137 Species Rely on Pacific Salmon
By Ed Hunt
Pacific salmon do a strange thing. After they spawn, they die.
In evolutionary terms, it seems counterproductive. Wouldn't it be better if each fish lived to rear its young, and perhaps even get a second shot at spawning?
It turns out that Pacific Salmon, in their own way, are providing for their offspring. When salmon swim upstream, they are returning to the waters where they themselves hatched years before — their bodies plump with eggs as well as the bounty of the seas.
After spawning, they leave their nutrient-rich carcasses behind. Many of the microscopic creatures that nibble on the carcasses eventually become prey for the next generation of fish. And so the parents nourish the young.
But salmon provide more than an indirect food source for baby salmon. At least 137 different species — from grizzly bears to gray wolves — depend on salmon for part of their diet. Even trees and plants benefit from the nutrients brought back by salmon from the seas.
It is awe-inspiring when you think about it. This mighty fish struggles up stream, jumping waterfalls, and its last act is sacrificing its body to ensure that the community that will raise its children will be thriving, teeming with life.
Which begs the question, what are we doing for our community, for the next generation?
Imagine what could be accomplished if we devoted our energies to the future the way that salmon do. Imagine if you will, a Nation of such salmon-people, leaping great obstacles to make a better place for their offspring and their ecosystem.
Harlequin Duck • Osprey • Bald Eagle • Caspian Tern • Black Bear • Grizzly Bear • Northern River Otter • Killer Whale • Cope's Giant Salamander • Pacific Giant Salamander • Pacific Coast Aquatic Garter Snake • Red-throated Loon • Pied-billed Grebe • Clark's Grebe • American White Pelican • Brandt's Cormorant • Double-crested Cormorant • Pelagic Cormorant • Great Blue Heron • Black-crowned Night-heron • Turkey Vulture • California Condor • Common Goldeneye • Barrow's Goldeneye • Common Merganser • Red-breasted Merganser • Golden Eagle • Bonaparte's Gull • Heermann's Gull • Ring-billed Gull • California Gull • Herring Gull • Thayer's Gull • Western Gull • Glaucous-winged Gull • Glaucous Gull • Common Tern • Arctic Tern • Forster's Tern • Elegant Tern • Common Murre • Marbled Murrelet • Rhinoceros Auklet • Tufted Puffin • Belted Kingfisher • American Dipper • Steller's Jay • Black-billed Magpie • American Crow • Northwestern Crow • Common Raven • Virginia Opossum • Water Shrew • Coyote • Gray Wolf • Raccoon • Mink • Bobcat • Northern Fur Seal • Northern (Steller) Sea Lion • California Sea Lion • Harbor Seal • Pacific White-sided Dolphin • Gyrfalcon • Peregrine Falcon • Killdeer • Spotted Sandpiper • Snowy Owl • Willow Flycatcher • Tree Swallow • Violet-green Swallow • Northern Rough-winged Swallow • Bank Swallow • Cliff Swallow • Barn Swallow • Harbor Porpoise • Dall's Porpoise • Snapping Turtle • Western Pond Turtle • Western Terrestrial Garter Snake • Common Garter Snake • Pacific Loon • Common Loon • Yellow-billed Loon • Horned Grebe • Red-necked Grebe • Western Grebe • Sooty Shearwater • Brown Pelican • Great Egret • Snowy Egret • Green Heron • Trumpeter Swan • Mallard • Green-winged Teal • Canvasback • Greater Scaup • Surf Scoter • White-winged Scoter • Hooded Merganser • Red-tailed Hawk • Greater Yellowlegs • Franklin's Gull • Mew Gull • Black-legged Kittiwake • Pigeon Guillemot • Ancient Murrelet • Gray Jay • Winter Wren • American Robin • Varied Thrush • Spotted Towhee • Song Sparrow • Masked Shrew • Vagrant Shrew • Montane Shrew • Fog Shrew • Pacific Shrew • Pacific Water Shrew • Trowbridge's Shrew • Douglas' Squirrel • Deer Mouse • Red Fox • Gray Fox • Ringtail • American Marten • Fisher • Long-tailed Weasel • Wolverine • Striped Skunk • Mountain Lion • White-tailed Deer • Black-tailed Deer • Minke Whale • Sperm Whale • Humpback Whale • Northern Rightwhale Dolphin
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