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Our Wild Friends

The Rund Woodlands is home to numerous groups of wildlife.  Below is a work in progress, to identify and log the wild friends we welcome into the Woodlands, in an effort to preserve their species. 


Black Tail Deer

The Woodlands are home to several families of Black-tailed deer, who are often smaller and darker than mule deer. As their name suggests, they have a wide, triangular tail with a dark brown or black top and a white underside.  As an edge-adapted species, they use the Woodlands dense forest cover to hide during the day and graze through the more open areas of tall grass to feed at dawn and dusk. The mix of forested areas in age offers the best habitat for black-tailed deer.  



Roosevelt Elk

We recently caught some amazing pictures of two young elk mating on in the Woodlands and we are pretty excited about it. “Rosies” are one of the two subspecies of elk in Oregon.  Of the two, they are are darker in color than other elk subspecies and the largest in terms of body size, with bulls generally weighing 700-1,100 pounds.


They can be found in most of western Oregon, with concentrations in the Cascade and Coast ranges. ODFW says all elk west of Hwy 97 are Roosevelt elk, though there is some overlap of Oregon’s two subspecies in the Cascades.  They enjoy the thick and lush forests and brush areas that blend into the Woodlands. 

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Image by Priscilla Du Preez


(Mountain Lions)

We have found Cougar sign in the Woodlands, but have yet to have an actual sighting.  The area has been identified as being with the radius for other sightings, and the food source would be sufficient, leading us to believe they do visit on occasion. 

Cougars are the largest members of the cat family found in the state.  Their primarily food source is deer, but they will also consume elk, raccoons, goats, and other mammals and birds. Cougars are territorial animals and maintain home ranges of up to 100 miles. Most active at dawn and dusk, cougars are lone hunters. They are generally solitary animals, except for mothers who remain with kittens for about two years. A cougar can be identified by its large size, cat-like appearance, consistent tan or tawny body color, and long tail. An adult cougar's tail is nearly three feet long and a third to a half of its total length. Cougar tracks can be differentiated from dog tracks by paying attention to detail.

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The coyote is a typical canid intermediate in size between the foxes and the gray wolf.  We have seen sign, such as tracks and scat, as well as heard the "yipping" and barking noises.  Having grown up around coyotes, we know they come in an array of colors, gray, tan, red, or brown, and any mix of those colors, with often with sable tipping.  

They hang out towards the treeline of the grasslands at the edge of the private timber to the North of the Woodlands.  They come down into the woodlands for small game and water sources. 

Image by Caleb Woods

Gray Fox


The gray fox is one of the smaller canids in Oregon.

Typically grizzled gray, with stiff middorsal hairs having long black tips that extend down the tail like a black mane. Banded white, gray, and black, their undersides are white with a cinnamon border.

We see the gray fox briefly during daylight hours, scurrying off to a ground dens nearby.  They enjoy the hollow logs, and blackberry dens on the Woodlands.  They have been known to climb trees to escape pursuit, to forage, and to rest, so the woodlands should provide them a habitat in which they can thrive.  

Red Fox

The beautiful red fox has an orange-red coat, black feet, and black-tipped ears. The belly is usually white or light grey.  They also are seen rarely, usually in the early morning hours.    The Woodlands provide a vast array of their diet.  They are opportunistic carnivores, eating what is available including small mammals, birds and their eggs, reptiles, amphibians, fruit and some insects. The red fox is territorial and mates for life.  

Image by Linnea Sandbakk
Image by Chris Ensminger


Common Racoon

The Common Racoon is regularly seen around the woodlands, specifically in the evening.  They find the wooded areas and the water courses suitable for habitation, and find a variety of food options throughout the Woodlands.  We don’t leave out pet food or garbage cans in an effort to not deter them from their natural food sources. 


Brush Rabbit

The brush rabbits stay mostly in the extremely dense brush that is spread throughout the Woodlands.  They create runways that intertwine and connect to and surround grassy areas. 

We rarely see our furry little friends, but if you look through the brush towards the ground, you can sometimes find them towards the south west area of the Woodlands. 


Eastern Cottontail

This rabbit was introduced into Benton County in 1937 and into Linn County in 1941 from Ohio and Illinois. Since then Eastern cottontails have spread at least through the mid-Willamette Valley. They love the large clumps of blackberries around the  white oak, blended throughout grasses within the Woodlands.



Western Gray Squirrel

These squirrels are not shy, and often curios.  They enjoy the forested areas of the Woodlands and often hurry out to beat the birds at gathering food.  They are associated with forest communities and often use the same tunnels and trails as their rabbit counterparts. 

The Western Gray Squirrel is is an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species

Townsend's Chipmunk

This chipmunk is dark and dull with a dark brown to blackish stripe and alternate light and dark stripes.  The throat, belly, and a patch behind the ear are white. The tail is black on the tip and the margins are frosted above with buff or white-tipped hairs.  They can be found in old-growth forests or clear-cut areas. They tend to be more shy than others and are heard more than they are seen. When active, they tend to stay in the brush of vegetation, only seen when they are sitting on a stump, log, or low branch.  


