The Narrows are a “narrow” stretch of water connecting Malheur Lake to the east with Mud and Harney Lakes to the West. Productivity as a birding spot depends on the water level and varies greatly.
The Narrows is 24 miles south of burns. To reach this area from Burns, take E Monroe Street (Hwy 78) out of Burns. Travel two miles and turn right on Oregon Highway 205. Head south on Hwy 205 for 22.3 miles to the Narrows bridge and parking pullouts.Directions
Habitat and Birds
Although Malheur and Harney Lakes are relatively permanent water sources, the water levels fluctuate greatly from year to year and season to season. When Malheur lake fills, it overflows into Mud and Harney lakes by way of The Narrows. In extreme wet years, the water level can reach nearly to the road. However, some years are so dry that The Narrows never receives water. The Narrows can be an avian hotspot or an avian dead spot depending on the water level.
Pullouts are provided at The Narrows so you can view the wildlife without obstructing traffic. Use the pullout on the west side to view Mud Lake, or pull over to the east side to view the channel that makes up the Narrows. This can be a great spot for fall shorebirds and one of the best places to find Clark’s Grebes if the water levels are high enough.
The sage flats on both sides of the road can be productive for sage species like Sagebrush Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, and Western Meadowlark. Look for Horned Lark as the sage gives way to dry scrub.
Burrowing Owls are sometimes seen on fence posts along this stretch.