By Dusty Trails
Here’s a hint from a local: if we see you pulled over taking a picture of a deer on your smartphone, we will automatically assume you’re a tourist. That’s because we see deer so often here that many of us take it for granted. But regardless of how long you’ve lived here, both tourists and locals can appreciate the abundance and diversity of wildlife that Central Oregon has to offer.
Walking around Tripleknot and the environs of Tetherow, you’re likely to notice woodpeckers, flickers, hummingbirds, and other wild birds darting everywhere. If you’re lucky, you might get a robin’s nest with babies right in front of your dining room window. Squirrels and chipmunks chase each other in the trees. In addition to deer, herds of elk are not uncommon. But you’re much more likely to spot herds of toned, spandex-clad creatures zooming across the landscape (cyclists is the technical term). In the evening, watch for porcupines and raccoons among the Ponderosas, and listen for the hoot of owls or even coyotes in the distance.
Drive down to the Old Mill along Bond Street this time of year and you’ll probably see some rock chucks scurrying around on the grass by the road. Baby ducks and geese are learning to swim in Mirror Pond and on the Deschutes. In the tree tops above the river, ospreys and occasionally bald eagles can be seen tending their nests and getting ready for the eggs to hatch.
If you want to see some of the more rare wildlife in the area, head down to the High Desert Museum, just 5 minutes outside of town on Highway 97. There, you will find a plethora of native animals, including birds of prey, adorable sea otters, not-so-adorable snakes, in addition to interesting and interactive exhibits about the history of Central Oregon.
We are incredibly lucky to live in an area as rich with wildlife as Bend is – so much so that we get used to seeing them all around town. Just watch out for those cyclists.