Animals Articles

Volunteers conducting sea star observations.

Citizen Scientists Help Track Sea Star Populations

Volunteers conducting sea star observations.\Photo by Fawn Custer. Sea stars are keystone species in intertidal ecosystems. Through their predation, they structure rocky shoreline habitats. Monitoring the status of sea star populations is therefore important in understanding the health of intertidal communities—and all the more essential in the wake of the “sea...Read more
Photo of Western Snowy Plover with chick by Mick Thompson.

CoastWatchers Monitor Snowy Plover Nesting Sites

Sign marks snowy plover protected area.\Photo courtesy of OPRD. Nesting season has begun for the threatened Western Snowy Plover, the only resident shorebird that nests on the Oregon coast. Signs are going up, warning beachgoers about the presence of plovers. CoastWatchers can help by carefully observing restrictions on beach use to protect the nesting birds,...Read more

Comment on Whale Entanglement

Gray whale at Depoe Bay.\Photo by Rena Olson. Whale entanglement in fishing gear is a global problem. It is a problem off the U.S. West Coast, including Oregon. Fishery gear entanglement is a direct human cause of harm and mortality to cetaceans. Oregon Dungeness crab fishing gear has been found to be a major source of entanglements. Most such entanglements go...Read more

Oregon Shores Joins Defense of Endangered Species Act

Western Snowy Plovers at South Beach.\Photo by Molly Sultany. Oregon Shores joined 45 other ocean conservation groups recently in protesting an attempt by the Trump administration to cripple the Endangered Species Act, with new definitions of “habitat” which would severely limited the law’s effectiveness. To see our joint comment,...Read more

BioBlitzes in a New Format Coming up in July

Fawn Custer (kneeling), CoastWatch's citizen science trainer, leads a BioBlitz at Cascade Head. A BioBlitz is an intensive survey of a defined area with the goal of identifying all the species to be found in that area at one time, generally involving members of the public assisted by experts. It is a snapshot of biodiversity. In past years, coastal...Read more

Orca Awareness Month Declared in Oregon

For 13 years, June has been proclaimed Orca Awareness Month by the Governor of Washington — and for the first time in 2016, Orca Awareness Month was celebrated in Oregon and in British Columbia as well! The American Cetacean Society’s Oregon Chapter kicked things off early with an Orca Awareness Day at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Any community group, science center, non-profit...Read more
Snowy Plover chicks.\Photo by Adam Kotaich.

Snowy Plover Nesting Period Ends

Snowy Plover chicks.\Photo by Adam Kotaich. Beachgoers assist the ongoing effort to restore healthy populations of the threatened Western Snowy Plover to Oregon’s beaches by respecting nesting areas and beach restrictions during nesting season, March 15 through Sept. 15. Signs and ropes that identify sensitive western snowy plover nesting areas have gone up now...Read more
Snowy Plover exclusion area.  Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

Snowy Plover Restrictions Still in Effect

Snowy Plover exclusion area. Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service. Beachgoers are urged to help recovery efforts of the threatened Western Snowy Plover by respecting nesting areas and beach restrictions. These regulations went into effect for the year on March 15, and while most of the nesting season is over, the regulations remain in force through Sept. 15...Read more
Sea pickles off the coast of Oregon.

Sightings: ‘Sea Pickles’ Wash Ashore in the Pacific Northwest

Pyrosomes off the west coast of America. | Photo from University of Oregon Mysterious translucent creatures are washing ashore along the western shores of North America. Known as “sea pickles” -- the scientific name is pyrosomes -- these creatures are made up of a colony of individual zooids. A zooid is a tiny multicellular organism that makes up part of a...Read more