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  • 19 Dec 2014

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  • 20 Dec 2014

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Celebrate the official Portland bird

The Great Blue Heron stabs big fish with its thin but dangerous beak, swallowing them whole down its S-shaped neck. In the 19th century, they were hunted for their beautiful blue plumes to decorate ladies' hats.

This week, Portland is celebrating the 28th-annual Great Blue Heron Week hosted by the Audubon Society of Portland, the Urban Greenspaces Institute and partners in the Intertwine Alliance. Since the Portland City Council adopted the Great Blue Heron as the official city bird in 1986, Portland has worked to maintain healthy natural and built environments for the bird to continue living here.

On Wednesday night, May 28, Audubon invites people to a happy hour at Tanner Springs Park, N.W. 10th Ave. and Northrup, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Greenworks landscaping architects will share information about the park's design, and the osprey and the great blue heron who sometimes live there.

Throughout the week, events include exploring bird life at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and along the Willamette River, cycling along the south shore of the Columbia River, a paddle to Ross Island, a stewardship mulch and a Ladybug Walk for kids. Check out the full list of the week's celebrations.

The 27th-annual Ross Island Regatta will close the week on Sunday, June 1, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring your canoe or kayak to the Willamette Park boat ramp to enjoy a morning on the river with a restoration ecologist and representatives from the Audubon Society, Urban Greenspaces Institute and Portland Parks and Recreation.

To rent a boat, visit Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe or the Portland Kayak Company. Learn about the future of Ross Island, the Holgate Channel and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge while exploring the slow/no wake zone.

Julia Rogers can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow me on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.