The Oregon Terrorist’s Biggest Foe May Be Birders

Ammon Bundy and his band of terrorists have pissed off a lot of people since they took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, last week. Liberals, conservationists, and Black Lives Matter activists are all avowed foes. Now add another powerful group to the list: birders.

“Just a friendly warning from the birding and wildlife photography community to the Oregon terrorists,” wrote professional wildlife photographer Kevin Vang in a widely shared post on Daily Kos. “We are watching your every move, and we have been watching you for a long time.”

The Malheur refuge, it turns out, has long been recognized as one of the premier birding sites in the West. The wildlife refuge was created in 1908 by Teddy Roosevelt to ensure native heron weren’t extirpated for their feathers, then a fashionable item. Today, the 187,757-acre refuge is home to over 320 bird species, plus a few dozen mammals, too.

“Everybody in the birding community is quite outraged,” Vang says. His post struck a chord. The piece quickly moved to the top of the Daily Kos’ recommended list and since then he’s fielded calls from the BBC, CBC, and NPR. Vang says he’s surprised by the attention but believes his message is important. As a wild life photographer, he says that he consistently witnesses illegal activities in the wilderness, from trapping to poaching and arson.

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