A few hours east of Bend, Oregon, lies the town of Burns, Oregon, a long town grudgingly straddling State Highway 78. Burns shares its length with Hines, Oregon, though I’m not sure where the boundary is or if that even matters at this point.
Combined, the towns have numerous restaurants and store fronts, many of which are permanently closed. Those that are still open are open for breakfast (sometimes), then they close, and then they open again for dinner (maybe). Or they’re not open ever, even though the GIANT sign says they are open. Or their door is open, and you can walk in, but they’re not really open.
What are ya gettin’ at Burns?
When you arrive in Burns after driving all day from Salem, Oregon, and you’re hungry (and a bit grumpy) even though it’s only 4pm, YOU WILL BE DISAPPOINTED. I swore a lot out loud at this town.
If you want to shine a bright light on your sense of entitlement, head on over to Burns, Oregon.
What does this have to do with birding? We drove out to this area to attend the Harvey County Migratory Bird Festival, and were scheduled to spend all day Saturday doing a full day of birding with a group. We did not stay in Burns overnight. Instead, we passed go and stayed about 25 miles east in Crane, Oregon, at Crystal Crane Hot Springs, which was wonderful, and happened to be a bit of a birding mecca.
The alarm went off at 4:30AM Saturday morning, and all I could hear was pouring rain. Step 1: coffee. Step 2: shower. Step 3: get in car and drive back to Burns. Step 4: try to find a coffee shop that was open (just kidding, we were already Burns-savvy at this point and knew this would have been futile). Step 4: meet at Burns High School to find our birding group for the day.
And we’re off, to tour the greater Burns and Crane, Oregon, region, including parts of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Although the area lacks services to please my spoiled self, it shines like a Canadian diamond when it comes to birding.
You’ve gotten this far? Well, thanks. And here are my counts followed by photos. Migration time is underway, so I hope to be posting more often now.
New 2018 Oregon Species:
Amer. White Pelican
New Birds for 2018: 13
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 133