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Thursday, April 11, 2024

HARNEY COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM TOUR

The Harney County Historical Museum is one of the county’s hidden treasures. The museum depicts a personal history of the county by the people who have lived here. There are two floors of displays in the museum and the recently added annex has another room full of history and artifacts. Most visitors agree that there are few museums that match the personalized history that is depicted in this great space. The Harney County Historical Museum has exhibits featuring Fort Harney, the City of Burns, ranching history, the history of the lumber industry, Native American exhibits, wildlife exhibits and much more.

SELF-GUIDED TOUR – $3-5 person,  10am to 4 pm
Location: High Desert Museum – 18 W ‘D’ St., Burns, OR 97720

HARNEY BASIN WETLANDS RESTORATION TOUR

The Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative is a local group of diverse partners working in Harney Basin and the Silvies floodplain to enhance flood meadows and improve the health of Malheur Lake and its tributaries while creating economic and social benefits for the community. For the past few years partners have been working behind the scenes and they want to show you what they have been doing! Join Ducks Unlimited Director of Conservation Programs Greg Green, SONEC Partner Biologist Samuel Artaiz, and Harney Basin Ecological Coordinator Melissa Petschauer as they take you around the basin for an afternoon of birding and learning about the restoration work being done. Come along for a fun ride and learn what is happening in your backyard! VAN-GUIDED (you ride with us). 

TOUR – $45 / person,  1 to 4 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Chamber of Commerce, 484 N Broadway, Burns, OR 97720

HOW, WHEN, AND WHERE TO BIRD HARNEY COUNTY PROGRAM

Birding the vast expanse of Harney County’s 10,000+ sq. miles can be daunting! Which birds are where? and when? Dan Streiffert has been birding and photographing in Harney County for 12+ years. This presentation showcases his approach to taking advantage of particular birding ‘routes’ that cover the diverse landscape and discovers the array of birds and other wildlife available. Dan will share tips and tricks for seeing particular species at different times of the day or throughout the year. Take this opportunity to talk with a specialist face to face! CLASSROOM STYLE PRESENTATION

PROGRAM, WORKSHOP – $10 / person,  3 to 4:30 p.m.
Location: Harney County Chamber of Commerce, 484 N Broadway, Burns, OR 97720

DOWNTOWN HISTORY WALKING TOUR

Enjoy a chance to stretch your legs between birding tours and learn more about Burns history. This walking tour covers 16 blocks in the downtown area of Burns and focuses on many of the 100+ year old buildings still in use. You will visit and get a brief historical sketch about each building on your path. Finish your tour with a visit to the Harney County Historical Society Museum, open Friday and Saturday from 10 to 4. *Free, but please pre-register by adding this tour to your shopping cart.

TOUR – Free , 4 to 6 p.m. 
Departs from: Harney County Library – 80 W ‘D’ St., Burns, OR 97720

WETLANDS HAPPY HOUR

Ever wonder why birds use some areas more than others? What entices birds to rest and nest at different locations? Curious to know more about wetland restoration? Join Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative partners for this casual and educational gathering. Come learn more about the work being done by High Desert Partnership, Portland Audubon, Ducks Unlimited, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge staff, and other local stakeholders to improve wetland habitat while supporting the local economy. Come when you want. Stay as long as you want. Led by Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative. Light snacks, including meatballs from Doverspike Beef, and non-alcoholic beverages provided.

PROGRAM, SOCIAL – Free, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Location: 1899 Foundry, 315 N Broadway, Burns, OR 97720

‘BELTED KINGFISHER – MESSENGER OF WATERWAYS’ BOOK TALK

Join author Marina Richie, winner of the 2024 John Burroughs Medal, for stories and excerpts from her award-winning book, Halcyon Journey: In Search of the Belted Kingfisher—illustrated by Newport artist Ram Papish and published by Oregon State University Press. Richie’s narrative weaves natural history, myth, and memoir to illuminate the jay-sized bird of the headfirst dive and rattling cry. Ultimately, she reveals an inviting pathway for all seeking kinship with nature nearby. This is the first book to feature North America’s beloved Belted Kingfisher.

Marina Richie is a nature writer living in Bend, Oregon. Richie’s articles, essays, and poetry appear in literary publications, popular magazines, blogs, and in book collections. She is also the author of two children’s books: Bird Feats of Montana and Bug Feats of Montana. Her education includes an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Montana and a B.A. in Biology from the University of Oregon. Richie has worked as a journalist, writer of interpretive signs, wildlife viewing coordinator, and communications director for wildlife initiatives. She serves on the board of the Greater Hells Canyon Council and writes a bi-monthly blog of prose and poetry at www.marinarichie.com.

PROGRAM – Free, 6 to 7 p.m.
Location: Harney County Library – 80 W ‘D’ St., Burns, OR, 97720

NOCTURNAL WILDLIFE TOUR

Come over to the dark side, (with a little light) to see and hear the amazing nocturnal wildlife species that inhabit Harney County. This tour will start at dusk and take you into Malheur National Forest, where your guide will hope to help you find owls, bats, and a variety of mammalian species. Dress for cold weather, wear hiking boots and bring snacks and a small flashlight to aid in walking. This tour is led by Samuel Artaiz, the local SONEC Partner Biologist. Samuel has an extensive background in natural resources and a career focus on birds. VAN-GUIDED (you ride with us)

TOUR – $55 / person, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. 
Departs from: Harney County Chamber of Commerce – 484 N Broadway, Burns, OR, 97720

Friday, April 12, 2024

SUNRISE BALD EAGLE FLY OUT TOUR

Harney Basin provides habitat for nesting, wintering, migrant and wandering bald and golden eagles. Rick Vetter and Joan Suther will lead a field trip to watch an early morning flyout of bald eagles from one of the largest bald eagle roosts of Oregon… that they have been monitoring for 33 years and counting! This is an early-start tour with a 35-minute drive from Burns. We leave on time, before sunrise, so as not to miss any eagles. The roost is secluded, but we’ll get to watch some of the birds fly out over our heads, from the comfort of our vehicles if it is cold, or outside if you prefer, on a quiet gravel road. As the eagles fly out, they scatter across agriculture fields preparing to search for a free meal, which is one of the main reasons they roost in this particular area. But it comes with a possible deadly consequence, which we’ll discuss, as well as the natural history of the birds in the area.

There will also be opportunities to identify and watch numerous other raptor species, including one of the longest winged hawks in the U.S. And on the return trip to Burns, we’ll stop at the Crystal Crane Hot Springs for additional birding. Plan and dress accordingly for cold morning temperatures, any sustenance needs, and a potential swim at the hot springs if you choose! CARAVAN (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $30 / person, 5:15 to 9:30 a.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

BASIN BIG DAY TOUR

Bird most of Harney Basin habitats from the majestic old growth ponderosa pines on Malheur National Forest to the spring fed ponds on Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Everyone gets a window seat on this tour and there are plenty of birding stops with short walks to stretch legs and smell the sagebrush. Peter Olsoy and Katie Sorenson will be your leaders. Peter is the eBird reviewer for several counties in Idaho and he and Katie have lived and birded in Harney County for about a year. Plan on a full day of birding various habitats such as burned and unburned forests, juniper woodlands, sagebrush, agricultural fields, hot springs, wetlands, rimrock, floodplains, backyard hot spots and even sewage ponds. High quality spotting scopes available for use, and tour leaders can provide support for photography, digi-scoping and birding apps including eBird. Forest parts of the trip are weather dependent. VAN-GUIDED (you ride with us).

