BURNS, OR -- Harney County's Migratory Bird Festival gets underway today, and plenty of people are flocking there, partly due to the exposure the region received during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Chelsea Harrison, with the Harney County Chamber of Commerce, says out of something bad comes something good. "There is a whole lot of advertising about Harney County that has happened over the past few months. And, definitely the refuge is a beautiful place to see. I think a lot of people have always thought about going there, and now they've just decided to take the opportunity to actually come."
Some were concerned during the 41-day standoff that the festival wouldn't happen. But, Harrison tells KBND News not only is it happening, attendance is up. "It seems like about average was between 150 and 200, depending on the year and depending on who our guest speaker was, as well. This year, we're actually up to 250 and we expect more because we get quite a few people in who don't actually sign up for a tour, plus we max out on how many tours we can give."
The three-day festival occurs during the height of the spring sandhill crane, waterfowl and shorebird migrations. Organizers say attendees can view more than 100 species during the event.