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Seaside Aquarium - (05/09/2021 10:51:58 pm)
The local beaches are teaming with wildlife! This afternoon we responded to a juvenile molting elephant seal, came across a heard of elk enjoying the dunes, and multiple species of migratory seabirds such as sanderlings and whimbrels. It is always a good reminder that all of these magnificent creatures call the beach their home. This is where they go to rest, feed, and breed! When we returned from checking on the elephant seal we had a surprise waiting at the Aquarium for us, tiny cute ducklings! These guys had lost their mother and were brought to us so that they could be transferred to the Wildlife Center of the North Coast.
Seaside Aquarium - (05/07/2021 11:59:00 pm)
It's Fishy Friday! Every Friday we pick a different species of fish that lives along the Oregon Coast to highlight. China Rockfish (Sebastes Nebulosus) In our humble opinion these are one of the most attractive species of rockfish out there. They can vary in color from black or blue-black, mottled with yellow and sometimes white. Like other species of rockfish, they have a relatively long lifespan, often exceeding the age of 70. The aquarium currently houses three China rockfish, all of which have resided at the aquarium for over 20 years. They can be quite territorial and are not much for traveling. Usually most active at dusk, they do not travel further than 20 or so feet from their established territory. They prefer complex habitats like boulder fields or kelp beds and are sometimes found living in dens or caves occupied by giant Pacific octopus.
Seaside Aquarium - (05/04/2021 11:47:16 pm)
Our friends at the Haystack Rock Awareness Program found this little guy all alone and abandoned. Thankfully they are well versed in what to do and brought it to the Aquarium where he could be transferred to the Wildlife Center of the North Coast. We are so lucky to have both of these wonderful organization in our community!
Seaside Aquarium - (05/03/2021 07:02:18 pm)
The tufted puffins have returned! Did you know that Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is one of the only places to view tufted puffins from land in the lower 48? Haystack Rock is home to the largest Tufted Puffin breeding colony in Oregon. In early April approximately 100 individual puffins show up at Haystack Rock. Most of the puffins have already found their lifelong partners and are returning to the same protected burrow they used last year to raise their young. The Tufted Puffins will spend about 16 weeks at the rock. For the first couple weeks the puffins stake out their territory and clean up their burrow. Once their burrow is ready, the female puffin will lay a single, chicken-sized egg, which both the male and female incubate. Incubation usually lasts 41-54 days. Though usually tucked back inside the burrow, newly hatched puffins appear at the ‘Rock’ beginning in late June through mid to late August. Despite the fact that you may not be able see the pufflings, activity around the rock is hectic and plentiful: it is fun to observe the parent puffins making multiple trips to their burrow with bills full of fish for their young. 38 to 59 days after hatching the pufflings will leave their burrows. Under the protection of dark (to escape the ever-watchful, hungry eyes of bald eagles), all the pufflings will leave the safety of the rock and return to the open ocean, where they will spend the winter. Video courtesy: Friends of Haystack Rock. For more information on Haystack Rock and tufted puffins visit:
Seaside Aquarium - (05/01/2021 12:35:00 am)
It's Fishy Friday! Every Friday we pick a different species of fish that lives along the Oregon Coast to highlight. Longnose Lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox) Resembling a barracuda this is one fish you would not expect to run across along the Oregon coast. Their beautiful large eyes, sharp fang-like teeth, and serpent-like body distinguishes this fish from most others living in the Pacific Northwest. Little is known about the longnose lancetfish. We know they range from the southern Bering Sea to Chile and occupy surface waters down to 6,000 feet. We also know that they are not picky eaters, they are known to eat over 90 different species of marine life, including each other, and unfortunately, are attracted to plastics. Their unique feeding habits, along with the varying range of depth that they occupy have scientists studying their stomach contents. They have poor digestion, so when you look at the contents of their stomachs you will usually see whole fish and other prey items. By studying what the longnose lancetfish is eating scientists can better understand how the marine food web is changing over time (if at all). It may also help understand changes in the food web brought on by events like El Nino or La Nina. For some reason in the spring and summer a handful of these guys wash ashore on Oregon beaches. The aquarium often gets a call when someone comes across one of these odd-looking fish wondering exactly what it is that they have found. Longnose lancetfish can reach lengths of 7 feet and weigh up to 20 pounds.