TOUR – $140 / person, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

BIRDERS CONNECT – COFFEE HOUR

This early bird gathering is designed to provide space for birders to socialize and casually bird while enjoying coffee and pastries. There won’t be a birding guide for this coffee hour, but Friends of Malheur volunteers will be on-hand to provide information about the refuge, give the low-down on recent bird sightings, and to help answer any questions you might have.

SOCIAL – Free, 6 to 7 a.m.
Location: Malheur Refuge Headquarters, Crane’s Nest Store – 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, OR, 97721

WATERFOWL ID WORKSHOP

Have you ever seen birds on a pond and wondered, who’s out there? This waterfowl ID class will give you the tools you need to identify them. This class will go over waterfowl evolution, point out patterns, shapes, and behaviors to help you identify the different species here in Harney County. After the class, join us in the Waterfowl ID Tour where we will use these new skills in the field. This class is led by Melissa Petschauer, Harney Basin Ecological Coordinator for High Desert Partnership. Her career has been based in avian research with a focus on waterfowl.

WORKSHOP – $20 / person, 7 to 8:30 a.m.
Location: 1899 Foundry, 315 N Broadway, Burns, OR 97720

BIRDING THE HOT SPOTS TOUR – NORTH

If you are new to the area or just want someone else to do the driving and take you to all the “hot spots,” this is the tour for you! Guides will answer all of your birding questions and provide insight into the habitat needs of many of our spring migratory birds. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to quiz an expert and discover the best birding around! Family friendly. On Friday, this tour will be around Burns and to the NORTH. On Saturday, this tour will be around Burns and to the SOUTH. (One to the north and one south on Sunday). A different experience each day! Led by retired (or almost retired!) BLM biologists Matt Obradovich and Rick Hall. Each has over 30 years of experience in natural resources, birding, and conservation. VAN-GUIDED (you ride with us).

TOUR – $45 / person, 7 to 10 a.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

URBAN BIRDING DROP-IN WALK

Looking for somewhere to bird between tours? Drop-in to the Burns/Hines Natural Trail. To access this trail you can drive north on Egan Rd from the Fairgrounds. Parking will be on your left just before Pierce St. If you want access to bathrooms, you can also drive through town to High Desert Partnership and park in their parking lot. From their parking lot you can walk to the Nature Trail by walking behind High Desert Partnership to Pettibone, then following Pettibone east to the trailhead (at the intersection between Pettibone and Peter French). This trailhead follows along the golf course and a left turn will take you to a viewing platform for the Burns Sewage ponds. The trail extends about a mile past the viewing platform, past meadows, shrubs, grasses, and Russian olives. Volunteers may be out and about on the trail to help with your birding experience!

ACTIVITY – Free, 7:30 to 10 a.m.
Location: Burns/Hines Natural Trail

BIRD CRAWL – SOUTH

Think ‘pub crawl,’ but with a vehicle (not walking) and birds (not beer…you’re driving!). Meet up with biologists, scientists, wildlife spotters or subject matter experts in the field! We’ve strategically selected several locations throughout Harney County where you can drive to yourself and join a specialist who will help with birding in that area, share information and guidance, and support a great birding experience in the field. Visit sites, get stamps on your Bird Crawl Passport, show us your stamped Passport at Bird Central, and get entered into a drawing for binoculars or a spotting scope! SELF-GUIDED.

If you want to go to the Bird Crawl locations without having the passport, go for it (you just don’t get the 2024 passport and commemorative sticker)! For free! The 2024 Bird Crawl Passport is beautifully designed by local watercolorist Mary Lou Wilhelm.

TOUR – $20 / passport, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (docents on site)
Friday locations: Page Springs Campground, Benson Pond, Malheur Refuge Headquarters, P-Ranch, Buena Vista Overlook – directions to these locations are available here, or by visual on the passport!

BIRDING MALHEUR REFUGE HQ TO BUENA VISTA TOUR

This tour travels along the northern part of the Malheur Auto Tour Route (Central Patrol Road). This region of the refuge is often more sagebrush than wetland so this tour is a great opportunity to not only look for upland bird species, but to look for families of river otter, awesome geographic features, and one of Malheur’s uncommon (but awesome) black deer. Tara Lemezis is Portland Audubon’s Assistant Director of Adult Education and has been visiting Malheur for about a decade. As this tour approaches Buena Vista, you’ll likely encounter an increasing number of waterfowl, waterbirds, and cranes. This trip covers two of the Bird Crawl stops, so you could get two stamps for your passport while on this tour! VAN-GUIDED (you ride with us).

TOUR – $45 / person, 8 to 11 a.m.
Departs from: Malheur Refuge Headquarters, Crane’s Nest Store – 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, OR, 97721

BOCA LAKE HIKING TOUR

Enjoy a leisurely 5-mile birding hike to one of the hidden gems of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Candace Larson, Master Naturalist with the Portland Audubon Society, guides you through this beautiful sub-basin of the Blitzen Valley, exploring the wetlands and surrounding habitats of the 600-acre Boca Lake, a portion of the Refuge normally closed to the public! You can expect an abundance of water birds and plenty of upland species as you walk the road that circumnavigates the lake. This is a terrific opportunity to combine birding and exercise with an adventure to a very special place. VAN-GUIDED HIKING TOUR (you ride with us).

TOUR – $95 / person, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

DOUBLE 0 LLAMA HIKING & PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Hiking + birding + llamas to carry your stuff = FUN! The Double-O ranch is a busy part of the Malheur National Wildlife refuge. As many as forty species may be seen in the area during the bird festival – great for photography! This hands-on llama event puts you in the middle of it all! When you join us for our day-long tour, you will have the opportunity to choose a llama companion who will carry your field gear and help you spot wildlife. You may assist with saddling and are encouraged to lead your llama during the tour. The route follows level tracks through sagebrush hills on trails that are otherwise closed to the public.

We will visit small Martha Lake where the birds can’t help but be close by, and we will lunch at large Derrick Lake with its expansive views and large rafts of waterfowl. Our route back takes us along a canal where ducks often linger at close range. Hiking distance varies depending on the interests of the group, but generally is from three to five miles. Camera gear, scopes and collapsible tripods can be accommodated, but should be well protected against possible jostling. Small folding chairs can also be taken along. Travel distance from Burns to the birding site is about forty miles and is a birding opportunity in its own right. Bring snacks, lunch and drinks. A birding guide will join this tour for expertise! CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $100 / person, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

WATERFOWL ID TOUR

Time to put your new knowledge to the test! Using what you learned in the Waterfowl ID class, we will go out and identify waterfowl in the basin. This is a great opportunity to try out your new knowledge, ask questions and see waterfowl in their natural habitat. Please dress for the weather, as we will be in and out of the van. This tour is led by Melissa Petschauer, Harney Basin Ecological Coordinator for High Desert Partnership. Her career has been based in avian research with a focus on waterfowl. VAN-GUIDED (You ride with us).

