This adult owl and insert chick photo were taken in June of 2004 during a visit Jeanette and I took with a group of birders to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon. The owls were in the huge cottonwood trees in the yard of the refuge headquarters. The very yard were armed protesters now have their unwelcome campfires burning. All the smoke and commotion I'm sure has turned this serene setting into an ugly place for any wildlife that has called the refuge headquarters home. A large pond circled with cattails and tules used by resident and migratory water fowl sets in view of these cottonwood trees. The refuge headquarters office and visitor's center sits just above the trees and pond. The beautiful stone building was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's, yet today it is occupied illegally by people who broke into the facility, have helped themselves to offices, computers, and the private files of employees. They have helped themselves to equipment, cut fences, and even constructed a road. They plan to live there rent free, until the refuge is given over to some undisclosed ranchers. I don't expect they will pay for their electricity bill, they have a record of not even paying their grazing fees. I feel terribly upset about this. I wrestle daily with feelings of anger and resentment towards the persons who lack any respect for law and order. I know I speak for thousands of birders when I say, we want our refuge back. And I speak for the voiceless once abundant wildlife--WE WANT OUR REFUGE BACK!