The marine garden in your backyard | Community

Haystack Rock is special. That’s what you hear a lot at Cannon Beach. But what makes it so special to so many?

The 15-million-year-old, 235-foot-tall monolith attracts tourists from all over the world, has historically supported indigenous livelihoods, provided a nesting ground for thousands of seabirds and seabirds, and is a symbol of the city. increase.

I think one of the things that makes Haystack Rock so special to wildlife interpreters in the Haystack Rock Awareness Program is that it’s recognized as a marine garden.

Marine Gardens in Oregon is a protected intertidal rock habitat found in highly visible and regularly visited areas of the coast. These designated sites support educational opportunities and public enjoyment while maintaining ecosystem integrity and protecting biodiversity. Haystack Rock is a state designation in addition to being part of the federal Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

The basalt monolith is known as a nesting site for a variety of seabirds and coastal birds, including the iconic and elusive puffin, from spring through fall. During the peak of summer, you can hear murres chirping in between the shrill calls of black oystercatchers flying low over the coast. You can see Japanese cormorants, burantows, and elephants carrying seaweed to build their nests. Guillemot the pigeon can be seen bobbing on the nearby shore, alongside surf his Scotters and Harlequin Ducks. A pair of puffins can be seen soaring together and landing high above the grassy hills known as Meadows. To truly understand how many birds are housed in this single rock, you have to wait for the bald eagles to fly in to hunt. The seagull’s sharp call alerts all birds, causing thousands to explode and flee or scatter.

Twice a day, the intertidal zone is exposed to the open air during low tide. The windows to the ocean slowly begin to open, allowing humans to step a little. At low tide, colorful sea creatures emerge. Gooseneck barnacles cluster high in the splash zone and tower over dense rows of acorn barnacles. As the sea recedes, anemones begin to close, crabs rush to dark hiding places, various shades of green and red seaweed begin to pop, and sea stars freeze in fixed positions among beds of mussels. Limpets, nudibranchs, snails, chitons, sea cucumbers, and other sea animals settle into their water-retaining positions.

Another unique sight at low tide is the many wildlife interpreters in red vests and jackets exploring the tidal pools, talking to visitors, collecting data with bird scopes, You can see them going on school excursions. These passionate people are city employees and volunteers for the Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP). The interpreter’s job is to teach visitors about the rich biology and complex ecosystems of the intertidal zone and demonstrate how to become stewards of the natural world. The interpreters not only help visitors make new and personal discoveries, but also show them how to sustainably interact with ecosystems and educate them about the latest scientific research and understanding.

Think about what makes you special the next time you visit Haystack Rock. Consider the sounds of wildlife, the colors of the intertidal zone. If you are there at low tide, seek out an interpreter to say hello. They will be happy to guide you. You will be amazed at the size of the intertidal zone in the marine garden.

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