September 4 is National Wildlife Day! To celebrate we are looking at three wildlife species that have strong ties to our local waterways.
The great blue heron is the largest heron in North America, standing at four feet tall. It frequents marshes, lakes, streams, and the ocean. It can also be found hunting for food in dry fields and urban ponds and parks.
Osprey live along lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. They secrete a heavy oil that makes them virtually waterproof, since they are the only bird of prey that regularly dives into water. Osprey dive feet first down to 18 inches below the surface to catch a fish.
Beavers are Oregon’s state animal and the largest rodent in North America, weighing around 55 pounds. Beavers are highly adapted for aquatic life with a paddle-shaped tail, webbed feet, and valves that close their ears and nose for diving. They are powerful swimmers and build dams that create wetlands upstream.
You might be able to spot these local wildlife species in Salem parks such as Minto Brown Island Park, where there is an osprey nest. Find more information about Salem’s parks.