The Oregon Coast has some excellent areas for tide pooling, which amazes and attracts visitors of all ages. Tide pooling is going out to rocky shores at low tides to touch and observe critters that live there.

During low tide, organisms that live in zones between the high and low tide are exposed from the water. They can be seen stuck to rocks or swimming and crawling in small tide pools of water. Some cannot withstand being exposed to air for very long. 

As tides go out, more delicate organisms will be visible. Therefore, it is important to track low tides and times before planning a tide pooling trip.

Resources

There are many resources for identifying wildlife in tide pools and along the beaches, such as ID guides found in bookstores or that can be printed online. In addition, some Oregon State Parks offer interpretive walks and other programs open to the public.

Guides

There are also opportunities to hire guides for tide pooling, such as Wavecrest Discoveries. By going tide pooling with a guide, you get much more out of the experience than just being able to identify different species. You also learn more about the area, hear additional stories about the organisms, and gain more information that you could never learn independently.

Giant Green Anemones and Sea Stars are reveled at lower tides. Photo by Susan Dimock

When tide pooling, it is important to wear proper footwear, as many of the rocks are went and covered with algae and can be very slippery. The marine layer can also lead to variable weather, so wearing multiple layers will provide the most comfort.

Rocks covered in kelp provide habitats for many species that are fun to look at. Photo by Justin Myers

For more information about tide pooling on the Oregon Coast, visit http://oregontidepools.org/. 

Crabbing on the Oregon coast? There’s a good chance that you’ll catch a Dungeness or a Red rock crab, two of the most commonly caught crab species.

In 2016, the Dungeness crab was the highest valued fishery in Oregon’s commercial fishing industry at $51.3 million. Red rock crabs are also commercially harvested but are not valued nearly as much in comparison to the larger Dungeness.

Identification

Dungeness and red rock crabs vary in their size, color, habitat, and behavior.

Dungeness crabs are best identified by looking for their large, white-tipped claws, ten carapace (the hard upper shell) spines, and a red-brown to purple coloration. They can grow to be eight-inches across their backs (or carapace).

Red rock crabs have black-tipped claws, a wide fan-shaped carapace, and are usually a dark red color. They are also a bit smaller than Dungeness crabs, usually measuring in at six inches across the upper shell.

Where Found

Dungeness crabs prefer the sandy and muddy areas of shallow lower estuaries. Even so, they are sometimes found in ocean depths of up to 2,000 feet. Red rock crabs tend to live in rockier habitats with higher salinity rates such as a larger estuary.

Next time you are out crabbing, keep an eye out for these two common crabs and make sure to follow harvesting regulations!

Photos:

http://www.farm-2-market.com/live-dungeness-crabs/

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/shellfish/crab/about_red_rock.asp

Info:

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/economic_impact.asp

http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Cancer_antennarius/

https://myodfw.com/articles/how-crab

It is hard to imagine the familiar Canada goose population in danger. But, in the past, Canada geese were almost wiped out in North America.

The population has rebounded to the point where Canada geese are Oregon’s most familiar bird. For some, they have become Oregon’s most familiar nuisance.

Canada Goose with goslings,
courtesy ODFW.

Not All the Same

There are 11 subspecies of Canada goose that vary in size and color. All have the same long, black neck and white chinstrap. Five of those species are available for harvest (See Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife for permit information.)

Territory & Habitat

Like other swans, ducks and geese, Canada’s are found on every continent and are common to Oregon. They congregate near water, such as reservoirs, lakes, ponds, large rivers, and native wetlands. They have overrun most Eastern native wetlands, including the National Wildlife Refuges created to protect the migratory populations and diversity.

In the past, most Canada Geese migrated to central and southern North America. Now more are resident and live in or near humans year around. The US FWS report that resident birds cause the most problems. Resident and migratory populations have separate breeding ranges and do not typically interbreed.

Diet

Canada Geese are one of the few bird species that can digest grass and primarily eat green vegetation. They also eat aquatic plants and grains, and fish and insects and will pick food off of the street and out of garbage cans.

They have become a serious pest parks, golf courses, farm fields, and airports. Not only can they damage crops but also foul pastures with waste. In addition to farm damage they provoke public nuisance complaints which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) says are increasing every year.

Raising Young

Goslings (or baby geese) are raised near water. Parents lead goslings to water shortly after being born (great photo opportunities!). After just one day the goslings can dive up to 40 feet under water for food. Goslings can dive or swim away to escape predators.

Canada Geese have oily feathers making them well adapted to swimming, floating, and diving.

Adults aggressively protect their young and will attack anything, including humans, that they perceive as a threat. These are large birds that can be up to 20 pounds, stand 30 to 45 inches, and have a wingspan up to 75 inches). Aggressive behavior can include vocalization, hissing, biting, chasing, and more.

When goslings have learned to fly and the parents have finished molting, the whole family will leave the nesting grounds and find more productive feeding areas. This usually occurs in the late summer before massive southward migrations begin.

Conflicts & Solutions

Sometimes these inappropriate feeding areas are near airports. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates there are 240 goose-aircraft collisions annually nationwide. Remember the 2009 US Airways flight 1549 that went down in the Hudson River? It was also traced to migratory birds.

Canada Geese are a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  A variety of management techniques may help deter the geese. Preventing public feeding, altering habitat, hazing, and other techniques have helped. Evidently, floating a silhouette of a nesting swan will deter the geese from an area.

Want more? See any of the excellent resources below.

REFERENCES:
–Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife (https://myodfw.com/wildlife-viewing/species/swans-ducks-and-geese and https://myodfw.com/game-bird-hunting/species/geese)
–All About Birds (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/canada-goose-resident-vs-migratory/)
–American Expedition! (https://forum.americanexpedition.us/canada-goose-information-facts-photos-and-artwork)
–Why do migrating Canada Geese sometimes fly in the “wrong” direction? (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/i-thought-geese-migrated-south-in-the-winter-and-north-in-the-summer-why-did-i-just-see-a-flock-of-canada-geese-flying-in-the-wrong-direction/
–Wikipedia, Canada Goose (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_goose)