FEB. 9, 2018 1 min read

The American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis, while not native to the Pacific Northwest, covers a prodigious range of the eastern United States, from the Atlantic coast to about 98 degrees longitude. These charismatic giants can grow as large as 150 feet tall and 13 feet wide, and they are notorious for the formation of large hollows, which often become home to wildlife ranging from squirrels to spiders (and on at least one notable occasion, a small family of human beings). This particular sycamore, located outside the front door of the Center for Life Beyond Reed (CLBR), is about five stories tall and boasts elegantly curling branches characteristic of many individuals of its species. In my two years at Reed, I have, on three separate occasions, seen a pair of bald eagles perching on this particular tree. Given our proximity to both the Willamette River and our own Reed Lake, such sightings of large birds of prey aren’t particularly unusual, but that doesn’t stop them from being slightly magical each time.