This image shows the phenomenon which is beginning to unfold now and for which the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is so rightfully famous–the annual spring bird migration. Fortunately the armed occupation by militants has come to an end, and the public will again be able to witness this event as in previous years. In the image the foreground waters are Malheur Lake, a large fresh water marsh, unique in the desert great basin, formed from the runoff from the Steens Mountain, visible in the background. Steens Mountain is the largest fault block mountain in the world, and its ability to trap water from the westerly winds off of the distant Pacific ocean creates this unique ecological treasure. The large gap in the mountain is Kiger Gorge, a glacier carved remnant from the last ice age. Visible on the island in the mid ground, settling in for the evening, are many species of birds: white pelicans, double-crested cormorants, white-faced ibis, ring-billed and Franklin’s gulls, avocets and black-necked stilts, shorebirds of various species, and numerous species of ducks with some geese and swan. Click on image to enlarge.