Fall is here and that means the animal kingdom is busy preparing for the cold, rainy days to come. The air is filled with migrating birds and animals scurry across every field in a search of food and shelter before winter weather casts its shadow across the Pacific Northwest. It’s a great time to observe animals, and few places in Portland are better to witness this annual event than North Portland’s Sauvie Island.
Recently, I crossed the Sauvie Island Bridge and headed to the 12,000-acre, state-owed Sauvie Island Wildlife Area, which is home to over 250 species of animals. In the pastures, marshes and along the waterways of the park you’ll find large birds, like bald eagles, herons and wild turkey. The day I visited the park their warbling calls could be heard across a great distance, yet close enough to capture them with a zoom lens.
In the fall the entire island becomes a beautiful orange, yellow and red blanket of leaves. The fields at the active U-Pick farms, like Bella Organic and Kruger Farms, are filled with piles of pumpkins brought in from the fields. Many of the farms have family activities going on throughout the year, such as petting zoos, corn mazes, and Fall festivals.
Sauvie Island Wildlife Area is open to the public with the purchase of a $7 day pass, and there is restricted access during hunting season and spring. Fishing is allowed and picnic spots and trails dot the park where they won’t conflict with the needs of the wildlife. Pack in your water because you won’t find many places to replenish, and the restrooms are primitive.