Oregon Coast Officials: Quiet Sea Lions and Eagle Drama
(Oregon Coast) – Officials from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are noting some dramatic sights you may find near the beaches these days, as summer roars through at full speed. They're touting the “quiet sea lions” and spilling the beans on some wild interaction between birds right now.
ODFW said the state has a healthy population of Steller sea lions – so much so they were no longer listed as endangered awhile back.
While larger, they are much less boisterous than their cousin, the California sea lion. California sea lions and harbor seals are also more common and tolerant of people than the Steller sea lions, so you won't find these carousing on the Bayfront in Newport.
These creatures have haul-outs that are offshore, keeping them mostly out of sight. But you may get a bit luckier with binoculars if you check out the rocky cliffs just north of Florence or Three Arch Rocks at Oceanside.
ODFW said two sites – Cape Arago and the Sea Lion Caves – are accessible to Steller sea lion watchers.
In the realm of birds, bald eagles are seen attacking common murres about now, dive-bombing at nests the murres make on rocky headlands. Some 600,000 common murres return to each spring to Oregon’s wind-blown islands to raise their single chick.
Bald Eagles regularly try to eat them, and they cause a panic among murre colonies. As the murres flee to avoid the eagles, ravens, crows and gulls often swoop in to make a meal of murre eggs and chicks.
ODFW said great places for viewing this spectacle are Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area at Newport, Heceta Head State Park near Florence, Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint near Oceanside and Cannon Beach's Ecola State Park.
More about these areas below.
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