There’s something fishy going on at the MK Nature Center in Boise.
It’s not the mule-deer doe that keeps eating out of the bird feeder.
Or the flying saucer-shaped guzzler hidden in the bushes. (A guzzler is a bowl-shaped thing that catches rainwater in arid areas so wildlife can have a drink.)
It’s the chinook and kokanee salmon, cutthroat and rainbow trout and sturgeon that inhabit the nature center and fascinate a lot of youngsters. Adults, too.
In fact, time’s running out for the season to see real-live salmon on display at the center. They will soon die, as they do in nature in the late summer, and be gone for another year.
You may only have a week or two to see them so plan a trip.
The Nature Center staff got a few chinook from the Rapid River Hatchery near Riggins and kokanee from Deadwood Reservoir recently to put on display in the underwater stream-viewing area.
You can tell the kokanee salmon because they are bright orange.
The chinook are the largest fish in the display and look beat up as they near the end of life. They are greenish-gray with white scars.
After the chinook die, they will be seen at the bottom of the stream or floating nearby as they do in nature. Mink and other critters that live near or at the center will feed on the carcasses.
Even after the salmon are gone, visitors at the center will see rainbow and cutts all year.
Although the salmon are the main lure this time of year, the Nature Center has lots of other things to do and see — from the wildlife displays in the visitor center to walking through the entire 4.6-acre site, which is located along the Boise Greenbelt.
You can walk through several interpretive parts of the complex, including high desert with sagebrush and rabbitbrush; a parcel that shows wildlife habitat improvement; another section showing tree snags, which provide homes to critters like woodpeckers; and garden and wildflower areas that provide friendly places for birds and butterflies.
There are a lot of things to see at the Nature Center, and you’ll probably want to come back a second and third time to see it all.
But catch the salmon while you can.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors
MK center puts on a salmon show