Birding Malheur Wildlife Refuge

The lakes and ponds of Harney County, Oregon, are shedding ice and migratory waterfowl are arriving by the acre. The day (Sunday Feb 24, 2013) I left Harney County a flock of Snow Geese were taking up residence on Malheur Lake near the Narrows. Birders will be going crazy cataloging recent arrivals as the great northward migration gets underway.

My personal preference for bird watching is to drive to Frenchglen and return to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge via the Center Patrol Road. This strategy puts the sun to my back and improves my chances for that once in a lifetime photograph.

Several ponds roadside give ample opportunity for “park and watch”… you can reside in the comfort of your automobile and watch bird behavior to your heart’s content. You will also see a number of raptors, including the Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks. If you are lucky you might spot a herd of mule deer.

The bucks should be dropping their antlers about now but there are still some impressive racks to be seen. Coyotes are skulking around looking for an easy meal so bring your binoculars and your camera and be prepared to take pictures.

Make motel reservations in Burns before you go unless you are prepared to camp out. Page Springs campgrounds near Frenchglen are close to the scene of the action… go birding Malheur style.


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