Seaside Aquarium - (04/26/2021 10:20:48 pm)
We saw our first Caspian tern today! Also keep an eye out for whimbrels, currently there are around eight hanging on Seaside beach. Caspian terns (Hydroprogne caspia)- In North America, the Caspian tern is common along both coasts and found on both fresh and salt water. Western colonies of terns prefer protected waters like bays, rivers, or lakes from Mexico to Alaska and have established the largest colony in North America within the lower Columbia River Estuary. For the last two decades 12,000- 20,000 Caspian terns have taken season residence on East Sand Island in the Columbia River which represents 50-65% of the Caspian tern breeding populations within the Pacific Flyway corridor. These birds are large as a gull, easily identifiable by their black-capped head and large orange bill and are common in bays and estuaries along the coast during spring and fall migrations. Smaller numbers of Caspian terns have even been found inland waters during migration including the mid-Columbia River, Willamette River, and Snake Rivers. When feeding on small fish such as shiner perch, birds fly over the water, hover and plunge to catch prey at the waters surface, but have been known to steal fish or eggs from other birds for food. Once they reach reproductive maturity at five years, mating pairs incubate one to three pale brown/black spotted eggs for approximately twenty two days. Young terns stay with parents up to eight months and as a species are able to live past 20 years.
Seaside Aquarium - (04/23/2021 11:57:00 pm)
It's Fishy Friday! Every Friday we pick a different species of fish that lives along the Oregon Coast to highlight. Lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) Roughly translated, their scientific name means “elongated snake-tooth” referring to this fish’s long skinny body and mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. As juveniles, lingcod may be found in local estuaries and bays but as they get older, they leave those protective waters and head out to the ocean. They can be found as deep as 1,500 feet but are most common at depths of 600 feet or less. As ferocious as they look, these fish are actually quite lazy and will spend most of their time laying around on the seafloor. They can also be very social, forming high density clusters, often stacking on top of each other. Probably the most amazing thing about lingcods is the large egg mass females can produce. A single cluster can weigh as much as 30 pounds and is as large, if not larger, than a volleyball. These large egg masses can get dislodged from the rock crevices in which they are laid by heavy surf or large storms. When this happens the egg clusters often wind up on local beaches. From a distance they resemble Styrofoam but upon closer examination you will see that they are actually eggs.
Seaside Aquarium - (04/17/2021 12:46:00 am)
It's Fishy Friday! Every Friday we pick a different species of fish that lives along the Oregon Coast to highlight. Silverspot Sculpin (Blepsias cirrhosis) This beautiful sculpin can be found in both the eastern and western Pacific. In the western Pacific they range from Russia down to Japan and are referred to as littledragon sculpins. In the eastern Pacific they range from Alaska to central California and are named after the slivery spots adorning their body and fins. In the spring they migrate to shallow nearshore waters, often entering into bays and estuaries to lay their eggs. Along the Oregon coast the eggs hatch between February and April, lucky observers may even see young of the year in tidepools. The silverspot sculpin can live for six years and grow to eight inches.
Seaside Aquarium - (04/14/2021 04:54:28 pm)
The puffins are back!
