President’s Note; April


President’s Note; April

In the Harney Basin a single word serves aptly to describe April – “arrivals.” Let’s invest a moment to explore all that is about to come together.

The arrivals list begins with the sun itself. In late March our planet’s alignment with the sun passes through the moment of equinox, that annual moment when the sunlight we receive begins to warm us more than 12 hours each day. We all know the result – longer days and warmer weather. April often brings some late season cold snaps to the Malheur region, but the true chill of mid-winter is now behind us.

This warming brings our second arrival – water! As the winter snow melts on Steen’s Mountain to the south and the extensive highland regions north of Burns, the small rivers that flow into the Harney Basin and its terminal lakes swell with spring runoff. By all accounts, we’ve had good precipitation this past winter, and enough water is forecast to make it to Malheur Lake this season to flood its basin all the way to The Narrows and into Mud Lake. We’ve not seen such water levels in several years.

With the arrival of warmth and water comes our annual surge of migratory birds. This is, of course, the ultimate magic of Malheur. The refuge constitutes an absolutely critical way-station for the millions of birds which are making their way to their summer nesting grounds in the far northern regions of our continent. Other species, of course, are arriving here at the same time with the intention of spending the summer in the refuge’s wetlands and raising young.

In response to the arrival of the birds, another arrival surges into the basin. Migratory bird season is also peak season for human visitors. As readers of this newsletter know, the migratory bird show at Malheur provides a truly wondrous experience to those who seek it out. For this reason, April and May are prime months to visit the refuge.

On top of all this comes yet another key arrival – that of the staff and volunteers who make it possible for our organization to meet your needs. Since March 1st, Jill, our enthusiastic store manager, has been making sure that our Crane’s Nest store at refuge headquarters is open daily. And her success depends on the arrival of the first of our annual set of volunteers – the people who truly make our work at Malheur possible.

All these arrivals – warmth, water, wildlife, humans, and key staff and volunteers – come together to make Malheur Refuge the magical place it becomes each spring.

If your schedule allows only an occasional visit to Malheur, let me state the obvious – the time to come to Malheur for your annual visit is now. Jill and her volunteers are waiting for you!

– Wm. Tweed


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