Find the Rare and Endangered Critters of Aberdeen Art Installation

While out and about in Aberdeen, you may have noticed the different animal sculptures scattered about. The Critters of Aberdeen is a project that was created based on fictitious endangered and rare animals in the Grays Harbor area. Forgotten Remnants of Grays Harbor is an organization supposedly was created under a bridge in the 1980s and focused on the preservation of these animals in the area. In truth, these delightful sculptures were created by John and Robin Gumaelius and restored by Douglas C. Orr. The story of each animal was written by Larry Bledsoe.

Hunt down the Critters of Aberdeen the next time you have some free time. The artists’ unique interpretations and the storyteller’s ability to twist the truth just so, won’t leave you disappointed!

Art piece in Aberdeen, Washington, of an imaginary animal that is very colorful with a long striped neck, a human face, and a bug body with six legs
Try saying Barkbeetle Beggar three times fast! It might make one appear. Or you can visit downtown Aberdeen to find one! Photo credit: Maggie Jay

The Gray’s Harbor Singing Barkbeetle Beggar

Only found in Grays Harbor, the Barkbeetle Beggar lives in trees in the area. It is both rare and endangered. These insects with a quite human-looking face live high in tree branches and suck the sap out of the tree for sustenance, stimulating the tree to grow.

At the end of the 1940s, boys were hired to climb trees to retrieve the Barkbeetle Beggars before loggers cut them down. The scream of the Barkbeetle Beggar was so shrill, loggers couldn’t stand to cut the tree with them in it.

One young climber decided to keep the captured Barkbeetle Beggars and even taught them to sing. After a public performance, a city councilman was so taken aback, he spearheaded a city ordinance to ban Barkbeetles from performing again. Today only a few hundred Barkbeetle Beggars are left. Still singing in the tops of the trees in Grays Harbor.

You can find the abstract sculpture at Wishkah and I Street.

Art piece in Aberdeen, Washington, of an imaginary animal that is very colorful with large rabbit ears and a huge round body
Cute alone, but fierce in a pack, The Grizzly Hare is a rare sight in Aberdeen, Washington. Photo credit: Maggie Jay

The Soft Yet Fierce Grizzly Hare Only Found in Western Washington

The fight of a grizzly with the face of a hare. The Grizzly Hare was a social animal that only lived in Grays Harbor. When threatened, the pack mentality would hit and the entire group would attack together, with the fight of a big brown bear. Thus, giving them the name Grizzly Hare. Recently brought back to life through cloning, a Grizzly Hare was found in a freezer in 2003 and sent to a lab overseas to be reproduced. Negotiations are currently underway to bring a pair of cloned Grizzly Hares back to Grays Harbor.

This sculpture can be found at Heron and K Street.

Art piece in Aberdeen, Washington, of an imaginary animal that is very colorful with one big eye
Wishkah Winkler pops into sight bringing love and longevity to passersby. Photo credit: Maggie Jay

Night Owl Wishkah River Winker

The Wishkah Winker is a nocturnal animal with big doe eyes much larger than the rest of its body. Legend has it that if a couple spots a Wishkah Winker while holding each other, that they are in for a long and healthy love life together. People started parking along the Wishkah River more to find this elusive night bird, causing the soil to become compressed. The compressed soil led to a small number of worms available for the Wishkah Winker to feast on, leaving them in an endangered state. It’s said that since the doe-eyed bird has been spotted less and less, long-term relationships have suffered as well.

You can find the Wishkah Winker on your trek through Aberdeen at Heron and G Street in Aberdeen.

The Tail of the Hoquiam Honker

Hunted primarily for its tail, the Hoquiam Honker’s mating calls could be heard all around Grays Harbor in the first years of the 1900s. That is until it was discovered that their tails could be used to make a horn for calling several types of geese.

Further spiraling into extinction, the horns from early cars sounded just like the Hoquiam Honker’s mating call. Honkers would end up running head on into cars, searching for their true love. With the low numbers of Hoquiam Honkers today, the one way to possibly find one is to park your car in the forest. Turn on your headlights and honk your horn repeatedly. A Hoquiam Honker may come out for mating. Be careful though, they are enthusiastic about re-populating.

Find a life-like replica of the Hoquiam Honker on Heron and H Street.

Art piece in Aberdeen, Washington, of an imaginary animal that is very colorful with a large snout and teeth and the body of a fish
Someone once hoped the Bull Snout would become a Gray’s Harbor delicacy. Would you try it? Find it on the Critters of Aberdeen art tour. Photo credit: Maggie Jay

Washington Bull Snout for Dinner Tonight?

The Bull Snout is said to have become a species in Grays Harbor through the cross of a bull and a fish. The creation of the Bull Snout was in South Aberdeen’s Shannon Slough, a known dump site filled with mutated creatures from the area.

A local attempted to corral the animals and turn them into a viable meat source. But he failed. The meat of the Bull Snout turned out to be very tough and not meant at all for human consumption.

The population of the Bell Snout would have continued to grow had it not been for the timely and necessary clean-up of slough. The clean waters were just too much for the Bell Snout. They have become endangered and are quite difficult to find these days.

Find a rendition of the Bull Snout at Heron and Broadway in Aberdeen.

Discover all the Critters of Aberdeen, Washington

The quirky and unusual art installation in Aberdeen known as the Critters of Aberdeen adds a touch of magic and mystery to the downtown area. There are several more critters to discover and more stories to invoke that illusory truth effect. Find the map to all the Critters of Aberdeen on the Our Aberdeen website.

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