Seaside Aquarium - (04/10/2021 12:41:21 am)
It's Fishy Friday! Every Friday we pick a different species of fish that lives along the Oregon Coast to highlight. Starry Flounder- (Platichthy stellatus) Starry flounder start off like any other fish, with a symmetrical face and eyes on each side of their head but a few days after hatching their skull twists and one eye begins to migrate until both eyes are on one side of their head. Just as humans can be left or right-handed, flounder can be left or right-eyed. Along the coast of Japan 100% of the starry flounder are left-eyed (having both of their eyes on the left side of their head) but as you cross the ocean to the Alaska that percentage changes to around 67% and as you travel further down the coast to Oregon and California that percentage changes once again to about 50%. They are a medium sized flatfish reaching 36 inches in length and weighing up to 11 pounds (unless you believe those fisherman who tell stories of 20 pounders). Their common name is derived from the fish’s extremely rough, star-shaped scales on the surface of their eyed side. Native Americans in the Willapa used this to their advantage to catch them. Wading through the waters of the bay they would pin the fish down with their feet and due to those rough starry scales, the fish was unable to escape. Flounder were an important food source for the natives living along the coast near bays and estuaries and for a while they were also an important commercial species but as technology advanced bigger, tastier fish such as halibut, took their places. Today they are one of the least valued flatfish and are primarily caught only by recreational fisherman. These fish tolerate many different environments. Ranging from Alaska to California, those living in the northern portion of their range produce proteins that act as an antifreeze. They can also tolerate both fresh and saltwater habitats. In fact, they have been caught 75 miles up the Columbia River. Some studies also suggest that the starry flounder is quite the traveler. Two fish caught, tagged, and released in the Columbia River were later caught nearly 140 miles away. One traveled north along the Washington coast, whereas the other chose to venture south ending up in Yaquina Bay.
Seaside Aquarium - (04/06/2021 07:04:05 pm)
Yesterday around 2:30 p.m. we got a call about a live stranded sea otter on the south end of Manzanita beach. The otter was lethargic and showing signs of possible neurological issues. The sea otter was taken back to the Seaside Aquarium and transferred to a rehab center up in Washington. Unfortunately, the sea otter did not make it. A necropsy will be performed but it is thought that the animal was suffering from a protozoal infection. This is the first, live sea otter that we have ever responded to. Sea otters were once quite common off the Oregon Coast but due to intense hunting from the fur trade they were wiped out and pronounced extinct in the early 1900’s. Previous efforts to reintroduce sea otters on the Oregon Coast have failed but there is a group currently working on a plan to reintroduce sea otters once again to Oregon. Sea otters reside in Alaska, California, and Washington State.
Seaside Aquarium - (04/04/2021 09:06:50 pm)
On Wednesday, March 31st Coreen Mitchell and her husband were walking along Gearhart beach when they discovered a 6-foot broadnose sevengill shark. The shark was dead before washing in and had what looked to be bites from another shark. Broadnose sevengill sharks are one of seventeen species of sharks that can be found off the Oregon Coast. While they are known for their aggressive behavior when feeding and the fact that they can get quite large, nearly 10 feet and weighing up to 400 pounds, there has never been an attack on a human in Oregon. Worldwide, they have only been responsible for 5 attacks on humans since the 17th century and none were fatal. Though the jury is still out on that one since human remains have been found in the stomachs of some sevengills. Like their name suggests, the broadnose sevengill shark is unique in that it has seven gills while most species of sharks have five gills (apart from two species of sixgill sharks). They can be found off the eastern and western Pacific, Argentina, and South Africa in estuaries, bays, and at ocean depths from near shore to 400 feet. Smaller sevengills feed on fish and squid but as they get bigger, they start to prey on marine mammals and are known to hunt in packs.
