Smith Rock Has Some Tough Birds


March 15, 2019

When rumors circulated that the parents of the Bald and Golden Eagles had abandoned their nests with the big snow the park got in February, we reached out to Park Management. While former Smith Rock State Park Naturalist David Vick retired last year, that hasn’t stopped him from caring how nesting season is going.

David Vick, avid birder in his natural habitat.

David Vick, avid birder in his natural habitat.

David stopped by Smith Rock on the way home from his birding activities in Powell Butte for the East Cascades Audubon Society last Sunday, March 10. He was relieved to see both the Bald and Golden Eagle nests had adults in incubation position (sitting on the eggs to keep them warm to hatch.) He had thought for sure that they would both fail early, as they had started to incubate just before the “snowmaggeddon” hit. 

They were also on nests late Friday afternoon (March 8) when for the second time he saw a peregrine on top of Ship Rock after not having seen a single one all winter.  As we detailed on the Seasonal Closures page, the male of that pair died last spring and the female died in the fall.  David thinks it would be awesome if this bird recruits a mate, as do many of the park’s bird watchers.

When he and another bird enthusiast, Chris Scranton, did a raptor survey on the 17th of February, they observed the male Bald Eagle switch incubation duty with the female who then apparently turned the egg(s).  We join David in hoping for the best—time will tell. And we’ll tell you.

“Keeping the eggs warm.” image courtesy of Jack Wills, from a warmer Spring.

“Keeping the eggs warm.” image courtesy of Jack Wills, from a warmer Spring.

Peregrine Falcon atop Ship Rock. Image courtesy of Ian Caldwell.

Peregrine Falcon atop Ship Rock. Image courtesy of Ian Caldwell.