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Fall 2020 Issue

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Last Look: The nature right around me

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A CAREER DOCUMENTING WILDLIFE has taken Morgan Heim to exotic far-flung destinations, including the Himalayas, Thailand and Colombia. But when the pandemic forced the journalist and photographer to stay close to home this year, Heim discovered a fascinating world of wildlife bustled just outside her back door in Astoria, Ore.

Heim has identified more than 40 species of birds using her yard, a hilltop plot where the land transitions between forest and suburban development that is near water. She’s grown so familiar with certain recurring visitors that she’s named them. “I don’t think I realized how truly oblivious I was to the nature right around me, until now,” Heim says.

Here are photos of a handful of the birds and mammals Heim spotted and descriptions of them in her own words.

A deer stomps after another following what I can only describe as a childlike spat over a favorite toy. As I watched, one deer kicked the other while foraging from a bird feeder, prompting retaliatory kicks and a chase. But the two quickly went back to foraging in their respective spots.

A deer stomps after another following what I can only describe as a childlike spat over a favorite toy. As I watched, one deer kicked the other while foraging from a bird feeder, prompting retaliatory kicks and a chase. But the two quickly went back to foraging in their respective spots.

Battles erupt as more pine siskins try to fit at the feeder. The siskins are bold and confident birds for their delicate size and have been showing up in growing numbers.

Battles erupt as more pine siskins try to fit at the feeder. The siskins are bold and confident birds for their delicate size and have been showing up in growing numbers.

A California scrub-jay is the first bird to explore a new Audubon window feeder I’ve placed at the back of the house. The feeders help birds avoid collisions with windows by training them to see specific windows differently. When they approach the feeder, they slow down.

A California scrub-jay is the first bird to explore a new Audubon window feeder I’ve placed at the back of the house. The feeders help birds avoid collisions with windows by training them to see specific windows differently. When they approach the feeder, they slow down.

Life imitating art over here. This is a California ground squirrel we call Clementine who forages from the feeders and around the yard. And who says you can’t use fancy techniques in not-fancy settings? Go ahead and set up a camera trap in the backyard and let the fun begin.

Life imitating art over here. This is a California ground squirrel we call Clementine who forages from the feeders and around the yard. And who says you can’t use fancy techniques in not-fancy settings? Go ahead and set up a camera trap in the backyard and let the fun begin.

October 5th, 2020|Tags: , |