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Family Planning: For a pair of Canada geese, child care is relatively simple — food (clover and grass) is plentiful and it’s free. There’s no worries about clothing, pink or blue, as your toddlers are born with all-weather gear. And, there’s no messy diapers. Look for Canada geese and their “low-maintenance” young throughout Ladd Marsh and the surrounding wetlands. JIM WARD photo
Time for swimming lessons
Waterfowl using the area include Canada goose, snow goose, greater white-fronted goose, northern pintail, American wigeon, ring-necked duck, mallard, gadwall, cinnamon teal, green-winged teal, northern shoveler and at least a few Eurasian wigeon. Shorebirds have included killdeer, black-necked stilt, greater yellowlegs and others.
Local sandhill cranes are nesting and a few have hatched. Soon the young may be visible as they feed in meadows with their parents. A spotting scope or quality binoculars are important as the meadows are closed to entry and viewing is from the viewpoint or county roads. There are also small groups of non-breeding sandhill cranes using the wildlife area. Cranes can be seen from county roads in several locations. Please report any sandhill cranes wearing leg bands to the Ladd Marsh staff (541-963-4954). If possible, note the color and order of bands on each of the bird’s legs (e.g., pink above white on left leg; silver above black on right leg). The specific combination and order can identify individual birds.
Bewick’s wren, black-capped chickadee, western meadowlark, savannah sparrow and song sparrow are singing. Red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds are claiming territories and swallows can be seen over nearly every body of water on the marsh. Common yellowthroats have returned and are singing their witchy-witchy-witchy song all over the area.
Red-tailed hawks are sitting in their nests in several locations And the Swainson’s hawks are claiming nests sites and beginning to build. Osprey have returned and can be seen hunting over ponds on and near Ladd Marsh.
Waterfowl species such as Canada geese and mallards can be observed on Wallowa Lake and throughout the valley feeding in agricultural fields.