This weekend, hundreds of birders flocked to Harney County for the 35th annual migratory bird festival. It’s been about 2 months since the armed occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge ended. Eugene’s Noah Strycker was at the festival.
Strycker travelled around the world last year and broke the record for a big year of birding-- He counted 6,042 different bird species. Stycker says to be at Malheur feels like a homecoming.
Strycker: “Malheur is my own personal birding spot in the universe and it continues to be.”
Strycker discovered his love of birding as a young teen at the refuge. He was curious to see how it looks after the occupation.
Strycker: “It’s almost like it didn’t exist when you’re just going around birding. I know it’s had affects in the community and that kind of thing but spring brings this sense of renewal and if you know where to look you can see some of the signs of the occupation.”
The refuge headquarters are still closed, for example. Strycker says the good thing that came out of the occupation is renewed interest in the refuge. The bird festival had record attendance this year.