Tour-goers who attended the Waterfowl ID Workshop will have priority for seats available on this tour.

TOUR – $40 / person, 9 to 11 a.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

BIRDING BY BIKE – HALF THE WHEELS, TWICE THE FUN

Interested in combining some moderate exercise with excellent Harney Basin birding? Join our guide, Karen Jacobs on flat, gravel bike rides along the Wildlife Parkway in Burns/Hines (Friday) and along the East Canal (Saturday/Sunday), at the south end of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. You will need to bring your own bike (and binoculars are recommended!). Layer your clothing, as the weather could change from one end of the thermometer to the other. Be sure to carry water and anything else you need to be comfortable on a 3-hour bike ride. BIKING TOUR (meet at the starting location).

TOUR – $20 / person, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

FIELD SKETCHING / JOURNALING  WORKSHOP/TOUR

Join artist Tory Schmidt for a fun and easy sketching workshop to learn about and practice with materials and techniques for working quickly in the field. You’ll enjoy simple exercises to help with drawing accuracy of real life scenes and subjects, landscapes up close and far away, story telling through art, and keeping a journal of informative observations. There is no experience necessary to participate in a field sketching workshop and all levels are welcome. Tory was raised in Harney County and has been a professional artist for nearly a decade. Tory leads painting workshops regularly for locals and visitors. Participants will travel to a local residence that has diverse habitat and often attracts Wood Ducks, Hooded Merganser, and other duck species; songbirds and diverse raptor species. CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

WORKSHOP, TOUR – $20 / person, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

HARNEY COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM TOUR

The Harney County Historical Museum is one of the county’s hidden treasures. The museum depicts a personal history of the county by the people who have lived here. There are two floors of displays in the museum and the recently added annex has another room full of history and artifacts. Most visitors agree that there are few museums that match the personalized history that is depicted in this great space. The Harney County Historical Museum has exhibits featuring Fort Harney, the City of Burns, ranching history, the history of the lumber industry, Native American exhibits, wildlife exhibits and much more.

SELF-GUIDED TOUR – $3-5 person,  10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: High Desert Museum – 18 W ‘D’ St., Burns, OR 97720

ART SHOW & SALE

The Art Show and Sale offers high-quality work from local and regional artists. Located in the Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building throughout the weekend, festival participants have a wonderful opportunity to view and purchase original pieces of art, including wildlife paintings, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, woodworks and much more. No admission fee!

ACTIVITY – Free, 12 to 6 p.m.
Location: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

FOREST BIRDS TOUR

Join us on a birding experience in Malheur National Forest, the 1.7 million acre forest is diverse and includes high desert grasslands, sage, juniper, pine, fir and other tree species, and hidden gems of alpine lakes and meadows. This diverse forest provides habitat for an array of bird species, we can hope to see (or hear) pileated woodpeckers, dusky grouse, Cooper’s Hawk, and many many more! Please dress for the weather, and wear comfortable shoes as we will be walking in uneven forest terrain. This tour is led by Melissa Petschauer, Harney Basin Ecological Coordinator for High Desert Partnership. Her career has been based in avian research and is excited to take folks on this tour. VAN-GUIDED (You ride with us).

TOUR – $45 / person,  12:30- to 3:30 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

BIRDING BY EAR WORKSHOP

This workshop is designed for individuals who have some experience with bird appreciation. Led by audiophile Teresa Wicks, you don’t need to be an expert at identifying birds by sight, but it could be helpful to have some of the basics of visual bird ID down to assist you with this workshop. Teresa is Portland Audubon’s Eastern Oregon Biologist based in Harney County for nearly 6 years, and has been identifying birds by ear for decades.

During this hour and a half, we’ll cover birdsong basics, including different types of bird vocalizations and what they mean, understanding components of a bird song, and we’ll cover a few of my local favorite songbirds. We will also cover apps for assisting with bird ID. Merlin can be great for bird ID but is often wrong (we’ll explain why that happens) and doesn’t necessarily provide help for learning songs on your own. We will also discuss the Larkwire app for learning bird songs.

WORKSHOP – $20 / vehicle, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Location: 1899 Foundry, 315 N Broadway, Burns, OR 97720

URBAN BIRDING DROP-IN WALK

Looking for somewhere to bird between tours? Drop-in to the Burns/Hines Natural Trail. To access this trail you can drive north on Egan Rd from the Fairgrounds. Parking will be on your left just before Pierce St. If you want access to bathrooms, you can also drive through town to High Desert Partnership and park in their parking lot. From their parking lot you can walk to the Nature Trail by walking behind High Desert Partnership to Pettibone, then following Pettibone east to the trailhead (at the intersection between Pettibone and Peter French). This trailhead follows along the golf course and a left turn will take you to a viewing platform for the Burns Sewage ponds. The trail extends about a mile past the viewing platform, past meadows, shrubs, grasses, and Russian olives. Volunteers may be out and about on the trail to help with your birding experience!

ACTIVITY – Free, 1 to 3:30 p.m.
Location: Burns/Hines Natural Trail

BIRDING BENSON POND TO P-RANCH TOUR

Join Tara Lemezis, Portland Audubon’s Assistant Director of Adult Education, on this tour traveling the southern region of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge’s Auto Tour Route. Tara has been birding at Malheur for nearly a decade and knows all the birdy spots along this route. You’ll travel past many of the refuge’s best wet meadow habitat, past several ponds, and along woody riparian habitat. This route travels along the Blitzen River, so ther are plenty of opportunities for viewing riverine bird species (such as mergansers) and several mammal species, including mink, otter, and sometimes beaver. This tour stops at two of the Bird Crawl stops, so be sure to bring your passport! VAN-GUIDED (You ride with us).

TOUR – $45 / person, 1 to 4 p.m.
Departs from: Malheur Refuge Headquarters, Crane’s Nest Store – 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, OR, 97721

CRANE CARAVAN TOUR

Discover the world of Sandhill Cranes with biologist Gary Ivey of the International Crane Foundation. This tour will focus on finding sandhill cranes and learning about their biology and migration. Gary is a Research Associate at the Foundation and works on research, monitoring, environmental education, and habitat conservation projects for the sake of crane conservation. You will be driving yourself, and only six vehicles will be permitted per tour. Carpooling is encouraged. Bring water and snacks and plan for a few stops where you’ll be getting out of your vehicle to gather, observe, etc. This tour may go to areas similar to other tours, but the focus will be all about Cranes! CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $30 / vehicle,  2 to 4 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

BIRD PHOTOS: Composition, Light, & Action [Workshop]

Join lensman Bill Ray for a fun and educational workshop about avian photography! Among other things, Bill has won photography awards at Pacific Northwest juried art shows and international online contests, is a regular speaker at camera and birding clubs and has been an ArtWorks Edmonds and Schack Art Center Everett Photo Instructor! What makes an engaging, beautiful bird photo different from a quick snapshot? How can you get better bird shots more often — yet ethically — with camera gear that will not break your back or your budget? Get all the answers and learn two easy photo edits to improve almost any wildlife image at this engaging class!