Deer Mouse

The Deer Mouse is easily identifiable, even with their variation in color, tail length and markings. In general, they are buff to dark brown on the dorsum and white on the venter. The ears are moderately long, essentially naked and usually held erect and directed forward. The eyes are black and beady.  They live just below the tree line and seem to be nocturnal for the most part.  They nests in trees, burrows in the ground, crevices in rocks, and a variety of other places they can squeeze into.  We often find that they nest in communal areas. 




Western Fence Lizard

The Western fence lizard enjoys a range of habitats, from desert canyons and grasslands to coniferous forests, niut we mostly find them living around piles of petrified wood.  They enjoy vertical structure in their habitat, such as rock piles or logs, and we often see them perched up looking around.  These fun lizards feeds on crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, ants , wasps, leafhoppers, aphids and even some spiders.  They are much welcomed friends and we enjoy watching them come out to sun themselves.



Southern Alligator Lizard

The Southern Alligator lizard is found in the grasslands and edges of oak woodlands and coniferous forests.  It thrives in thickets, brush heaps, downed logs, or rock piles for cover.  This carnivorous lizard feeds primarily on small invertebrates like slugs, spiders, centipedes, scorpions, beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets, but also is known to feed on bird eggs, nestlings, other lizards, and small mammals.

Northwestern Garter Snake

This snake is mostly seen slithering through the tall grass, and at the edges of clearings in forests. It seems to enjoy dense vegetation most of the time, with the exception of being seen in open rocky areas when basking in the sun.  They sustain themselves on a fabulous diet of slugs and worms, but have been known to also consume insects, small frogs, fish, mammals, and possible birds.  


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Common Garter Snake

Most folks can recognize the common garter snake, even with it's various colors, simply because of the stripe down the middle of it's back.  

Much like it's northwestern counterpart mentioned above, it too enjoys the dense vegetation most of the time, with the exception of being seen in open rocky areas when basking in the sun.  As well as sustaining themselves on a fabulous diet of slugs and worms, but have been known to also consume insects, small frogs, fish, mammals, and possible birds.  



Pacific Treefrog

We just absolutely love our little tree frog friends. These adult treefrogs range in color from bright green to reddish to brown or gray, even almost black. Adult Northern Pacific treefrogs only grow to two inches in length, making them the smallest in Oregon.  

We find these guys all over, but often they are close to water, including wet meadows, wetlands, woodlands and even on our own back porch. 


Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog

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These cute little frogs are found in a lot of the same areas as the pacific tree frogs.   They are slightly larger, and much better at hiding due to their camoflauge coloring.  Foothill yellow-legged frogs thrive along edges of the off-channel waters that are slow flowing and quiet. In summer, we find them under rocks in the stream or near our porch and the watering bowl.  

The Foothill yellow-legged frog is an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species in several ecoregions - the Coast Range, Klamath Mountains, West Cascades and Willamette Valley.


Mallard Ducks

These ducks have a great ability to tolerate human disturbance and adapt to rural habitats.   The females are mottled-brown, with dark brown stripes through the eye, orange bill with black splotching and have yellowish-orange legs. Immatures resemble adult females until males acquire nuptial plumage usually by mid-November. Males enter the eclipse molt in June and resemble hens until mid-September. Wings of both sexes have a violet-blue speculum bordered in front and behind by a pronounced white stripe.  They are fun little friends to have visit the wetlands.

Image by Dragan Tomić

Wild Turkey


These turkeys, largest game bird in North America, love the forests and interspersed open habitats at low to mid-elevation mountains west of the Cascades.  These large terrestrial birds are generally dark brown to black in appearance but iridescent color in feathers ranging from gold and copper to green and black gives a metallic appearance, particularly in full sunlight. Males and about 10 percent of females sport a unique beard of keratinous filament that protrudes from the junction of the breast and neck. Beards grow continuously but rarely exceed 10 inches in length. Females are smaller and duller in appearance.

These flocks are funny little groups, and we love to see them grazing in our grassy areas just passed the treeline.

California Quail

California quail are the most widely distributed upland game birds in Oregon. The black, comma-shaped "topknot," which bends forward and is larger on the male, is the easiest way to identify this species. They are common residents in rural and even some suburban areas, particularly in eastern Oregon where many coveys gather at feeding stations during the winter.  We love watching these cute little birds run around the woodlands.  


Red-Tailed Hawk

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A Red-tailed hawk hovering high over a field or perched on a utility pole while patiently waiting for prey is one of the most common views along Oregon's roadways.  These m assive-bodied raptors have rather broad wings.  Mature birds have a brownish-mottled back and an orange-red tail with a narrow, black subterminal band. Although they are rarer in more heavily forested places, it is present throughout the state in every habitat and at every elevation.  We have two or three couples constantly flying over the woodlands, especially on sunny days.  Their distinct call is commonly heard overhead, and can clear the sky of all the smaller birds around. 

