For the dedicated bird watcher, cold temperatures and a little snow aren't reason enough to stay in the house, looking out a fogged-up window.

It takes a true enthusiast to know that the diverse habitats around Prineville offer more than 250 species for year-round birding opportunities. Even in winter, there are plenty of species ready to be logged.

Near the east shore of Ochoco Reservoir you'll find deep-water birds like loons and the occasional sea duck, while the campground near mid-lake offers a chance to see shorebirds like the white pelican.

More waterfowl can be viewed west of town at Little Houston Lake and the area surrounding Houston Lake is loaded with Brewer's sparrows, sage thrashers and loggerhead shrike. Winter also is the best time to see short-eared owls roosting in the nearby trees.

Radiating in every direction from Prineville, driving routes will supply the bird fancier lots of choices, each with completely different sets of birds.

Some roads may become impassible with snow at times, but most areas are usually accessible.

Central Oregon outdoor people call Prineville "a terrific jumping-off point to a birding paradise." Get more information from the Prineville Chamber of Commerce at visitprineville.com or call 541-447-6304.

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@yahoo.com.