WORKSHOP – $20 /person,  Friday 2 to 4 p.m.
Location: Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters Conference Room – 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, OR, 97721

GOLDEN EAGLE NEST VIEWING TOUR

Rick Vetter, retired U.S. FWS and U.S. Forest Service Biologist, leads this fascinating discussion about Golden Eagles: the largest, fastest, nimblest raptor in North America and most widely distributed eagle in the world. Participants will drive themselves, meet in the field, observe a large nest (hopefully with nesting birds!) and share conversation with Rick. Bring binoculars or scopes, and something to sit on if you’d like! CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $30 / vehicle, 2 to 5 p.m. 
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

FIELD SKETCHING / JOURNALING WORKSHOP/TOUR

Join artist Tory Schmidt for a fun and easy sketching workshop to learn about and practice with materials and techniques for working quickly in the field. You’ll enjoy simple exercises to help with drawing accuracy of real life scenes and subjects, landscapes up close and far away, story telling through art, and keeping a journal of informative observations. There is no experience necessary to participate in a field sketching workshop and all levels are welcome. Tory was raised in Harney County and has been a professional artist for nearly a decade. Tory leads painting workshops regularly for locals and visitors. Participants will travel to a local residence that has diverse habitat and often attracts Wood Ducks, Hooded Merganser, and other duck species; songbirds and diverse raptor species. CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

WORKSHOP, TOUR – $20 / person, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

DOWNTOWN HISTORY WALKING TOUR

Enjoy a chance to stretch your legs between birding tours and learn more about Burns history. This walking tour covers 16 blocks in the downtown area of Burns and focuses on many of the 100+ year old buildings still in use. You will visit and get a brief historical sketch about each building on your path. Finish your tour with a visit to the Harney County Historical Society Museum, open Friday and Saturday from 10 to 4. *Free, but MUST pre-register by adding this tour to your shopping cart.

TOUR – Free, 4 to 6 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Library – 80 W ‘D’ St., Burns, OR, 97720

VERITAS SCHOOL CHOIR PERFORMANCE

The Veritas School Choir from Newberg, Oregon, has been singing at the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival for several years (alternating years). In a casual, personal setting, the choir will perform several songs immediately prior to the Bird Trivia & Happy Hour. Come early to get a good seat and support these talented artists. Veritas School Choir has a long tradition of excellence with many State Championship titles earned in the past decade! Free!

PROGRAM – Free, 5 to 5:30 p.m.
Location: Figaro’s Pizza – 673 W Monroe St., Burns, OR 97720

BIRD TRIVIA & EVENING SOCIAL

Are you a Bird Nerd? Think you’re the nerdiest Bird Nerd? Come test your bird nerdiness at our Bird Trivia and Happy Hour. Janelle and Teresa Wicks will be your co-hosts. Teresa has been a bird nerd since entering the world, spreading bird nerdery for all to hear since learning to talk. Janelle does not self-ID as a bird nerd but has been bird nerd adjacent for much of her career, particularly since meeting Teresa in 2015.

We’ll start gathering for trivia at 5:30. You’ll have about a half-hour to order food and/or drinks, find a seat, join your team, etc. Trivia will get started around 6:00. This pub trivia will be run “rank choice” style, meaning each round YOU decide how many points each question will be worth (1-5 points). There will be four rounds, including an audio round, plus a “Photo ID half-time”. We’ll wrap up with a Bonus Question, where you can risk it all to steal the feather crown.

Not interested in Bird Trivia but want to socialize and watch the activities? PLEASE JOIN US!

SOCIAL – Free, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Location: Figaro’s Pizza – 673 W Monroe St., Burns, OR 97720

STAR STORIES ON THE WING

Until very recently, birds and other winged creatures had dominion over the skies. But with the advent of the aeronautical age, humans have now conquered the atmospheric realm and beyond. Join Oregon Outback Star Safari as we explore many of the celestial wonders our scientific investigations have revealed, and others that continue to inspire our curiosity. Beneath some of the darkest night skies remaining in North America, our cosmic journey will include a laser-guided tour of the night sky, constellation stories, and telescope observations.
Please wear warm clothing for this 1.5 to 2-hour program and bring your own chair or blanket to sit upon, and binoculars if you have them. *Spring weather in Harney County is highly unpredictable. Program is weather dependent and subject to cancellation due to cloudy conditions/poor visibility. Refunds available for these circumstances.

 

$20 / person, Friday, April 12, 8:30 to 10 p.m.

Location: Slater Elementary School North Field – 800 N Fairview Ave., Burns, OR 97720

Saturday, April 13, 2024

DOWNTOWN HISTORY WALKING TOUR

Enjoy a chance to stretch your legs between birding tours and learn more about Burns history. This walking tour covers 16 blocks in the downtown area of Burns and focuses on many of the 100+ year old buildings still in use. You will visit and get a brief historical sketch about each building on your path. Finish your tour with a visit to the Harney County Historical Society Museum, open Friday and Saturday from 10 to 4. *Free, but please pre-register by adding this tour to your shopping cart.

TOUR – Free, 3 to 5 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Library – 80 W ‘D’ St., Burns, OR, 97720

SUNRISE BALD EAGLE FLY OUT TOUR

Harney Basin provides habitat for nesting, wintering, migrant and wandering bald and golden eagles. Rick Vetter and Joan Suther will lead a field trip to watch an early morning flyout of bald eagles from one of the largest bald eagle roosts of Oregon… that they have been monitoring for 33 years and counting! This is an early-start tour with a 35-minute drive from Burns. We leave on time, before sunrise, so as not to miss any eagles. The roost is secluded, but we’ll get to watch some of the birds fly out over our heads, from the comfort of our vehicles if it is cold, or outside if you prefer, on a quiet gravel road. As the eagles fly out, they scatter across agriculture fields preparing to search for a free meal, which is one of the main reasons they roost in this particular area. But it comes with a possible deadly consequence, which we’ll discuss, as well as the natural history of the birds in the area.

There will also be opportunities to identify and watch numerous other raptor species, including one of the longest winged hawks in the U.S. And on the return trip to Burns, we’ll stop at the Crystal Crane Hot Springs for additional birding. Plan and dress accordingly for cold morning temperatures, any sustenance needs, and a potential swim at the hot springs if you choose! CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $30 / vehicle, 5:15 to 9:30 a.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

BASIN BIG DAY TOUR

Bird most of Harney Basin habitats from the majestic old growth ponderosa pines on Malheur National Forest to the spring fed ponds on Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Everyone gets a window seat on this tour and there are plenty of birding stops with short walks to stretch legs and smell the sagebrush. Peter Olsoy and Katie Sorenson will be your leaders. Peter is the eBird reviewer for several counties in Idaho and he and Katie have lived and birded in Harney County for about a year. Plan on a full day of birding various habitats such as burned and unburned forests, juniper woodlands, sagebrush, agricultural fields, hot springs, wetlands, rimrock, floodplains, backyard hot spots and even sewage ponds. High quality spotting scopes available for use, and tour leaders can provide support for photography, digi-scoping and birding apps including eBird. Forest parts of the trip are weather dependent. VAN-GUIDED (you ride with us).

