Malheur Musings
March 2022
Greater white-fronted geese are in the Harney Basin on their way from their wintering grounds in California's central valley or further south to Mexico to their breeding range in the arctic. These long distance migrants are a common stopover in the agricultural fields of the Harney Basin and will soon be joined by large flocks of Ross's and Snow geese which have begun to arrive.
Fun Fact: Greater white-fronted geese are sometimes called 'Specks' due to the mottling or 'specks' on their breast.

Photo by Dan Streiffert
Greater White-fronted Geese began making their appearances throughout the Silvies Floodplain in early February. White geese are trickling in with Ross's Geese following Snow Geese. It is always a fun endeavor to find a mixed flock and work on finding the key field markings of each. Can you see a 'smile' on those? Can you tell the size difference between this group and that group? Not to mention the sheer joy that overtakes you when a mass lift off happens and their sound becomes the only thing in the universe that matters.

From there you may make your way to all the standard raptor nest sites and see who is out and about while their mate is hunkered down on some eggs. Maybe you will find the Great Horned Owl pair at Refuge Headquarters, Benson Pond, or over at the Round Barn. Perhaps we will be fortunate enough that the Golden Eagles will return to their nest site on South Harney Lake Rd. By April, the Red-tailed Hawks are certain to be tending to their nest behind the Visitor Center and the male is likely to be fussing with a rowdy kestrel who is also nesting nearby.

One thing is certain, March really is a marvelous time to be out birding in Harney County. There is so much life on the cusp of hatching into the world.

This year, that joyous anticipation is not limited to our feathered friends. I am thrilled to be sharing with all of you that I am expecting twins who are due Mid-March. I have been incubating these little chicks long enough and it is time for them to hatch! As I head into Parental Leave this will mean some operational adjustments for which we will be grateful for your patience and grace. Some things that we want to make our Friends and Followers aware of include:
  • The Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store at Refuge Headquarters will still open this month, but with limited hours until March 15th.
  • The Online Store will be temporarily suspended until our capacity can support maintaining online orders in a timely manner.
  • Mail will be collected and reviewed once a week, which will result in a delay of depositing checks and updating Membership renewals.
This spring is sure to be an exciting one and we hope to see you out here!

As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director
Conservation Corner
Meeting a few new faces at Malheur this spring!
By Peter Pearsall

Travis Miller is the new Supervisory Ecologist at Malheur Refuge. Miller has spent many years working in eastern Oregon and most recently has served as a Wildlife Biologist for the Burns District Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 
Miller grew up in Burns, where he spent summers as a teenager working for his father at the Oregon State University Extension Office. He went on to study range ecology at Oregon State University, focusing on hydrology and land management in watersheds. Miller’s graduate studies took him to Montana State University, where he focused on stream morphology and riparian health assessment. Read More
By Peter Pearsall

Born and raised in Utah, Bachman was immersed in wetland conservation from a young age, helping with his father’s work at the Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area. (...)
His previous positions include working as a Wildlife Biologist with the National Wild Turkey Federation, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Modoc and Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuges. Read More
Welcome FOMR's Crane's Nest Manager

Aurora, grew up in Atlanta, GA watching wildlife on nature programs. She received a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a Film Studies concentration and a minor in Visual Art from Eckerd College and an M.A. in Zoology from Miami University and Woodland Park Zoo's Advanced Inquiry Program. She's been published in The Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation for her research on owl behavior.She's trained and performed with free flighted birds of prey at Stone Zoo in Boston, MA and worked as a wildlife rehabber and environmental educator. Aurora loves the abundance and diversity of birds of prey in Harney County and engages in falconry, photography, videography and occasionally whitewater rafting.
Please join us in Welcoming Aurora the next time you stop into the
Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters.
Among North American birds, the unique color combination of black body and white head belongs to just one species: the white-headed woodpecker (Dryobates albolarvatus).

Like most bird species that use Malheur Refuge, this distinctive woodpecker is a seasonal visitor. In some winters, these forest birds descend into Harney Basin for a few weeks to forage before returning to coniferous forests north of the Refuge to breed in spring.
By Sally Works, Malheur NWR Volunteer & Friends Member

In April of 2019, at age 71, I strapped on my first ever pair of hiking boots and John and I headed out for our first day of volunteering at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. John was to be the volunteer handy man while I greeted people in the Visitor's Center. To say that month was one of the highlights of our lives is an understatement! We'd never been in that area and we weren't birders, so everything was new to us: avocets, ibises, bobolinks, curlews, the call of the Sandhill cranes and the winnowing of Wilson's snipes. Coming from the Portland Metro area where fields are constantly being turned into buildings of one kind or another, the “sense of seamless time” in the presence of the Refuge's unchanged, ancient expanses and endlessly glorious sunsets was deeply calming.
John and Sally Works on birding adventure along the Sandy River. Malheur may have inspired a newfound love of birding, but it doesn't end there!
A stunning Birdhouse replica of the Malheur NWR Visitor Center gifted to John and Sally by their daughter in honor of their 50th anniversary.
...It has not been a secret in our family how much we both love Malheur! So our daughter, Sarah, surprised us with this stunning birdhouse modeled after the Visitor's Center in celebration of our recent 50th wedding anniversary! When asked for the reasons behind the inspiration for this model, she said, “There are defining moments in a relationship where there is a 'before' and an 'after.' Malheur was such a significant time for my parents. I wanted them to have a reminder of the joy they experienced even when they aren't at the Refuge.” ... READ MORE HERE

Thank you, Sally, for sharing your deep appreciation
of Malheur NWR with us!
On December 31, 2021, the Friends of Malheur received a donation in Memory of brothers Jack (Above) and Bill (right) Martin. We reached out to the donor, Miles Roberts, who is a long time Friend's Member to learn more about these two remarkable men.
Lucky at Malheur NWR

Have you gotten Lucky at Malheur?
We want to hear from YOU!

Email with your favorite memory or photograph(s) of Malheur NWR and tell us what YOU LOVE about the Refuge.

We will use these heartfelt reflections, anonymously if preferred, to spread the love throughout this month and beyond.
Throwback Festival 2022
Planning is underway!

With Covid-19 still a deep concern, our event will continue being different than “normal”. We plan to offer several online presentations and workshops (like 2021), some go-at-your-own-pace IN PERSON activities (no van tours, or crowded indoor spaces) and even a few group opportunities – in the great outdoors, of course. Special opportunities for those who have purchased an annual membership (2020 or 2021) and have yet to be able to utilize it are also in the works.
Visit or follow @migratorybirdfestival on social media for updates and information over the next few months. We’re looking forward to your participation!

Thank you for supporting the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival and our community! 
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!
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 at:
Friends of Malheur NWR
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721
Current Membership Total: 1034!
February'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.
February 7th: An uncommon look at a very common and widespread species, the Brewer’s blackbird. Found using a variety of natural and altered habitats, from pristine wetlands to shopping-center parking lots, the Brewer’s blackbird is a highly adaptable species, which makes it very successful in our rapidly changing world. Photo by Peter Pearsall/USFWS #brewersblackbird #blackbird #highdesert #oregondesert #greatbasin #malheurnationalwildliferefuge #friendsofmalheur

This post on Facebook reach of over 10.200 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
The Crane's Nest Online Store is

HQ Store will re-open 7 Days a Week
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
on Monday, March 14th!
Malheur HQ Visitor Center
CLOSED Until Spring
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge | 
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721