Tag Archives: pupping season

A Little TLC

I was starting to think I was living too close to downtown Tidewater!  Don’t pigeons usually hang out in urban areas?

Okay, I can close my eyes and listen to their gentle cooing and make-believe it’s a dove.  Maybe that’s how the Feral Pigeons got nicknamed Rock Dove?

Band-tailed Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon

But, actually, this is a Band-tailed Pigeon.  The yellow bill and legs and dark eye are unique to pigeons and this is the “largest of our pigeons”; according to my bird book.

They live in tall coniferous trees in mountain areas.  Okay, so they are right at home at my home!

Coming back from Newport yesterday, I couldn’t cross the Alsea Bay Bridge again without stopping to see if there were any seal pups.

Alsea Bay Bridge Gets TLC
Alsea Bay Bridge Gets TLC

They have one, southbound, lane closed for bridge maintenance.  They are removing rust, painting and constructing a new walkway under the bridge.  I couldn’t find an estimated completion date on the ODOT website.

So, in honor of our upcoming Mother’s Day…

Seal Couples or Moms with Pups?
Seal Couples or Moms with Pups?

I couldn’t see the size difference of these seals to be able to tell if it was 2 moms nuzzling their pups or if it was male/female couples.  They weren’t splashing around in the water like they did in the pre-pupping behavior.  They are just sort of twisting around each other and swimming with their noses touching each others head and neck; very graceful and loving.

Seal Pup in Alsea Bay
Brand New Seal Pup

No wonder people have to be reminded to resist the urge to “rescue” a seal pup!  They look so tired and under-fed and helpless!  The pups can swim immediately after birth but they are like any baby, they need a lot of sleep.  They only nurse every 3 hours and mom still has to eat.  So, if you come across a seal pup on a beach, keep your distance.  If you want to help it, stay there to educate other people who come along and keep their pets away.  Mom Will Be Back!  But the pups have to rest.  They are camouflaged, like any other baby animal, for protection.

I actually didn’t even see this one until I got my photos back home to the computer.  What I do is zoom in and take successive photos from one end of the group to the other.  That’s how I’ve found animals that are tagged or branded too.

I hate carrying too much equipment around with me.  I don’t take tripods or extra lenses (much to Don’s disappointment because he is sweet enough to buy those things for me – sorry Sweetie).  Nor do I even take binoculars with me.  It’s just extra baggage.  I like to travel light.  I barely throw on a coat!

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Bald or Golden Eagle

My guess is that this is a 2nd or 3rd year Bald Eagle.  This was as clear of a photo I could get from the Alsea Bay Bridge this evening.

Eagle on Alsea Bay
Golden or Bald Eagle

The Harbor Seal pupping season brings in the scavengers.

Eagle near Seals, Alsea Bay
Eagles Have Patience

Seals give birth to their pups close to the water, if not IN the water.  I think because it’s easier for Mom to protect the pups from hungry seagulls who are the first to arrive.

Seagulls Hover
Seagulls Hover Around Birthing Seals

As the pup is being born the seagulls are trying to pick off the nutrient-rich placenta; or maybe the lanugo (protective coat which is shed in utero).

Protective Mom
Protective Mom

When another seal hauls out nearby, Mom puts herself between her pup and the other seal.  Looks like she’s laying down the rules.  Once she’s convinced there’s no threat, she moves back to the best position for the pup.  I think the pup is facing her in the photo below.

Harbor Seal Mom and New Pup
Harbor Seal Mom and New Pup

I didn’t see the new pup move.  They are able to swim and open their eyes as soon as they are born so I don’t know if this one is doing too well.  I didn’t even see it nurse.  But then they only nurse for a minute every 3 hours.  They must really suck it down though, they double their body weight in 6 weeks.

Alsea Bay Haulout from the Bridge
Alsea Bay Harbor Seal Haulouts from the Bridge

The seals were split into 2 groups today.  The pup and eagle are in the far group.  I didn’t see any pups in the closer group.  There is another, smaller, group west of the bridge.

People can walk to that haulout so I expect the seals won’t stay there long if people keep bothering them.  Some don’t think they’re bothering the seals by moving slowly and quietly while they try to get as close as they can without a seal moving off.  But all the seals keep an eye on the people, so you know there is some tension.  Tension is not something a mother in labor needs more of.  So please watch from the bridge with your binoculars.

Pre-pupping Season Activities on Alsea Bay

I’m keeping a close eye on the Harbor Seals from the Alsea Bay Bridge, Waldport, Oregon.

Alsea Bay Bridge Oblisque
Alsea Bay Bridge Obelisk

There is lots of activity out there!

Harbor Seals - pre-pupping season
Pre-pupping Season Activity

Harbor seals don’t have much contact, other than during mating season and pre-pupping season.

Harbor Seals Rolling in Water
Rolling

According to SeaWorld: Prior to the pupping season, males and females exhibit pre-mating activity such as rolling, bubble-blowing, and mouthing each other’s necks. This pre-mating behavior ends with the beginning of the pupping season.

Neck Biting
Neck Biting

I have never seen them move so fast on the sand before.  They would dart out of the water to shoot up onto the beach.

Kissing Harbor Seals
Kissy-Kissy

One might interact for a minute with another on-shore.  Then dart back into the water.

Harbor Seals Darting
Never seen them move so fast on sand

Harbor Seals usually keep space between them when hauled out; whereas Sea Lions lay all over each other.