TOUR – $120 / person, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

BIRDERS CONNECT – COFFEE HOUR

This early bird gathering is designed to provide space for birders to socialize and casually bird while enjoying coffee and pastries. There won’t be a birding guide for this coffee hour, but Friends of Malheur volunteers will be on-hand to provide information about the refuge, give the low-down on recent bird sightings, and to help answer any questions you might have.

SOCIAL – Free, 6 to 7 a.m.
Location: Malheur Refuge Headquarters, Crane’s Nest Store – 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, OR, 97721

WATERFOWL ID TOUR

Time to put your new knowledge to the test! Using what you learned in the Waterfowl ID class, we will go out and identify waterfowl in the basin. This is a great opportunity to try out your new knowledge, ask questions and see waterfowl in their natural habitat. Please dress for the weather, as we will be in and out of the van. This tour is led by Melissa Petschauer, Harney Basin Ecological Coordinator for High Desert Partnership. Her career has been based in avian research with a focus on waterfowl. VAN-GUIDED (You ride with us)

Tour-goers who attended the Waterfowl ID Workshop will have priority for seats available on this tour.

TOUR – $40 / person, 9 to 11 a.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

BIRDING BY EAR TOUR

Practice your new birding by ear skills on a walk in the Ponderosa Pine forest of Idlewild Campground. We’ll make time for practicing with and without technology on a short walk from the Snow Park parking area, looping through the campground, and making our way back up to the parking area. There may be snow during this walk, so come prepared for variable conditions including snow, mud, and dry forest floor. CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

*Tour-goers who attended the Birding By Ear Workshop will have priority for seats available on this tour.

TOUR – $30 / person, 7 to 9 a.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

RAPTOR ID WORKSHOP

Explore Harney County’s diurnal birds of prey with biologist Matt Hanneman. Matt is the Wildlife Program Manager for the Burns Paiute Tribe. He conducted graduate work on Red-shouldered hawks and is currently studying the America Kestrel. This workshop will focus on field marks as well as shape, size, and general behavior to develop your new skills at identifying local eagles, hawks and falcons. After this Workshop you’ll have an understanding of the seasonal changes in raptors in the Harney Basin and why April can be an exciting time for raptor watching! CLASSROOM STYLE WORKSHOP.

WORKSHOP – $20 /  person, 7 to 9:30 a.m.
Location: 1899 Foundry – 315 N Broadway, Burns, OR 97720

BIRDING THE HOT SPOTS TOUR – SOUTH

If you are new to the area or just want someone else to do the driving and take you to all the “hot spots,” this is the tour for you! Guides will answer all of your birding questions and provide insight into the habitat needs of many of our spring migratory birds. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to quiz an expert and discover the best birding around! Family friendly. On Friday, this tour will be around Burns and to the NORTH. On Saturday, this tour will be around Burns and to the SOUTH. A different experience each day! (One to the north and one south on Sunday.) Led by retired (or almost retired!) BLM biologists Matt Obradovich and Rick Hall. Each has over 30 years of experience in natural resources, birding, and conservation. VAN-GUIDED (you ride with us).

TOUR – $45 / person, 7 to 10 a.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

URBAN BIRDING DROP-IN WALK

Looking for somewhere to bird between tours? Drop-in to the Burns/Hines Natural Trail. To access this trail you can drive north on Egan Rd from the Fairgrounds. Parking will be on your left just before Pierce St. If you want access to bathrooms, you can also drive through town to High Desert Partnership and park in their parking lot. From their parking lot you can walk to the Nature Trail by walking behind High Desert Partnership to Pettibone, then following Pettibone east to the trailhead (at the intersection between Pettibone and Peter French). This trailhead follows along the golf course and a left turn will take you to a viewing platform for the Burns Sewage ponds. The trail extends about a mile past the viewing platform, past meadows, shrubs, grasses, and Russian olives. Volunteers may be out and about on the trail to help with your birding experience!

ACTIVITY – Free, 7:30 to 10 a.m.
Location: Burns/Hines Natural Trail

WORKING RANCH TOUR

Travel with members of the Harney County Cattlewomen to working cattle ranches just outside of Burns. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about local history, learn about the coexistence of wildlife and ranching in the Harney Basin and listen to local range scientists from the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center. Bring water. A beef-centric lunch by the Harney County Cattlewomen is included with the tour. CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $50 / vehicle, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

BIRD PHOTOS: Composition, Light, & Action [Field Practice]

It’s time for Bill Ray’s field portion of “Bird Photos” – put your classroom work to the test! Bring your camera and gear and practice your techniques. Ask questions, play with different settings and angles, experiment with exposure and backgrounds, and sharpen your skills all around. You don’t want to miss this opportunity for real world, hands-on experience with a professional like Bill! Anyone is welcome to sign up for this session, but preference will be first given to those who attended the corresponding workshop. CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $25 / person, 9 .m. to 12 p.m.
Location: Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters – 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, OR, 97721

BIRD CRAWL NORTH

Think ‘pub crawl,’ but with a vehicle (not walking) and birds (not beer…you’re driving!). Meet up with biologists, scientists, wildlife spotters or subject matter experts in the field! We’ve strategically selected several locations throughout Harney County where you can drive to yourself and join a specialist who will help with birding in that area, share information and guidance, and support a great birding experience in the field. Visit sites, get stamps on your Bird Crawl Passport, show us your stamped Passport at Bird Central, and get entered into a drawing for binoculars or a spotting scope! SELF-GUIDED.

If you want to go to the Bird Crawl locations without having the passport, go for it (you just don’t get the 2024 passport and commemorative sticker)! For free!

TOUR – $20 / passport, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (docents on site) – YOU ONLY NEED ONE PASSPORT FOR THE WEEKEND. ONE PASSPORT COVERS BOTH THE NORTH AND SOUTH LOCATIONS
Saturday locations: Radar Hill OHV Area, Eastern Oregon Ag Research Center, Harney County Fairgrounds, Burns Gravel Ponds, Idlewild Snow Park – directions to these locations are available here, or by visual on the passport!

CRANE CARAVAN TOUR

Discover the world of Sandhill Cranes with biologist Gary Ivey of the International Crane Foundation. This tour will focus on finding sandhill cranes and learning about their biology and migration. Gary is a Research Associate at the Foundation and works on research, monitoring, environmental education, and habitat conservation projects for the sake of crane conservation. You will be driving yourself, and only six vehicles will be permitted per tour. Carpooling is encouraged. Bring water and snacks and plan for a few stops where you’ll be getting out of your vehicle to gather, observe, etc. This tour may go to areas similar to other tours, but the focus will be all about Cranes! CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $30 / vehicle, 8 to 10 a.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

BIRDING BENSON POND TOUR

Named for Malheur’s first “game protector”, George Benson, Benson Pond provides access to a diversity of habitat types, many of which are associated with the Civilian Conservation Corps era. Benson Pond provides open water for viewing waterfowl including duck species, swans, and geese; emergent vegetation good for finding Marsh Wrens, Sora, and the occasional mink; and the CCC era willows and homestead era cottonwoods provide ample opportunities for finding Great Horned Owls, a variety of passerines, and as a migrant trap the fairly regular appearance of wayward passerines. This tour leaves Malheur HQ at 8:00 and will provide approximately 1.5 hours of birding the .75 mile trail with Tara Lemezis. Tara is the Assistant Director of Adult Learning & Engagement at Bird Alliance of Oregon and has birding at Malheur for nearly a decade and has been leading trips to Malheur for Portland Audubon since 2019. VAN-GUIDED (you ride with us).