Seaside Aquarium - (04/03/2021 07:36:31 pm)
Thank you to everyone who showed up to help clean the beach. We had an outstanding turnout, over 68 people and with their help we were able to remove about 400 pounds of trash off of the beach. Our next Treasure the Beach beach cleanup will be on May 1st. from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. To preregister visit
Seaside Aquarium - (03/29/2021 12:28:00 am)
Are you ready to catch a glimpse of a gray whale? A peek of a mottled gray dorsal hump or a glimpse of the 10-foot tale fluke as they dive back under the ocean surface? You are in luck, because March marks the beginning of gray whale watching season for our beloved Oregon Coast. While approximately 200 resident gray whales live nearly year-round in Oregon’s coastal waters, a majestic parade of 18,000 migrating whales will swim past our coastline in small groups or individuals as the species moves northward to their summer feeding grounds along British Columbia and Alaskan coasts. Preferring shallow waters, these baleen whales are able to filter food in a variety of ways. They are the only whale that filters mud by sucking sediment off the sea floor and consuming small invertebrates such as amphipods and zooplankton, but they are also able to eat small shrimp from the water column. These mighty marine mammals grow to be 49 feet long, over 80,000 lbs and have an estimated lifespan of over 70 years. Calves are born after 12 months of gestation in the warmer waters of Mexico and will not reach reproductive maturity until over 6 years of age. Like many baleen whales, long-term bonds between individuals are uncommon. Gray whales annually migrate 10,000 miles and are one of the longest migrating mammals on the planet. As they swim, whales will surface every 20 seconds and will blow a spout of water nearly 15 feet into the air for about five seconds before they take another breath to submerge again. If feeding or frightened whales can stay down for 30 minutes before they surface to replenish their oxygen. There are 24 spectacular sites to whale watch along the coast of Oregon, but Ecola State Park and Neahkahnie Mountain are the best local options. Researchers have estimated that nearly six gray whales per hour can be seen during the northern migration. For best whale watching results, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife experts suggest picking a calm morning and practice good binocular technique, “Gaze out onto the ocean, focusing on medium distances until you see a puff of white. Then raise your binoculars while continuing to look at the place you saw the blow.”
Seaside Aquarium - (03/28/2021 12:24:44 am)
How to predict "Blue Tides".
Seaside Aquarium - (03/27/2021 12:06:55 am)
Spring is in the air and seal pups are about to start popping up along the Pacific Northwest coast. Oregon and Washington typically see harbor seals born throughout spring and into late summer, while California may see pups early as February. These young animals use time on land to regulate body temperature and rest while their mothers hunt nearby. However, the mother may not return if humans are too close. Thus, wildlife experts suggest giving seal pups plenty of space, observe them from a distanced and while they are absolutely adorable do not touch. Female seals birth annually after an eleven-month gestation and utilize familiar coastal shores or estuary areas with easy access to water to have their pups. New seals can immediately swim but stay close and ride on their mothers back while they mature. Baby seals often double in size from birth in 4-6 weeks on a regular diet of mother’s milk with 40% milkfat. While the extra layer of fat make the pups adorable, the pups depend on that stored body fat to survive foraging on their own as they become more independent. Any interference from humans that could cause early separation between newborn pup and mother could be detrimental to the pup’s ability to survive. Marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Under this federal law it is illegal to move, touch, harass, feed, or kill marine mammals including seal pups. Harbor seals live on land for nearly half their lives breeding, molting, resting, and raising their offspring. Molting occurs after pups are weaned and to retain warmth and energy molting seals often stay on land for extended periods of time. Human encroachment and domestic dog interaction are big challenges for the health and well-being of both young and mature seals. If you come across a seal pup, please contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Local wildlife officials will post educational signs that encourage the public to keep a safe distance away from the animal while the situation is monitored by experts. Most of the time the animal is healthy and in need of a rest before it rejoins with its mother or re-enters the water. The Marine Mammal Stranding Network responds to sightings of seal pups and other injured or dead marine mammals (including whales or dolphins). Responders will act as quickly as possible to assess the situation and obtain information and observations about the animal in question. For the northern Oregon and southern Washington coast the Seaside Aquarium is the local responder for the Marine Mammal Stranding Network and can be contacted at 503.738.6211. If a stranded marine mammal is found elsewhere the Marine Mammal Hotline at 1.800.452.7888 and they will contact the appropriate stranding network responder for the area.
