, pond or marsh habitats, but may make extensive overland excursions from one such habitat to another. River otters are considered among the more social members of the mustelidae family. Fish are the primary component of the North American river otter's diet throughout the year. However, as opportunistic foragers, they are also known to take advantage of other prey when readily obtainable. Other prey consumed by North American river otters includes fruits, aquatic plants, reptiles, amphibians, birds (most especially moulting ducks which render the birds flightless and thus makes them easier to capture), aquatic insects, small mammals, and mollusks.
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    * Nonnative Invasive Species

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    Application Author: John Marshall