Why Malheur in June? The flocks of birds and birders often prefer Malheur in May. Many landbirds are migrating through, the mosquitoes are not usually dominant yet, wildflowers have begun to bloom, the days are long enough for twelve-hours of birding. But, yet, I think of early June as the perfect time to be here. And I have a single, concrete, though fluffy, reason for that preference.
Whether cloud or clear, windy or calm, the sky becomes a performance space. Whether single or in talkative flocks, the Common Nighthawk is back at this time and staging the annual whirlwind tour of the Malheur Basin.
In a bird-rich place like Malheur there are many fine aerialists. The silent White Pelicans open their large black and white wings to ride lazily on solar-powered updrafts. A hundred or more may circle, rising ever higher, sun glinting off the snowy wings that gleam like…
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