TOUR – $45 / person, 8 to 11 a.m.
Departs from: Malheur Refuge Headquarters, Crane’s Nest Store – 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, OR, 97721

DOUBLE O UPLANDS HIKING & PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Join us for a real llama hiking adventure. On this day-long tour you will have the opportunity to choose a llama companion who will carry your field gear. They will also be on the alert for wildlife as their sensitive eyes and ears will spot coyotes before you do. Their high-pitched alarm call will make sure you don’t miss it. You may assist with saddling and are encouraged to lead your llama during the tour. We begin by hiking along Goulden Canal watching for where ducks, herons, swallows, and water creatures. Then we climb the bluff above the lakes for an expansive view of the Harney Basin. Snowy Steens Mountain rises in the southeast while massive Harney and Malheur Lakes spread out before you. This is an awe-inspiring view that gives you a true sense of the magnificent breadth of this wild country. Clambering through the sagebrush topside takes you into the northern edge of the Great Basin fault block geology where pronghorn and wild horses roam. The ascent up and along the top is a cross-country route requiring study footgear and hardy lungs. You will climb some 350 feet at a 15% grade to an elevation of about 4500 feet and descend in a similar fashion.

Camera gear, scopes and collapsible tripods can be accommodated, but should be well protected against possible jostling. Small folding chairs can also be taken along. Travel distance from Burns to the birding site is about forty miles and is a birding opportunity in its own right. Bring snacks, lunch and drinks. Hiking experience is strongly recommended. A birding guide will join this tour for expertise! CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $100 / person, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

BOCA LAKE HIKING TOUR

Enjoy a leisurely 5-mile birding hike to one of the hidden gems of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Candace Larson, Master Naturalist with the Portland Audubon Society, guides you through this beautiful sub-basin of the Blitzen Valley, exploring the wetlands and surrounding habitats of the 600-acre Boca Lake, a portion of the Refuge normally closed to the public! You can expect an abundance of water birds and plenty of upland species as you walk the road that circumnavigates the lake. This is a terrific opportunity to combine birding and exercise with an adventure to a very special place. VAN-GUIDED HIKING TOUR (you ride with us).

TOUR – $95 / person, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

KIDS’ STORYWALK

StoryWalk® is a movement and literacy boosting project that places an illustrated children’s book, taken apart and displayed page by page, along a walking route in your community. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. The Harney County Library’s StoryWalk is in the park along the west side of the library, and it features a book about the life cycle of the Monarch Butterflies! FAMILY FRIENDLY.

ACTIVITY – Free, 9 to 10 a.m.
Location: Harney County Library, 80 W ‘D’ Street, Burns, OR 97720

BIRDING BY BIKE – HALF THE WHEELS, TWICE THE FUN

Interested in combining some moderate exercise with excellent Harney Basin birding? Join our guide, Karen Jacobs on flat, gravel bike rides along the Wildlife Parkway in Burns/Hines (Friday) and along the East Canal (Saturday/Sunday), at the south end of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. You will need to bring your own bike (and binoculars are recommended!). Layer your clothing, as the weather could change from one end of the thermometer to the other. Be sure to carry water and anything else you need to be comfortable on a 3-hour bike ride. BIKING TOUR (meet at the starting location).

TOUR – $20 / person, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Location: Malheur Refuge East Canal – meet at Page Springs Campground

ART SHOW & SALE

The Art Show and Sale offers high-quality work from local and regional artists. Located in the Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building throughout the weekend, festival participants have a wonderful opportunity to view and purchase original pieces of art, including wildlife paintings, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, woodworks and much more. No admission fee!

ACTIVITY –   Saturday, April 15: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

FIELD SKETCHING / JOURNALING

Join artist Tory Schmidt for a fun and easy sketching workshop to learn about and practice with materials and techniques for working quickly in the field. You’ll enjoy simple exercises to help with drawing accuracy of real life scenes and subjects, landscapes up close and far away, story telling through art, and keeping a journal of informative observations. There is no experience necessary to participate in a field sketching workshop and all levels are welcome. Tory was raised in Harney County and has been a professional artist for nearly a decade. Tory leads painting workshops regularly for locals and visitors. Participants will travel to a local residence that has diverse habitat and often attracts Wood Ducks, Hooded Merganser, and other duck species; songbirds and diverse raptor species. CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

WORKSHOP, TOUR – $20 / person, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

KIDS’ FAIR IN THE FIELD

Fair in the Field is a fun and exciting event put on by various agencies and organizations in Harney County. We will provide hands-on activities that will offer fun insight into the bird habitat in Harney County. This event will be fun for the whole family!

ACTIVITY  – Free, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Location: Harney County Fairgrounds Sale Barn – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

RAPTOR ID TOUR

After the Raptor ID Workshop, take your new found skills out to the Harney Basin. Matt Hanneman, Burns Paiute Tribe’s Wildlife Program Manager, will take you to visit some of the Harney Basin’s best raptor hotspots. This tour will travel from Burns to Crane along Hwy 78, Then you’ll continue along Hwy 78, south to Crane, then to “Raptor Alley” which travels along agricultural fields on The Narrows-Princeton Rd. VAN-GUIDED (You ride with us)

Tour-goers who attended the Raptor ID Workshop will have priority for seats available on this tour.

TOUR – $45 / person, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

BIRDING THE HOT SPOTS TOUR – SOUTH

If you are new to the area or just want someone else to do the driving and take you to all the “hot spots,” this is the tour for you! Guides will answer all of your birding questions and provide insight into the habitat needs of many of our spring migratory birds. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to quiz an expert and discover the best birding around! Family friendly. On Friday, this tour will be around Burns and to the NORTH. On Saturday, this tour will be around Burns and to the SOUTH. A different experience each day! (One to the north and one south on Sunday.) Led by retired (or almost retired!) BLM biologists Matt Obradovich and Rick Hall. Each has over 30 years of experience in natural resources, birding, and conservation. VAN-GUIDED (you ride with us).

TOUR – $45 / person, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

KIDS’ BIRDHOUSE BUILDING

Bring the kids and join the Harney County Lions Club for a birdhouse building workshop! All materials are pre-cut and provided by the Lions Club at no expense. Volunteers will be available to help with construction, though adults are encouraged to get hands on and help their littles. There are approximately 75-100 kits available, and they usually go quickly!

