Sisters is for the birds
|Photo byDick Tipton
By Jim Anderson
You just flew in to Sisters...When you tie down your aircraft in the visitor parking area in summer, all you have to do is listen for a moment and you will hear Oregon's State Bird, the Western meadowlark. They nest in the open
areas near the runway and in adjacent fields, and the mountain
bluebirds flitting about will knock your eyes out! You might also use caution and keep an eye out for eagles, hawks and turkey vultures soaring near the east end of the runway.
When you drive into Sisters Country via the McKenzie Pass route, over Highway 242 in the summer (it's closed in winter), you're driving through
blue grouse and pygmy owl country. You can walk up to the grouse and take close-up photos. The little pygmy owl, on the other hand, is a spook, and often kills and eats animals much larger than it is.
Passing down the east side of the McKenzie toward Sisters, you will pass Cold Springs Campground. Take the time to turn in and
walk the short nature trail adjacent to the parking area. It will be
well worth it. White-headed woodpeckers nest in the aspens, along with hairy, downy woodpeckers and sapsuckers, and spotted towhees scoot along under your feet.
Leave plenty of time to arrive in Sisters while crossing the Cascades on Highway 22. The birding is exceptional, and the burned forest is a woodpecker wonderland! Spotted sandpipers are visible on most of the lake shores, waterfowl and osprey are always busy around and in Suttle Lake. If you turn off at Cache
Lake, you may even see a northern spotted owl.
A stop at Indian Ford Campground will open the door to warblers and an accipiter or two, like a Cooper's hawk intent on a warbler for lunch.
Watch for bald eagles perched in the tops of towering fir and pines alongside the highway. They are watching for trophy fish in Suttle Lake.
For a special close-up look at a golden eagle nest visit Wolftree’s www.goldeneaglecam.com. You won’t be disappointed.
Coming into Sisters from Bend, you'll be in Western meadowlark country, with three or four active red-tailed hawk nesting pairs hunting the hay fields across
from ODOT's scenic pullouts.
If you're watching, it will be
almost impossible to drive
from Bend to Sisters without seeing our smallest falcon, the American kestrel, perched on powerlines adjacent to Highway 20 – just one more of Sisters' avian