Malheur Musings
June 2022
Rare bird alert! 🚨 Summer Tanagers more commonly encountered in the southeast but are found as far west at the CA Central Valley, so it was a treat for birders to see this individual at Malheur Refuge HQ recently! Fun fact about summer tanagers is that they are bee eating specialists. They will flycatch for their food and when they are after bees they will hit them against a surface to remove their stinger before eating. After they eat all the adults from a hive they will feast on the larvae inside!
Photo by Dan Streiffert, MNWR Volunteer
June is often underrated here at Malheur. Those in the know are the ones who show! Birding groups are showing up along with some familiar faces that come every year to see this spectacular transition from spring to summer.

There's so much to see and enjoy beyond the spring surge of migrants. Birds who breed here in Harney Basin are in various stages of reproduction and young rearing by June. Some birds such as owls and hawks are already raising their young while others like phalarope or orioles can still be observed copulating or nest tending! And of course, there are the occasional wayward migrants who show up and delight us all with the surprise.
Every new month is also an opportunity to welcome new volunteers and share gratitude for those who have recently shared their time with us. Dan Streiffert is back and already taking magnificent photos (see the summer tanager above) and our newest volunteer Julie has been a huge help already with recent school field trips. We love all of our volunteers, but a retired educator is indeed a special addition to our community! We love being able to help the Refuge welcome school children to the Refuge in the spring. (Pictured: Julie leads local 4th graders in a natural history lesson all about bird feet adaptations!)

The buzz and excitement of spring is blooming into the joys of summer. It may not be a time of year that you typically think to visit Malheur, but I strongly encourage it. You never know what or who you might see out on the Refuge!
As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director
Conservation Corner
By Peter Pearsall/ Photo of Blue Grosbeak by Sevilla Rhoads

Malheur Refuge is an oasis in the high desert of southeast Oregon, attracting up to 25 million migratory birds each year. With more than 95 percent of wetland habitat along the Pacific Flyway now lost to development, the Refuge is a crucial resource for birds on their globe-spanning journeys.

Some of the species found here are year-round residents, but the majority pass through on their way to other areas, using the Refuge as a stopover site. Read More
Meet Caden:
FOMR Sponsored Refuge Intern

Hi, my name is Caden Reed! I was born and raised in Huntley, Il which is a suburb of Chicago. I recently graduated from the University of Missouri where I studied natural resources science and management with an emphasis in fish and wildlife biology.
I will be working this summer as Malheur National Wildlife Refuge's Biological Intern. This is my first job after graduating and all together my first time in Oregon.
Some things that I really enjoy doing is watching sports, being outside, and some birding as well. 

James' Published Research
Last year we said farewell to Malheur NWR's Fisheries Biologist, James Pearson, as he took another job and moved to a bigger pond, so to speak. His long relationship with the Refuge lives on through his research. In May 2022 he became published in the journal Ecosphere!

By Peter Pearsall
Photo by Barbara Wheeler

The evening grosbeak is a large, colorful finch of northern conifer forests. Often found in large, chirping flocks, they feed primarily on seeds but also consume insects in summer, particularly spruce budworm, a tree pest native to northern forests.

In some years, Malheur Refuge is host to thousands of grosbeaks migrating to and from breeding grounds in montane forests beyond the Refuge. Other years, not a single evening grosbeak is seen. Read More
By Michele Wolski, Friends Volunteer
I had only vague memories of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge dating back 40 years when I committed to spend the month of April volunteering for Friends of Malheur. In one, we are watching a playful bobcat throw a small rodent up in the air over and over in the tall grass as the sun drops behind it. Another is not so glorious. It is me backing up to take a photo of a rattlesnake coiled on the cattle guard as the second snake, whom I had not seen, begins to rattle ominously behind me. Duly warned, I manage to jump away.

This visit is different. I am a newly retired high school science teacher who left the classroom on the cusp of the pandemic. I was longing to find a new place to explore with some unique natural history to challenge and absorb. My hope too was to connect with other volunteers; perhaps like-minded people who thought highly of the mission of protected natural lands. I wondered how retirement could replace some of the joys I had discovered in teaching. My experience at Malheur has provided all of this and more.

The picture above is of the April Volunteer cohort. These folks arrive vaxed, boosted, and ready to bond over their love of Malheur NWR and connecting with the visiting public! Michele is on the far right.
Member's Meeting
Monday June 6th 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Together we will:
Meet Friends Board Members
Elect Board Members
Vote for Officers
Enjoy a presentation by Carla Burnside
Participate in general Q&A
Play a little Trivia!
BONUS: A Chat with Author David H. Wilson Jr about his new book:
Northern Paiutes of the Malheur
Rarely has a history so widely accepted for so many years been so wrong, as that of the Northern Paiutes of Oregon. David Wilson traces each component of the false history back to the 19th Century misapprehensions and lies from which it was conceived, and forward to the calamitous consequences that it inflicted on these Paiutes.
Available Soon at the Friends' Crane's Nest Nature Store
Membership Minute
The sustaining support of our members is more important than ever.
If you are unsure of your Membership status you can email us at today!
Current Membership Total: 988!
Check out the new 2022 HOLOGRAPHIC Membership sticker!

Not a Member? Simply visit OUR WEBSITE, close the pop-up window and fill out the online form.

You can even set your Membership to Auto-renew with just the check of a box!

Prefer to send a check? Easy. Just fill out THIS FORM and mail it to us with your dues:

Friends of Malheur NWR
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721
May's Most Popular
Every month there is excellent content on the Friends Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Here we will feature the most popular post of the month.
May 16th - A classic Malheur scene: sandhill cranes with Steens Mountain as backdrop. 📸 by Dan Streiffert 
This post on Facebook reached over 17,700 people! Follow both of our pages, Malheurfriends, to see more great content like this!
Volunteer with Friends
Now Recruiting for 2022!

Needed: Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store Volunteers are needed for July-October 2022! Individuals must be comfortable interacting with the visiting public and carrying out day-day store operations tasks such as running a point of sale system, counting and stocking inventory. Volunteers also help to maintain the ground surrounding the Nature Center including filling and cleaning bird feeders, occasional light grounds keeping, etc.

Have your own Home on Wheels? Great!
Volunteers with an RV/Camper would have full hook-ups at the volunteer RV park.
All volunteers have access to bathrooms with showers, a fully stocked kitchen, a community room with DirectTV, WiFi, and laundry facilities.
Volunteer opportunities continue to be contingent upon and will be subject to any local, state, or federal health and safety guidelines. Volunteering may be cancelled at any point.
If you wish to be considered for a volunteer position please email Janelle,
Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store
Friday - Tuesday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Wednesday & Thursday
As Volunteer Staffing Allows

A sunny day in May at the Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store
Photo by Michele Wolski
Malheur HQ Visitor Center
7 Days a Week
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge | 
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721