ACTIVITY – Free, 12 to 2 p.m.
Location: Harney County Fairgrounds Sale Barn – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

BIRDING P-RANCH TOUR

Located at the southern end of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, P-Ranch was once a local headquarter for the French-Glen Cattle Company. Join Tara Lemezis on this walk around the homestead era cottonwood and apple trees, the historic Long Barn, and along the Blitzen River. Tara is Portland Audubon’s Assistant Director of Adult Education and has been birding at Malheur for about a decade. The diversity of habitat types at P-Ranch make it particularly birdy and can provide opportunities to view nesting Bald Eagles, Great Horned Owls, mergansers, myriad songbirds, waterbirds, and waterfowl. VAN-GUIDED (You ride with us).

TOUR – $45 / person, 12 to 3 p.m.
Departs from: Malheur Refuge Headquarters, Crane’s Nest Store – 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, OR, 97721

FOREST BIRDS TOUR

Join us on a birding experience in Malheur National Forest, the 1.7 million acre forest is diverse and includes high desert grasslands, sage, juniper, pine, fir and other tree species, and hidden gems of alpine lakes and meadows. This diverse forest provides habitat for an array of bird species, we can hope to see (or hear) pileated woodpeckers, dusky grouse, Cooper’s Hawk, and many many more! Please dress for the weather, and wear comfortable shoes as we will be walking in uneven forest terrain. This tour is led by Melissa Petschauer, Harney Basin Ecological Coordinator for High Desert Partnership. Her career has been based in avian research and is excited to take folks on this tour. CARAVAN TOUR (we lead, you drive).

TOUR – $40 / person, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

URBAN BIRDING DROP-IN WALK

Looking for somewhere to bird between tours? Drop-in to the Burns/Hines Natural Trail. To access this trail you can drive north on Egan Rd from the Fairgrounds. Parking will be on your left just before Pierce St. If you want access to bathrooms, you can also drive through town to High Desert Partnership and park in their parking lot. From their parking lot you can walk to the Nature Trail by walking behind High Desert Partnership to Pettibone, then following Pettibone east to the trailhead (at the intersection between Pettibone and Peter French). This trailhead follows along the golf course and a left turn will take you to a viewing platform for the Burns Sewage ponds. The trail extends about a mile past the viewing platform, past meadows, shrubs, grasses, and Russian olives. Volunteers may be out and about on the trail to help with your birding experience!

ACTIVITY – Free, 1 to 3:30 p.m.
Location: Burns/Hines Natural Trail

CRANE CARAVAN

Discover the world of Sandhill Cranes with biologist Gary Ivey of the International Crane Foundation. This tour will focus on finding sandhill cranes and learning about their biology and migration. Gary is a Research Associate at the Foundation and works on research, monitoring, environmental education, and habitat conservation projects for the sake of crane conservation. You will be driving yourself, and only six vehicles will be permitted per tour. Carpooling is encouraged. Bring water and snacks and plan for a few stops where you’ll be getting out of your vehicle to gather, observe, etc. This tour may go to areas similar to other tours, but the focus will be all about Cranes! CARAVAN (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $30 / vehicle, 2 to 4 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

FIELD SKETCHING / JOURNALING WORKSHOP/TOUR

Join artist Tory Schmidt for a fun and easy sketching workshop to learn about and practice with materials and techniques for working quickly in the field. You’ll enjoy simple exercises to help with drawing accuracy of real life scenes and subjects, landscapes up close and far away, story telling through art, and keeping a journal of informative observations. There is no experience necessary to participate in a field sketching workshop and all levels are welcome. Tory was raised in Harney County and has been a professional artist for nearly a decade. Tory leads painting workshops regularly for locals and visitors. Participants will travel to a local residence that has diverse habitat and often attracts Wood Ducks, Hooded Merganser, and other duck species; songbirds and diverse raptor species. CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

WORKSHOP, TOUR – $20 / person,  2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

HARNEY COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM TOUR

The Harney County Historical Museum is one of the county’s hidden treasures. The museum depicts a personal history of the county by the people who have lived here. There are two floors of displays in the museum and the recently added annex has another room full of history and artifacts. Most visitors agree that there are few museums that match the personalized history that is depicted in this great space. The Harney County Historical Museum has exhibits featuring Fort Harney, the City of Burns, ranching history, the history of the lumber industry, Native American exhibits, wildlife exhibits and much more.

SELF-GUIDED TOUR – $3-5 person,  10am to 4 pm
Location: High Desert Museum – 18 W ‘D’ St., Burns, OR 97720

SATURDAY SWOOP + FOCUS ON FINLEY

This year, we’re changing up our pinnacle event! Like a swoop of cranes, we’ll be gathering to eat, socialize, have fun, and learn – with a “Focus on Finley”! As a biologist, photographer, writer, filmmaker, and public official, Finley spent his life tirelessly advocating for the protection of wildlife, especially birds. His efforts led to the creation of three National Wildlife Refuges in Oregon, and a fourth was named in his honor.

There will be food trucks and pop-ups on-hand and the bar will be open (no-host). The Swoop schedule includes a Bird Call Contest (you do the calling, the crowd does the judging), a “Name that bird(s)” audio challenge (we’ll play recordings collected from Malheur, you’ll try to ID the birds), and a round of William L. Finley trivia. Prizes will be awarded for the “Focus on Finley” trivia, the Bird Call contest, and the audio challenge!

We’ll also have a three-part educational component, delivered by the authors of “For the Love of Nature”, William L. Finley III (yes, Finley’s grandson!) and Carole Finley. Each of these presentations will be 10-15 minutes long and will cover topics associated with Finley and Malheur from 1908 to today. —- Read more about the Finleys and their book writing process, here!

Prizes will be awarded for the “Focus on Finley” trivia, the Bird Call contest, and the audio challenge.

Tentative:
5:15 – 5:45 Finely and Bohlman @ Malheur Lake 1908
5:50 – 6:10 Bird Call Contest
6:15 – 7:45 Water in 1935
7:55 – 7:10 Name that Bird
7:15 – 7:45 Malheur the Crown Jewel
8:00 – 8:30 Focus on Finley trivia

Join us for this casual, fun, and fascinating event! Game participation is not required, only encouraged!

SOCIAL, PROGRAM – $25 / person, 5 to 9 p.m.
Location: Central Hotel – 171 N Broadway Ave Ste. A, Burns, OR 97720

Sunday, April 14, 2024

BIRDERS CONNECT – COFFEE HOUR

This early bird gathering is designed to provide space for birders to socialize and casually bird while enjoying coffee and pastries. There won’t be a birding guide for this coffee hour, but Friends of Malheur volunteers will be on-hand to provide information about the refuge, give the low-down on recent bird sightings, and to help answer any questions you might have.

SOCIAL – Free, 6 to 7 a.m.
Location: Malheur Refuge Headquarters, Crane’s Nest Store – 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, OR, 97721

BIRDING THE HOT SPOTS TOUR – SOUTH

If you are new to the area or just want someone else to do the driving and take you to all the “hot spots,” this is the tour for you! Guides will answer all of your birding questions and provide insight into the habitat needs of many of our spring migratory birds. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to quiz an expert and discover the best birding around! Family friendly. On Friday, this tour will be around Burns and to the NORTH. On Saturday, this tour will be around Burns and to the SOUTH. A different experience each day! (One to the north and one south on Sunday.) Led by retired (or almost retired!) BLM biologists Matt Obradovich and Rick Hall. Each has over 30 years of experience in natural resources, birding, and conservation. VAN-GUIDED (you ride with us).

