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The Cleanup Crew

Carrion beetles perform a much-needed service in the natural world
Did ya' ever think When the hearse goes by That some sweet day you're gonna die? They'll put you in a neat pine box And cover you over with soil and rocks Well, all goes well for about a week And then the pine box begins to creak The bugs crawl in, the bugs crawl out Into your stomach and out of your mouth And the worms play pinochle on your chin...

Winter Raptors

Birds of prey flock to Central Oregon to dine "al Rodentia" in winter
Driving through Central Oregon in winter, past agricultural fields or open sagebrush flats dotted with juniper, one is bound to notice hawks or eagles perched on powerline poles, fence posts, irrigation wheel lines—or perhaps soaring overhead. Birds of prey concentrate in the region due to an abundance of prey, including waterfowl, songbirds, rodents, carrion and small mammals.

Oh! Rats

Reflections on the deadliest pandemic recorded in human history
Several years ago, I heard a tragic story of a young child from Simnasho living on the Warm Springs Reservation who died from bubonic plague; it got a lot of people's attention. The story I heard was that her pet house cat killed and carried a Belding's Ground Squirrel into her home.

It's Sage-Grouse Hunting Season

State officials still allow hunters to grab Greater sage-grouse, despite their imperiled numbers
Some people just never "retire;" they just jump from one job to another. (Editor's note: Case in point: Jim Anderson, who penned this piece despite announcing his "retirement" from this column!)

The New Ambassador

A new Eurasian eagle-owl is turning heads at the Sunriver Nature Center
There is no larger owl on the European continent than the Eurasian Eagle-owl, Bubo bubo. You have to travel several thousand miles to see one in the wild.

Trumpeting a Success Story

The happy swan family of Aspen Lake
Good news, swan lovers, and those who believe in private landholders helping species at risk. There are now more wild Trumpeter Swans to go into the breeding pool.

Start 'Em Young

Bend Forest School now open for kids' exploration
Start 'em out young and not only will your life be blessed, but that adorable child of yours will go on into life knowing what the joy of learning is about — and especially with Nature. That's the goal of Rae Alberg and her team of instructors operating the Bend Forest School at — and all around — the Sunriver Nature Center, through a cooperative agreement with the Children's Forest of Central Oregon.

No Such Thing as a 'Free Lunch'

Observing the cycle of life among butterflies and wasps and birds
Just about everyone who reads, watches or listens to nature stories is familiar with the plight of monarch butterflies in the western U.S. Their numbers have dropped from millions to thousands in the last 20 years for a variety of reasons—mostly wrapped around habitat and their food plant, milkweed.

Beavers, Our Eager Aquifer Engineers

Like it or not, everyone who uses water is unknowingly depending on the dam-building talents of our North American Beaver
No matter how you look at the history of the Pacific Northwest, one native animal stands out in making Oregon what it is today: the North American Beaver. Yes, the same one we see on our state flag.

Invasion of the Giant Bee Snatchers

Invading "murder wasp" spells trouble
The Xerces Society, one of the leading worldwide insect conservation organizations, put on a four-hour Bumble Bee Atlas webinar a couple of weeks back. Right in the middle of it, the presenter, Professor Rich Hatfield, paused in his recitation on bumblebees and placed the illustration at right of the Asian giant wasp on the screen, saying:

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