Friday, April 6, 2012

NaPoWriMo 6/30

Today's prompt is to write an animal poem. Being the Oregonian that I am, I decided to write on coho salmon. Consider this another work in progress! Oh, and the pictures here are all mine (all the pictures I post with the exception of my Outfits of the Week, are my own).

Oncorhynchus kisutch--Coho Salmon

Slick and silver
Time traveler, oceanic wanderer
The smell of your freshwater birthplace is calling you home.

Journey weary, hook-beaked warriors 
Build redds in the riffles 
Spawn on gravelly beds of ripples and current
And die.

Coho and Chinook Fry from Knowles Creek, Siuslaw Watershed

Salmon Smolt, Knowles Creek, Siuslaw Watershed

Spawned out salmon carcasses contribute nitrogen and other nutrients to forest-stream ecosystem
  I had the wonderful opportunity to work two seasons monitoring native fish species in a mid-coastal creek in Oregon where I developed a love of these sacred animals, which were a main source of food and currency for the  indigenous people of the area. Coho are anadromous, and spend part of their life in freshwater and part of their life in salt water. On average, coho spend 1-2 years in the stream of their birth, covered with speckles and parr marks that provides camouflage from predators, helping them hide among the stream detritus. As smolt, they "silver up" before heading out to sea, where being silver protects them from predation in the open ocean. Coho will spend one to three years at sea before they are driven to return home to their natal stream to spawn and die. Oncorhynchus literally means hooked nose, and refers to the fact that spawning male coho develop formidable looking hooked jaws. 

And now, a video I took of a spawning run at Fish Creek in the Siuslaw Watershed, Oregon, November of 2009. 

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