02 August 2011 TAKE REFUGE: Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Posted by: James Randolph | Leave a comment | Share: A wood duck's brightly colored plumage makes it easy to spot. Tualatin means “lazy river” to the Atfalati, an American Indian tribe that flourished along the river’s bank in northern Oregon until the mid-1800s. But the apt name also seems to jive with modern-day Portland’s hippie vibe. Today, the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, situated some 15 miles away from the city’s hustle and bustle, offers downtown urbanites a chance to chillax and enjoy nature. The 2,000-acre refuge also provides a much needed respite for many a feathered friend journeying along the Pacific flyway from Patagonia in South America to Alaska. Large flocks of Canada geese, northern pintails and mallards can be observed feeding. While some birds take a quick pit stop here, others stay on the refuge to nest in the mix of forest, grassland and wetland habitats. What to Do At the new Wildlife Center, visitors can learn about the region’s rich history. The center has indoor and outdoor viewing areas, a nonprofit nature store, and plenty of exhibits to discover more about the lands and animals. Wildlife here comes and goes with the seasons. In spring, yellowthroats and other songbirds serenade in chorus. In summer, breeding wood ducks make homes in hollow trees and logs near the water. Then, during fall and winter when the river overflows into the grasslands, several new plants and animals arrive. Bald eagles become regular visitors feeding on the abundance of small waterfowl and rodents. And rarer critters, such as the Peregrine falcon and the western pond turtle, can also be spotted on the refuge. Hiking trails meander along breathtaking views of the refuge. Deer, beaver, coyote and playful river otters are also a common sight. Photographers can take great landscape shots from elevated parking areas, and there are plenty of overlooks along the trails to capture wildlife in action. Be sure to check out the information kiosk before hiking to learn about which animals to watch for. And don’t forget to bring binoculars along. For the community and the Fish and Wildlife Service, restoring and protecting the native habitats and fish and wildlife along the river basin is the refuge’s primary purpose. To prevent disturbing these creatures, biking is prohibited along the trails. The refuge is accessible by Tri-Met bus route 12 which drops visitors off right at the main entrance. With so much to see and learn, we doubt that you’ll feel all that lazy on your visit here. So take some time to answer the call of nature and TAKE REFUGE at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood, Oregon. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Washington Wolf Supporters Howl for Wolf Recovery & Oppose Stripping Federal Protections In advance of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to strip federal protection for most gray wolves in the contiguous 48 states, the Agency denied Washingtonians the opportunity to testify in opposition by refusing to hold a public hearing in the Pacific Northwest. This did not go over well in Washington! In fact, over 100 citizens decided to host their own hearing on Sunday December 15th to oppose stripping federal protections for gray wolves. Reaching out for wildlife in California The Lower Calaveras River, near Sacramento, is one of the most dramatically altered rivers in California, yet provides critical habitat to threatened fish and wildlife, including Fall Run Chinook Salmon and steelhead. Our California team works to teach the local community about the value of this river running through their neighborhood. Living with wildlife in the Southwest Our Living with Wildlife programs are based on the recognition that humans and wildlife occupy a shared landscape and that we share the responsibility to resolve our conflicts. Through these partnership projects we hope to increase tolerance for critically endangered Mexican gray wolves in time to prevent their extinction, and do so in a way that encourages cooperation, leadership and respect for the ecological restoration that scientists say will accompany these wolves’ recovery.