Black-headed Grosbeak at Malheur NWR, Oregon on 30 May, 2010 by Greg Gillson.
[Click to read all Memorial Day weekend at Malheur posts.]
An activity pursued by many birders at Malheur during memorial day--and throughout this time in later spring--is searching for rare birds. One-year old birds tend to migrate later and wander more widely than adults. Thus, many rare first-year vagrants are found during the Memorial Day weekend.
"Did you hear about the Hooded Oriole at Fields?"
"Yes, we just came from there and saw it! And did you hear about the Blackpoll Warbler at Benson Pond?"
Such are the greetings of birders throughout the weekend as they pass in cars or meet in the various oases.
While Black-headed Grosbeaks (female photographed above) are abundant migrants and quite pretty in both plumage and song, birders examine them closely at Malheur looking for the similar vagrant Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.