Malheur Musings
November 2022
Refuge staff are being joined by the Fire crew, BLM & ODFW colleagues, and volunteers to undergo a large-scale electroshocking carp removal effort in the Blitzen River. Electrical currents pulse through the cold water to stun the fish present. Common carp are removed and all other species are left to swim about in a slightly less crowded river.
For more on this, see the article below.
November arrived with snow this year. The store closed, our volunteers have left, the bird species shift ever so slightly, and we are reminded that winter and all that comes with it is on its way.

As it is with every year, November is a time for slowing down and reflection on the year as it comes to its close. And for heading into the holiday season with gratitude for all we are blessed with and all we are hopeful for in the year ahead.

In my role as Executive Director for the Friends of Malheur, I revel in the opportunity to reflect on all that we do, collectively, for the Refuge which we cherish.

Purchasing white-faced ibis transmitters for a region wide monitoring project
Purchasing carp telemetry equipment for ongoing research
Funding tree conservation efforts to mitigate risks and enhance habitat
Purchasing data loggers for flow monitoring of the Blitzen River
Sponsoring a Story Walk and the Summer Reading Program at the Harney Public Library
Partnering to coordinate/host the Annual HC Migratory Bird Festival
Funding a summer Biology Intern to support Aquatic Health research projects and more!
All of this and more was made possible because of YOUR support! What an incredible tribute to the landscape which gives so much to support wildlife and us in our quest to enjoy and appreciate it all.

#GivingTuesday will take place on Tuesday November 29th and kick off our Annual FriendsGiving Campaign to raise funds that will support our work in the year to come. Will you make our ability to serve and support the Refuge even STRONGER in 2023?
As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director

Those of us who enjoy wandering the arid landscapes east of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada know a secret about these places that is missed by many. Although dry by coastal standards, the emptiness of the Great Basin provides an absolutely essential pathway for huge numbers of migratory birds. And these birds rely on the region’s numerous terminal and often saline lakes – places like Malheur and Harney lakes.

These migratory patterns have persisted at least since the end of the Pleistocene Ice Age some ten thousand years ago, and during all that time the system has never been under more severe stress than it is right now. The problem is simple: the lakes are drying up – a change with profound implications for the birds that rely upon them. The causes behind the drying are anything but simple, however, but the primary engines of changes include human use (diversion) of incoming water for agriculture, decreasing precipitation, and warming temperatures, which lead to more rapid evaporation. Seeking a name for these combined phenomena, we often use the word “drought,” but that implies that the current problems are temporary and that a return to something more “normal” can be anticipated – an uncertain proposition at best. Read More
Conservation Corner
By Peter Pearsall/Photos by Dominic Bachman

As Malheur Refuge endures a prolonged drought that has intensified over the past two years, Malheur Lake has shrunken from 21,000 surface acres in August 2021 to less than 7,000 surface acres this year. Thankfully, Refuge staff and partners are finding a silver lining to these harsh conditions by making strides toward controlling non-native common carp in Refuge waters. Read More

FOMR is enthusiastically supporting these efforts with a team of volunteers.
By Peter Pearsall

In September of this year, windstorms damaged several of the iconic trees at Malheur Refuge, including an old cottonwood (Populus spp.) near the Crane’s Nest Nature Center that required professional arborist work to reduce risks of falling limbs. 

The cottonwood near Crane’s Nest Nature Center, before and after treatment Arborist Jon Brown arrived on September 15 to assess the wind-damaged tree. The front side of the trunk was completely dead and disconnected from the living back portion and the ground. He determined that height reduction was the first step and used a pole saw to reduce and/or remove the live branches that were tall enough to strike the Nature Store in the event of the whole tree failing. Read More

FOMR is proud of our role in helping to fund and facilitate this critical resource conservation and habitat enhancement work.
By Peter Pearsall
Photo by Alan Contreras

Weasels are short-legged, long-bodied mammals of the Mustelidae family, relatives of otters, martens, and badgers. At Malheur Refuge, the long-tailed weasel (Neogale frenata) is commonly seen in a variety of habitats; less common is the short-tailed weasel (Mustela erminea), though both are known to occur here. Read More
Refuge Reflections

last evening goodbyes
a refuge of volunteers
everywhere are friends

by Suzanne Simons
If you want to contribute a poem, photo, or other creative rendering to be included here please email us,
Volunteer with Friends
Making plans for next year? Why not volunteer?

Needed: Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store Volunteers are needed for summer 2023! Individuals are trained by and work with FOMR staff as they interact with the visiting public and carry out day-day store operations tasks such as running a sales 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 have access to full hook-ups at the volunteer RV park. Their 40' concrete pad includes a 'wayside' with a picnic table and room to set up an outdoor kitchen or camp chairs for taking in the sunsets.
All volunteers have access to bathrooms with showers, a fully stocked kitchen, a community room with DirectTV, WiFi, and laundry facilities.

Photo of Volunteer RV pads with sun setting by Sharon Vail, FOMR Volunteer
October'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.
October 24, 2022: Cedar waxwings switch from a diet of insects in the spring and summer to fruit in fall and winter. This adorable trio is all fluffed up to retain body heat. Photo by Dan Streiffert 
This post reached over 10,000 people on Facebook!
For more great content you can follow the Friends of Malheur on
Facebook and Instagram at Malheurfriends!
Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store
Reopening March 1st, 2023
Featured Book of the Month:

A History of Oregon Ornithology
From Territorial Days to the Rise of Birding

A new book just out from Oregon State University Press includes several chapters that mention Malheur and its environs. Edited by FOM board member Alan Contreras and two other leading Oregon bird observers, it covers early bird-related explorations beginning with the Lewis and Clark expedition and continuing through the mid-20th Century.

This includes chapters on Charles E. Bendire, who studied the birds of Malheur Lake and nearby areas while stationed at Camp Harney in the late 19th Century, and William L. Finley and Herman Bohlman, who worked to establish Malheur and other refuges. In addition, the life and work or Ira Gabrielson, Stan Jewett and Dave Marshall is featured. All of them were involved in making Malheur a modern and successful refuge.
Malheur HQ Visitor Center
See you next spring!
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 or need to RENEW? Simply visit OUR WEBSITE!

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
Current Membership Total: 980!
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge | 
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721