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Birds are big topic at this time of year

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Bird count, Owl Prowl and industrious eagles are all part of refuge visit

The eagles have landed

Staff and volunteers at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge have observed the bald eagles adding sticks to a new nest across the river from the refuge. As many of you may know, the eagles' old nest fell down a few months ago, but by then, the birds had already started building their new home. They now use the dead tree that held their old nest where they watched activity in the refuge.

Stop by the Wildlife Center the next time you visit when volunteers will show you, through a spotting scope, where the nest is located.

Christmas Bird Count

The refuge held its first Christmas Bird Count on Jan. 3, when 22 volunteers were divided into four teams, and the count for total bird species for the day was 94. The Christmas Bird Count was started in 1900 by Frank Chapman, who proposed counting birds rather than killing them. Hunting birds was a holiday tradition prior to 1900, when conservation was in its beginning stages.

The count is now the largest citizen science event in the U.S. with more than 75,000 participants.

Data collected by the observers is sent to the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University, which uses the information to study changes in bird populations and wintering ranges.

The Christmas Bird Count is combined with other surveys to provide a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed over the past 100 years. If you enjoy watching birds and want to help with research to protect their welfare, consider joining the Christmas Bird Count next year.

Owl Prowl

Join owl enthusiast Seth Winkelhake for Owl Prowl and learn about this fascinating bird Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. or Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Owls are outstanding hunters and remind us that nature is still very active after the sun goes down. Learn about the different owls that call the refuge home and their mysterious nocturnal lives. Explore their habitat and learn about their amazing adaptations for life at night.

Flashlights will be provided. For more information, email

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Tualatin River Photo Society

The Tualatin River Photo Society will meet Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. in the Wildlife Center Riparian Room; please enter by the side door.

At the meeting, a Frame Central employee will present an informative program on how to make your photographs stand out on your walls. The society is open to photographers at all skill levels with an interest in nature photography. The group offers learning and sharing opportunities with other photographers.

In addition, photo society members have a juried Winter Photo Show on display in the Riparian Room into March. Stop by the Wildlife Center during open hours and see these beautiful photographs. Subjects include birds, waterfalls, night sky and landscapes.

Puddle Stompers

Puddle Stompers' programs will be held Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Do you have a little one who enjoys being outdoors? Are you wondering what they can do during the rainy season? Bring your little naturalist to the refuge to stomp in puddles and learn to appreciate the wet weather that makes Oregon so green.

This preschool environmental-education program provides opportunities for children and their families to spend time learning about the natural wonders of the refuge. Volunteer naturalists will lead nature crafts, share stories and guide hikes on refuge trails.

The refuge supplies "froggy" raingear for the kids, but adults should bring their own. Each date offers a different theme, so Puddle Stompers participants are encouraged to visit on multiple days. The programs are free and open to the public, but registration is required. For more information, email HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-625-5944.

Second Saturday Work Party

A Second Saturday Work Party will be held Saturday, Feb. 12, from 8:45 a.m. to noon.

Want to get involved in restoration? Volunteers are needed to help remove tree tubes on a section of the refuge normally closed to the public. Meet at the refuge, 19255 S.W. Pacific Highway, Sherwood, at 8:45 a.m. to check in and go to the work site around 9 a.m.

Snacks and work gloves will be provided, and participants should wear sturdy shoes and pants, plan for cold weather and rain, and bring a water bottle. Email any questions to Habitat Restoration Specialist Sarah Williams at HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Volunteer naturalist trainings

Volunteer naturalist trainings will be held Thursdays, Feb. 23 and March 2, 9 and 16 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This is an opportunity to volunteer with the environmental education program and make a difference in your community for generations to come. During training, learn about the refuge history, local wildlife, environmental education methods, group management and more.

Volunteers help connect hundreds of visitors through school field trips and education programs. For more information and application, contact [email protected] tualatinrefuge.org or call 503-625-5944.