TOUR – $45 / person, 7 to 10 a.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

WONDERFUL WATERFOWL TOUR

Harney County is an important stopover for migratory birds, during this tour we will focus on the waterfowl that use this area as an important refueling site and resident birds that stay here to rear their young. We will look for the numerous species of waterfowl that use the flooded wet meadows in the Silvies floodplain. This tour is led by Melissa Petschauer, Harney Basin Ecological Coordinator for High Desert Partnership. Her career has been based in avian research with a focus on waterfowl.

TOUR – $40 / person, 7 to 9 a.m. 
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

URBAN BIRDING DROP-IN WALK

Looking for somewhere to bird between tours? Drop-in to the Burns/Hines Natural Trail. To access this trail you can drive north on Egan Rd from the Fairgrounds. Parking will be on your left just before Pierce St. If you want access to bathrooms, you can also drive through town to High Desert Partnership and park in their parking lot. From their parking lot you can walk to the Nature Trail by walking behind High Desert Partnership to Pettibone, then following Pettibone east to the trailhead (at the intersection between Pettibone and Peter French). This trailhead follows along the golf course and a left turn will take you to a viewing platform for the Burns Sewage ponds. The trail extends about a mile past the viewing platform, past meadows, shrubs, grasses, and Russian olives. Volunteers may be out and about on the trail to help with your birding experience!

ACTIVITY – Free, 7:30 to 10 a.m. 
Location: Burns/Hines Natural Trail

CRANE CARAVAN TOUR

​Discover the world of Sandhill Cranes with biologist Gary Ivey of the International Crane Foundation. This tour will focus on finding sandhill cranes and learning about their biology and migration. Gary is a Research Associate at the Foundation and works on research, monitoring, environmental education, and habitat conservation projects for the sake of crane conservation. You will be driving yourself, and only six vehicles will be permitted per tour. Carpooling is encouraged. Bring water and snacks and plan for a few stops where you’ll be getting out of your vehicle to gather, observe, etc. This tour may go to areas similar to other tours, but the focus will be all about Cranes! CARAVAN (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $30 / person, 8 to 10 a.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

HIKING THE WILD DOUBLE O TOUR

​Unique unto itself, the “Wilds” of the Double O unit of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are a blend of playas, dunes, meadows, lakes and ponds. Join Candace Larson, birder extraordinaire and Field Biologist with the Portland Audubon Society, on this adventurous hike to the Stinking Lake Research Natural Area. Be the first to explore an area on the Refuge where natural features are preserved for scientific purposes and natural processes are allowed to dominate! Hiking will include sections off-trail and on uneven ground. Plan accordingly. Please note that weather and road conditions in April are unpredictable; if the area is inaccessible, we will explore other Refuge hot spots. VAN-GUIDED HIKING TOUR (you ride with us).

TOUR – $80 / person, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR, 97720

LLAMA RANCH VISIT ON THE WILD GOOSE MEADOWS TOUR

Burns LLama Trailblazers mama and baby llamas live on a ranch located in the meadow lands three miles north of Burns, where birds and llamas mix in a tremendous spring delight. Curlews, ibises, and cranes, fly low overhead, while Canada geese nest on the haystack. Snow geese by the thousands gather in the fields. Amid the excitement, we present a hands-on three-hour tour during which you will have the opportunity to mingle with our female pack llamas; petting them, leading them through the obstacle course, and even taking a short hike with them. We will show you handling techniques including how to halter, groom and saddle these expertly trained pack animals. If the babies have arrived, you will meet them personally and have a chance to pet and hold them!

The activities provide great photographic opportunities. During the tour we will also present you with a complete background on the care, history, breeding, and uses of these fascinating animals. Collectively we have nearly sixty years of experience that covers all manner of llama activities, ranging from leading a 4H club, to training llamas to pull carts, and taking lengthy wilderness pack trips. The tour provides an excellent opportunity to answer your questions at length. CARAVAN TOUR (We lead, you drive).

TOUR – $50 / person, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR 97720

BIRDING BY BIKE – HALF THE WHEELS, TWICE THE FUN

Interested in combining some moderate exercise with excellent Harney Basin birding? Join our guide, Karen Jacobs on flat, gravel bike rides along the Wildlife Parkway in Burns/Hines (Friday) and along the East Canal (Saturday/Sunday), at the south end of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. You will need to bring your own bike (and binoculars are recommended!). Layer your clothing, as the weather could change from one end of the thermometer to the other. Be sure to carry water and anything else you need to be comfortable on a 3-hour bike ride. BIKING TOUR (meet at the starting location).

TOUR – $20 / person, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
Location: Malheur Refuge East Canal – meet at Page Springs Campground

ART SHOW & SALE

The Art Show and Sale offers high-quality work from local and regional artists. Located in the Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building throughout the weekend, festival participants have a wonderful opportunity to view and purchase original pieces of art, including wildlife paintings, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, woodworks and much more. No admission fee!

ACTIVITY – Free, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan, Burns, OR 97720

BRUNCH WITH THE BIRDS

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is a morning must-stop for every birder in the area during spring migration. You never know what will arrive to seek shelter among the small oasis of trees that surround the remarkable CCC-era buildings. Join Teresa Wicks, Portland Audubon’s Eastern Oregon Program Manager, for a walk of the grounds followed by a catered brunch hosted by the Friends of Malheur NWR at the Crane’s Nest Nature Center Pavilion along the Marshall Pond Trail. Participants should indicate dietary restrictions.

SOCIAL, ACTIVITY – $40 / person, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  
Location: Malheur Refuge Headquarters Lawn, 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, OR 97721

BIRDING THE HOT SPOTS TOUR – NORTH

If you are new to the area or just want someone else to do the driving and take you to all the “hot spots,” this is the tour for you! Guides will answer all of your birding questions and provide insight into the habitat needs of many of our spring migratory birds. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to quiz an expert and discover the best birding around! Family friendly. On Friday, this tour will be around Burns and to the NORTH. On Saturday, this tour will be around Burns and to the SOUTH. (One to the north and one south on Sunday). A different experience each day! Led by retired (or almost retired!) BLM biologists Matt Obradovich and Rick Hall. Each has over 30 years of experience in natural resources, birding, and conservation. VAN-GUIDED (you ride with us).

TOUR – $45 / person, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 
Departs from: Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building – 69660 S Egan Burns, OR, 97720

MALHEUR STEWARDSHIP WORK PARTY

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge gives us so much and this is your chance to Give Back with the Friends of Malheur Refuge! You have enjoyed two wonderful days of tours, how about an afternoon helping our Friends Group get the grounds around Refuge headquarters spruced up? Join our Stewardship work party coordinators Alice Elshoff and Donna Owens for some weeding in our pollinator garden, planting of more native pollinator plants, along with raking and cleaning up around the Cranes Nest Nature Center and Marshall Pond Wildlife Observation Trail!

ACTIVITY – Free, 1 to 4 p.m.
Location: Malheur Refuge Headquarters Lawn, 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, OR 97721