|A young great horned owl just can't believe what he sees -- me! This owlet is still fuzzy, but old enough to fly. The owl's territory was in a willow patch just north of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.|
Time to get warm and fuzzy with some owls. Dale has just finished putting together a program for our local Audubon program. "Mess'n with Predatory Birds.'. Whenever he puts a program together I'm reminded of the wonderful places we go and the things we see.
He has several great horned owls in the program. Suddenly I realized three of them come from near or on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge-- that's the same refuge I hope you are hearing about in the news. For those of you that aren't reading this in the United States I'll just quickly mention the refuge is one of our special places to spend time. We stay for a few days in nearby Burns, Oregon and spend several days enjoying the wildlife in the Malheur Basin. Part of our time is spent on the refuge and part nearby. The vast valley is a mix of sagebrush, wetlands, and water. Thousands of birds rest there during migration and many nest there.
Unfortunately some militant ranchers took over the refuge headquarters early this month and have been occupying it ever since. They hope to force the government to give the National Wildlife Refuge lands, Bureau of Land Management Lands and National Forest lands to ranchers. Most people are baffled by their outrageous actions and waiting for this siege to end, hopefully without gunfire and without ruining the beautiful old buildings at the headquarters and without any more damage to the refuge than what they have already done.
Trio of great horned owl owlets that were growing up in the cottonwoods that shelter refuge headquarters.
If you are interested in getting a feel for what the Malheur Basin is like, here are four of my posts written about the basin: All were posted in 2013, some in June and some in July.
From my "Malheur Basin" blog: A willet pesrches on a fense post -- one of the many birds who nest on the refuge.
This photo is from 'Dinner with Owls' which took place at Page Springs Campground, part of the Bureau of Land Management property.
A white pelican -- part of my "Watching White Pelicans" Blog -- I can see their nesting colony off in the distance, I believe on Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Property
A Malheur Basin cattle drive, from my blog, " Move Along." Ranchers and refuge have been sharing the valley for years.