John Day Fossil Beds

Marsha and I visited the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in the Painted Hills (Birding Oregon p. 34). This site offers a great combination of beautiful scenery, a museum with excellent fossil specimens, and, of course, a few birds of the sage steppe and rimrock habitats.

This skull replica graces the courtyard in front of the museum. Just above, several Cliff Swallows were building their mud nests.

The sage around the center held several Western Meadowlarks and Western Kingbirds

A pair of Say’s Phoebes had a nest in a shed by the monument headquarters, just down the road from the museum.

These birds would perch on a set of Mule Deer antlers mounted above the door before entering the shed to attend the nest. The fact that this bird is carrying food indicates that the eggs have hatched.