Seaside Aquarium - (03/06/2021 09:10:21 pm)
Wow! What a turn out. We had 109 people participate in today's cleanup. With their help we were able to remove 770 pounds of trash off of the beach including a 150 pound net. Thank to everyone who participated! See you next month! #beachcleanup #solvethistogether #seasideaquarium #seasideoregon #pacificnorthwest #seaside
Seaside Aquarium - (03/06/2021 02:48:01 am)
Fishy Friday! Every week we choose a different fish to feature. All of the fish we choose to feature live off of the Oregon Coast. This week… Rock Prickleback-Xiphister mucosus Don’t be fooled by this fish’s eel-like appearance; true eels do not have pectoral fins, and though the prickleback’s fins are greatly reduced in size, they are still present. Reaching an impressive length of 23 inches, the Rock prickleback is one of the largest pricklebacks along our coastline. As juveniles they feed on small crustaceans, but as they reach adulthood they assume a vegetarian diet, feeding on red and green algae.
Seaside Aquarium - (03/05/2021 07:31:05 pm)
Treasure the Beach is tomorrow from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Sign up and get your beach cleaning supplies in front of the Aquarium. Can't make it tomorrow? You can still help keep Seaside Beach clean by stopping in and asking for cleaning supplies (bags and gloves) in the Aquarium's gift shop, open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Seaside Aquarium - (03/01/2021 08:26:22 pm)
A huge thank you to everyone who participated and donated! The aquarium, along with some very generous donations was able to raise over $5,000 for the Seaside Library. Thank you to Neal Maine for all of your inspiration and community involvement. Looking forward to next year's Maine Event!
Seaside Aquarium - (02/28/2021 05:50:58 pm)
Just a quick reminder of the Maine Event! Today all admissions collected will be donated to the Seaside Library. We are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. if you want to stop by and support the Seaside Library.
Seaside Aquarium - (02/26/2021 12:21:57 am)
We are sad to report that, despite everyone’s best efforts, the little loggerhead did not make it. It is always an uphill battle with these guys. A big thank you to everyone who gave this turtle a fighting chance.
Seaside Aquarium - (02/25/2021 05:51:01 pm)
We had quite the adventure yesterday! A sea turtle was reported on Rockaway Beach. Upon arrival the turtle showed no signs of life and was presumed dead but this little loggerhead turtle had a surprise in store for us. Sea turtles that strand on Oregon beaches are cold-stunned (extremely hypothermic) and it can be difficult to determine if a cold-stunned sea turtle is still alive. Their heart rate may drop to one beat per minute, so we look for small movements in the turtle’s eyes or head. This turtle showed none of the typical signs indicating that it was still alive. We recovered the turtle so that it could be taken up to Portland State University for a necropsy. Luckily for everyone, the sun came out and slowly warmed up the turtle and to our surprise hours after being taken off the beach it moved its head ever so slightly. We quickly regrouped and prepared the turtle to be transferred to the Oregon Coast Aquarium for rehab. A huge thank you to Tucker for reporting the turtle, Jim Rice with the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network for meeting half way and aiding in the transport, and the Oregon Coast Aquarium for taking the turtle into their care. It truly takes a village.
Seaside Aquarium - (02/23/2021 11:27:13 pm)
We are so excited for this event! We are only a few days away.
Seaside Aquarium - (02/20/2021 02:36:00 am)
Fishy Friday! Every week we choose a different fish to feature. All of the fish we choose to feature live off of the Oregon Coast. This week… High Cockscomb Prickleback-Anoplarchus purpurascens This fish is as beautiful as it is ugly. Named after the fleshy crest (cockscomb) adorning their head, they vary greatly in color. Their color can vary so much if fact, that some are mistaken for separate species. They use their snake-like body to slither under rocks and kelp in protected intertidal areas and are big fans of the security of rock jetties. Living in relatively shallow water, they are often left stranded when the tide goes out. Luckily for them, as long as they stay moist, they can remain out of the water for 15 to 25 hours. They are one of the smaller species of pricklebacks along the Oregon coast reaching only 7 or so inches in length. Their small size keeps them from being targeted by recreational fisherman, who often seek out the sweet tasting meat of larger species such as the mokeyface or rock pricklebacks. Marine worms make up most of this fish’s diet.
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Seaside Aquarium, 200 North Prom, Seaside, Oregon 97138 Tel: (503) 738-6211.