Wild Birds of Bend
Along both banks, the fragile riparian zone has been retained as naturally as possible, with cattails and snags providing inviting retreats for birds. While shoppers walk by (and in the summer, river rafters float downstream), they seem oblivious to the natural wonders around them... the kingfisher on a tree branch just yards away, or the river otter frolicking nearby, or the great blue heron standing in the reeds inches from the shore.
Farther down river, city parks offer space for people and wildlife to meet. The Deschutes flows right through the middle of Bend, and is home to several swans, hundreds of mallards and geese, and an occasional bald eagle. Finches, sparrows and quail find refuge in the underbrush beside the river, while mergansers, ring-necked ducks, coots and buffleheads congregate in the shallows.
In the few months since I've started photographing all this wildlife, I've identified over thirty species of birds within a ten mile radius of Bend.
I was especially fortunate to photograph (at a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec.) some rufous hummingbirds as they tapped nectar from the blossoms of coyote tobacco (an alien species of wildflower that crops up only in disturbed areas) in a nearby landfill. Just days later, the whole area was bulldozed to prepare for residential expansion. Both the habitat and the hummingbirds are now gone.
Photo credits: Dana Kenneth Johnson.
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