Once upon a time, I used to live on a small dredge spoil island at the mouth of the Columbia River. Located within view of beautiful Astoria, Oregon - home of The Goonies and the location of Lewis and Clark's encampment on the Pacific- this small island was an astonishing location for breeding colonies of Caspian terns and double crested cormorants. Given the outflow of millions of salmonid smolts and the proximity to saltwater fish, the piscivorous birds thrived. I lived on the island for a breeding season, spending hours in the bird blinds cataloging diet composition, breeding phenology and colony size. To have opportunity to observe the crescendo and rhythm of breeding season provided an incredibly intimate perspective into a remarkable biological phenomenon and was a formative experience in my fledgling career. Recently, this same island has become the subject of some intense controversy given a proposal to kill thousands of cormorants in an effort to maintain salmonid stocks. This news has caused me to reflect on my own experiences on the island and compelled me to repost a piece that I wrote several years ago while in the midst of a field season on the island.