Birding

Olga the Osprey

Watch Olga’s adventures live, here on a webcam sponsored by the City of Independence, Pacific Power and us…..we’re birders!

Watch them on the webcame, or live from our rooftop.

 

 

Olga The Osprey

The Osprey were here first. Before The Independence Hotel was built, Olga and Ollie nested at our incredible location on the banks of the Willamette River adjacent to Riverview Park.  For many decades the avian couple made this spot their romantic summer getaway.

With respect for Olga and Ollie and the nest they call home, plans for the hotel were built around protecting their nest.  We worked with the City of Independence and Pacific Power to place a new pole and camera for a “bird’s eye” view of this majestic duo.  While the camera provides compelling viewing and made reality stars out of Ollie and Olga, there is nothing like watching the local Osprey in person. With visibility from our rooftop deck, several balcony rooms and the Riverview Park trail system, all of our guests are honorary and enthusiastic birders during their stay.

Osprey mate for life and return to the same nest annually. Each spring Osprey pairs arrive in the region and begin diligently nesting.  Females like Olga do most of the work “renovating” and expanding last year’s nest. In late April, if all goes as planned, Olga lays 1-4 eggs. True co-parents, Osprey take turns incubating the eggs and then their chicks hatch! They teach the chicks how to fly, then how to fish. In the fall, the family migrates separately to their Winter homes in Mexico. Then the parents meet up again in spring and their offspring, once mature enough to migrate, generally build their own nests in the same general geographic area as their parents.

In spring of 2020, Ollie disappeared part way through the season and Olga mourned his loss.  But Olga came back to the nest she built and after entertaining suitors, she found a new partner. Never a dull moment in the skies of Independence!

Wildlife Viewing and Refuges

There is incredible bird watching from the Hotel’s rooftop deck and the riverfront trails in front of the hotel including Osprey and Eagle. The Salem Audubon Society has produced an information-filled Salem Area Bird Checklist in a handy portable “trifold” format for easy use while at the Hotel, or on a visit to one of the areas wildlife refuges. This list covers the 200+ birds found within an approximate 20-mile radius of downtown Salem. Connect with a local birding community: The Willamette Valley Birders Discussion List.

Ankeny National Refuge

Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge is situated in open farmland near the confluence of the Santiam and Willamette rivers in the middle of the broad Willamette Valley. The 2,796-acre refuge offers excellent wildlife observation areas, trails that meander through wetlands and oak/ash forest, raised boardwalks, interpretive exhibits and observation/photography blinds. Most of the interior of the refuge is closed to public entry while the geese are in residence from Oct. 1-Mar. 31.

Minto-Brown Island Park

Located on Salem’s waterfront, a short 20 minute drive from the hotel, Minto-Brown Island Park spreads out over 1,200 acres of lush, open, and wooded areas.

The park is a waterfowl and wildlife sanctuary with blue herons, ospreys and man bird species.  Walk, run, or bike any of the 29 miles of trail that make up nine loops. You can also access Riverfront Park via the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge.

Baskett Slough National Refuge

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge, just about 10 miles from the hotel, provides habitat for a wide variety of wildlife and plants. Populations of several endangered and threatened animal and plant species can be found on the refuge. Opportunities for wildlife observation, photography, hiking, and environmental education abound. Established in 1965, the Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge’s primary management goal is to provide wintering habitat for dusky Canada geese.