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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Senators Think Osprey Should Replace Meadowlark As State Bird

Kevin Cole
Wikimedia -
The Oregon Senate voted Thursday on a resolution that would designate the osprey, left, as the official state bird. It would replace the western meadowlark.

The osprey is one step closer to becoming Oregon's official state bird. The Senate voted Thursday on a resolution that would give the designation to the bird of prey often seen along Oregon waterways.

The western meadowlark has been Oregon's state bird for 90 years. But Republican Sen. Fred Girod introduced a resolution that would replace the meadowlark with the osprey.

Girod said it's not just that the osprey is bigger and more powerful than the meadowlark.

"The major problem with the meadowlark is that it's the state bird for five other states,” he said. “That's just not the Oregon way."

But the proposal ruffled the feathers of meadowlark fans. Democratic Sen. Betsy Johnson said lawmakers shouldn't replace what she called a gentle creature with the osprey, which she described as "a fierce predator and an instinctual killer who visits death on fish from above.”

Despite Johnson's plea, the resolution passed with a wide margin of support. It how heads to the Oregon House.