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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment July 22, 2018

10/24/2017 12:54:00 PM
2018 Oregon bird calendars available
Doug Beall shot the photo of puffins at Cannon Beach that is now the cover photo for a fundraising provided
+ click to enlarge
Doug Beall shot the photo of puffins at Cannon Beach that is now the cover photo for a fundraising provided

By Helen Schmidling

The 2018 "Oregon Wings and Feathers" calendar is now available. Wildlife photographer Douglas Beall has assembled this year's calendar from his favorite photographs of birds taken in the past year. Beall photographs and writes the Sisters Country Birds feature for The Nugget.

Beall, who lives in Camp Sherman, is donating the proceeds of sales to Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center, a nonprofit organization that provides injured and orphaned animals a second chance at life, and promotes the wellbeing of wildlife through public outreach, education, and involvement. The calendar, which sells for $16, is available at Sisters Gallery & Frame Shop and Paulina Springs Books, both on West Hood Avenue in Sisters. They can also be ordered by emailing For those in the Salem area, calendars are available at Coppercreek Mercantile, Birds Unlimited, Ace Hardware South and Affordable Framing.

A clear Oregon blue sky backs this year's cover image, tufted puffins (Fratercula cirrhata), shot at Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast. The tufted puffin is a dramatic bird, black with a white facial patch and brilliant orange-red bill. Yellow tufts appear as the summer reproductive season approaches.

There's some question as to whether the tufted puffin should be listed as an endangered species, Beall commented. In recent years, he's witnessed the population at Haystack Rock drop from around 300 to around 60. It's been dryer during this year's spring and summer, and when the puffins clean their burrows, they flip out the dirt with their feet, causing the dirt to fall to the base of the rock and out to sea. In addition, their food supply is down, and they have to fly farther out to sea to get food.

"There are a lot of puffins in Alaska, but they, and the common murres (Uria aalge), appear threatened on the Oregon Coast," he said.

He's seen murres, which dive down 80 to 100 feet in the ocean to get food, washing up on the beach.

January's bird is a horned lark (Eremophila alpestris). Beall photographed this bird right here in Sisters last winter on one of our tall snow banks, as it had flown in searching for food. The specific name, alpestris, means "of the high mountains." There are 42 subspecies of horned lark, many of them found in Oregon.

Be sure to observe National Bird Day, January 12, and National Hugging Day, January 21. These and other obscure holidays are noted on the calendar.

February is mating season, and February's birds are male and female Western bluejays (Aphelocoma californica). This is the California scrub-jay, easy to distinguish from Steller's jays, because they are crestless. They're found in backyards from Washington to Baja California.

A dramatic shot of a short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) is in your face for March. Beall found a mating pair at Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. The ear tufts are indeed short, but this medium-sized owl's most dramatic features are its black-rimmed, brilliant yellow eyes. When March roars in like a lion, you can celebrate Whuppity Scoorie Day, a traditional Scottish holiday observed with a race around the local church, gifts of small coins, and storytelling.

Beall captured a flight of five black-necked stilts (Himantopus mexicana) in the April shot. This species is distinguished from other stilts by the white spot above the eye. These migratory birds, with their bright pink legs, fly as far south as Baja California. Take note, Easter and April Fool's Day are the same date this year.

May's preening bird is a female mallard (Anus platyrhynchos). Beall said she flew right up to the pond on his property, but she has never had a drake with her. "She just preens and visits," he said. Perhaps you can commemorate your favorite bird on Limerick Day, May 12.

Perched atop a bunch of juniper berries is June's bird, a Bullock's oriole (Icterus bullockii). They are a bird of summer in the Western U.S., flying off to Mexico for the winter. Beall said this one was actually picking worms, not berries, from the juniper branch. June 9 is a good time to celebrate Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie Day.

July's rufous hummingbird (Selasphorous rufus) is the feistiest hummingbird in North America. They can go after larger birds that threaten to outbid them at your hummingbird feeder. They eat insects as well as nectar. Fly as fast as a hummingbird to celebrate Day of the Cowboy on July 28, and National Mutt Day, July 31.

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferous) is a shore bird you can see (August calendar) without going to the ocean. Look for them running across golf courses, athletic fields, even parking lots. They run in spurts, stopping to check for insect prey. These tawny birds have a distinctive "kill-deer" call. You can also stop to celebrate Lemon Meringue Pie Day, August 15, and A Man's Best Friend Dog Day,

August 26.

The cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) shown on September's calendar, eats mainly fruit. It's a gorgeous collection of soft tan and blue-gray with a dramatic eye mask, yellow tail tips and brilliant red wax droplets on the wing feathers. The name "waxwing" comes from these waxy red secretions, which may be a mating device.

Three wood ducks (Aix sponsa) are perfectly mirrored in the October calendar image. This appears to be a female, male, and juvenile, in what's referred to as the "eclipse plumage," the male having lost his brilliant stripes, but retaining his red eye and beak.

Turn to November for (what else) three Merriam's turkeys (Mealaegris gallopavo). Merriam's turkeys were historically found in the ponderosa pine forests of Colorado, New Mexico, and northern Arizona. They have been transplanted into the ponderosa pine forests of Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, and as far east as Nebraska and North Dakota. Beall found this trio up around Jack Creek. Take stock - Guy Fawkes is November 5; and Mark Twain's Birthday, November 30.

The calendar year winds up with a photograph of the sweet house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). We had a lot of snow last December, but Beall found finches living in trees that did not have much snow. Reach outside the box to celebrate Gazpacho Day on December 6 and Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, December 15.

More avian and wildlife photographs are available at Beall's website, http://abird

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Article comment by: Mary Ann Kruse

I find the article on Douglas Beall's 2018 calendar details less than transparent. The Camp Sherman wildlife photographer is promoting a Willamette Valley wildlife center, however, Turtle Ridge's location--an important fact for would-be contributors, newspaper readers, calendar purchasers--is entirely missing in your article. Salem's Turtle Ridge provides absolutely no services to Sisters or Central Oregon birds & wildlife. Besides our very busy Sisters & Central Oregon rescue & rehab facilities lacking any promotion from this otherwise very local arrangement, the assumed premise is that Turtle Ridge is local with the calendar being sold locally.

What needs to be made entirely clear to your readership is that Turtle Ridge is located in Salem & provides no services in Sisters or Central Oregon.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

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