Hundreds of birders are flocking to Harney County for the annual Migratory Bird Festival that starts Friday. The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters remains closed after the 41-day armed occupation this past winter, but the rest of the refuge is open.
Each spring hundreds of thousands of birds migrate through Harney County. The birders follow.
Chelsea Harrison directs the Harney County Chamber of Commerce. She said an upside of the occupation is that it attracted new birders and visitors for the three-day festival. Registration is up significantly from last year.
"The name was out there, and it did help people realize that there's a beautiful refuge here," said Harrison.
OPB reporter Amanda Peacher spoke with All Things Considered host Kate Davidson about the festival and what this year's gathering means. Listen to their full conversation by clicking play in the audio player at the top of this article.