Barn Owl

One of the most startling sounds in the black of night is the loud, harsh call of the Barn owl as it flies overhead. They are striking owls, usually white to tan beneath with fine spotting ranging from almost none to fairly extensive. The face has a well-defined facial disc that acts as a parabolic dish collecting the faint sounds of its prey, allowing it to hunt successfully in total darkness. 
The Barn owl is a fairly common permanent resident in open country west of the Cascades. We hear them more than we see them, which isn't that often. It is always a treat to catch a glimpse of one flying. 

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Western Screech-Owl

Almost strictly nocturnal, the Western screech-owl hunts discreetly at night and roosts during the day in dense woodlands, its perfectly camouflage plumage allows it to pass as tree bark. These habits make it difficult to see.  We haven't seena one, but we have found their feathers.  It is a small owl with yellow eyes and feathered ear tufts. It exhibits geographic variation in plumage color and pattern: both gray morphs and brown morphs occur in the Pacific Northwest.  Sexes are alike.  The Western screech-owl is a fairly common year-round resident in lower-elevation woodlands throughout Oregon. 

Great Horned Owl

The Great horned owl is the most commonly encountered owl in Oregon. We see it hanging out mostly in the timer areas to the north.  It is a large, stocky, powerful owl with large yellow eyes and distinctive feather tufts or "ears" above the eyes. Plumage color varies from dark brown in western Oregon to pale grayish brown in southeastern Oregon. The throat is white. 


Steller's Jay


With its unusual crest, blue and charcoal coloring, and loud call, the Steller's jay can easily be identified. Foraging areas for Steller's jays include the ground, bushes, and trees. They are omnivores, eating both animal and plant foods. This jay often builds its nest close to the trunk, between 10 and 16 feet above the ground, in trees or shrubs.It is a typical dweller of mesic, dry, and mixed conifer-hardwood forests in Oregon, from valley floors to close to the timberline. During the nesting season, it can be found in the forests of the Coast and Cascade ranges.

Blue Jay

This raucous, vibrant jay is one of the distinctive birds of forests. It stands out due to its striking blue and white plumage and piercing calls. It is closely related to the Steller's jay and hybrid individuals have been noted where their ranges overlap.  Although mostly a vegetarian, it is an opportunistic forager of tiny animals and invertebrates. The Blue jay prefers open mixed forests or deciduous groves and is often found in orchards and parks.   

We will often see these clever loud mouths mimick the cry of the red tailed hawks that often fly overhead.  They will do this after we have thrown fruit or seeds.  This will scare other birds away, leaving a feast to themselves. 

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Western Scrub-Jay


The Western Scrub-Jay gets its name from the "scrub" environment it prefers, which is primarily made up of sparsely spaced shrubs and brush. Its metallic rasp screech draws attention to itself. Due to its loud voice and fussy, boisterous behavior, the scrub-jay is a bird that some people could find bothersome. However, it also has a lot of personality and is reputed to be highly intelligent and adaptable. In our Cascade foothills, the Western scrub-jay is a common permanent dweller.

American Crow

It is said that if a person knows only three species of birds, one of them will be the Crow. The supposedly malevolent nature of this bird, distinguished by its coal-black plumage, fan-shaped tail, and nasal caw sound, has been preserved in folklore and stories.  These cunning birds have outstanding intelligence, the capacity to learn, and the capacity to make choices. Additionally, they are sociable, congregating in sizable roosts, particularly in the fall and winter. Crows are extending into urban areas and ecosystems made by farming, forestry, and other human modifications because they can live in a variety of situations.  We love to see these inteligent vistiors at the Woodlands. 


Acorn Woodpecker

This charming clown-faced woodpecker is one of the more noticeable inhabitants of much of Oregon's oak woodland due to its animated vocalizations. With its cooperative living behaviors and acorn storing, it stands apart from other Oregon woodpeckers.   Acorn woodpeckers are listed as Oregon Conservation Strategy Species in the Willamette Valley and Klamath Mountains ecoregions. This bird faces a serious threat from the destruction of oak forests.  The grove of Oregon White Oaks to the north of the woodlands provide a great habitat for these friends. 

Rufous Hummingbird

The most prevalent and common hummingbird in Oregon is the rufous hummingbird. Even the most modest nature enthusiasts are attracted to install a feeder by the popularity of this rusty-red, courageous nectar feeder. In the majority of western Oregon, especially in the forested areas, it is a frequent transient and breeder.  We just love having these little beautys fly around our woodlands.  


Anna's Hummingbird


The largest common hummingbird in our area is the Anna's hummingbird. It is the only hummingbird that can consistently be found in Oregon in the winter, when there are fewer daylight hours, fewer feeding options, and more extreme cold spells. It is more vocal than most hummingbirds, and males can be heard singing all year long in a dry, scratchy buzz.

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