Malheur Musings
October 2022
"We were just eating lunch at tables by nature store. Flash of yellow flew into lowest branch of cottonwood over pollinator garden. Intensely golden-yellow front and entire head, bluish green back, white undertail. Long bill, no eye-ring, no dark hood. Snapped a few crummy photos before it flew up into cottonwood behind store (SW of building)."
First Report (OBOL) and photo of Prothonotary Warbler by Nancy Stotz
Surprises. Some are fun and exciting, while others are troublesome. You just never know. That is the nature of surprises, and it goes without saying that life is FULL of them.

Recent surprises on the Refuge have been the consistency of one, maybe two, California Scrub-jays. These birds usually spend their time closer to town rather than Refuge HQ. Just this week we were all surprised and delighted by the presence of a prothonotary warbler. We had hopes, after one had been sighted last month at Roaring Springs Ranch, but still a wonderful surprise!

Of course, we have also been surprised by the impact of recent wind events. The homestead era trees across the Refuge are taking sustained hits and not always able to withstand the intense pressure on their aged bodies. Last month a cottonwood just outside the Crane's Nest Nature Store relented and began to split.
Though spontaneous in its timing, hence the surprise, events like this one have been predicted in the Refuge Tree Inventory & Risk Assessment Report. Fortunately, the arborist who conducted that work happened to be heading through Harney County with tree gear in tow the day this tree was cracking. Like a hero of sorts responding to the call, Jon showed up at Refuge HQ within hours to help safely bring the tree down. More on this in NEXT month's issue of our newsletter.

Now, in an effort to reduce untimely surprises across the Refuge we are working with Refuge to fund a larger effort to reduce the risk of other large, failing trees. With intention, we can reduce the crowns of many 'risky' trees that would threaten historic buildings or public access areas. And with extra care, we can retain and support as much tree biomass as possible to support the needs of diverse wildlife.

As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m William Tweed, recently elected board president of the Friends of Malheur. I’m honored to have been tapped for this job by my fellow board members, and I’m looking forward to contributing to the continued success of this important organization.

Who am I, you’re entitled to ask? For the past six years, my wife and have lived in Bend. Before that, for many years, we lived in or around Sequoia National Park, the southernmost of the several national parks that protect the most scenic parts of California’s spectacular Sierra Nevada mountain range. There, I pursued a career with the National Park Service. In my final position, I led the park’s educational and partnership programs through a decade of challenges. Read More
Conservation Corner
By Beth Boos, LSU Master's Student

In September, I finished the last of my fieldwork for my master’s project on Malheur Lake. It has been an exciting growing season out on the lake this year, and we have seen a boom in vegetative growth— including annuals, perennials, and vegetatively-producing perennials (plants with rhizomes). As cooler weather rolled in, some areas of the lake that have been lacking vegetation historically are seeing quick growth of cattail. The southern portion of the lake has been filled with coyote willow, which is a plant that does not have a recorded history in the last several decades. Observing the lake as it changes every day, week, and month has given me an insight to the influencing factors of vegetation growth and establishment. Read More

FOMR proudly supported this project by supplying the trail cameras used to conduct photo monitoring. Thanks to Beth for sharing some of the candid camera images of wildlife that she captured during her study.
By Rebecca Pickle

I got the Malheur Wildlife Refuge seasonal job in the spring of 2020 to work on a water nutrient project with US Geological Survey (USGS) being the lead. Along with nutrients I had heard that the refuge hosts a program that involves multiple partners to round up common carp and remove them from the Donner und Blitzen River. In August, the carp removal effort commenced, and we removed 10,229 lbs of carp from the river that year. Since then, I would return for two more seasons thanks to the awesome supervisors and partners. In 2021, to say the season was busy would be an understatement. There were three major projects on Malheur Lake that I was a part of. These projects included a USGS turbidity mesocosm study, a carp telemetry study, and a graduate student emergent vegetation study. Read More
By Peter Pearsall
Photo by Calley Lovett

For many years, visitors to Malheur Refuge in the spring and summer could stop along Highway 205 to catch an unobstructed (if distant) view of a ferruginous hawk pair nesting in a lone juniper tree on private ranchland outside of the Refuge. The nest was well known to birdwatchers and photographers; many paid annual visits to the juniper to check on the hawks. Read More

We put out the call and YOU answered! Check out this collection of images and memories from observing the Hwy 205 Ferruginous Hawk Nest.

Photo featured here is from 2012. Thank you, Dan Streiffert for sharing this image.

Additional thanks to Calley Lovett, Amy and David Dessert, Joella Arment, Bill Ray, and Hannah Kornbrath for sending in pictures of the nest to share with all of you! See More
Refuge Reflections

Young hawk balances
on nest's edge, windy teeter
earth, humanity

by Suzanne Simons
If you want to contribute a poem, photo, or other creative rendering to be included here please email us,

32 Refuges from across the country are hosting a Walk for the Wild 5k that you can complete Your Way. Join us in person or participate virtually. Either way, registration is FREE and any donation you contribute or raise from friends and family will go directly to the Friends of Malheur NWR to support on the ground stewardship activities.

3 Ways to Participate:
  1. Click on the image or header above to Register and Join Team Friends of Malheur NWR. Then join us in person at Refuge HQ on 10/9/2022 or complete your 5k independently from wherever you are!
  2. Click on the image or header above to make a Donation to our Team. Help us come out on top and spread the word about Malheur NWR in this national campaign!
  3. Share the linked website above or our Facebook event to encourage others to 'Move for Malheur' and support our mission through donations.

Want SWAG? Better order soon to get your gear in time for Refuge Celebration Week. Orders placed by September 16th should arrive by October 8th! Order HERE!

BONUS: All participating Teams are eligible to receive a portion of a Matching Fund that is being raised by the Public Lands Alliance! Their goal is $100,000 - the more you give, the more Malheur gets!
Volunteer with Friends
Looking for something fun and purposeful to do THIS WEEKEND?
Join us for the fall South End Stewardship work party just in time to kick off Refuge Celebration Week!
Volunteers will tent or car camp at P Ranch with access to the bathroom. Everyone is encouraged to bring appropriate layers, reusable water bottles, your favorite work gloves, etc. Water and additional personal protective equipment will be provided. All volunteers must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination as work will be conducted in close quarters.
To Join email
Making plans for next year? Why not volunteer?

Needed: Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store Volunteers are needed for 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
If you wish to be considered for a volunteer position please email Janelle,
September'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.
September 23, 2022: An interesting view of a bird that rarely leaves water. The pied-billed grebe is a common and widespread species in the Americas, where it can be found diving for small freshwater fish, amphibians, and arthropods across much of the United States and Canada down into South America. Photo by: Lori Norton 

This post reached 5,300+ people on Facebook and 99 'Loved it' on Instagram!
For more great content you can follow the Friends of Malheur on
Facebook and Instagram at Malheurfriends!
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: 983!
Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store
7 Days a Week
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Featured Book of the Month:

Where Land and Water Meet

By Nancy Langston

We are thrilled to have this book in stock at the Crane's Nest Nature Center and Store. We hope you pick up a copy next time you stop by!
Malheur HQ Visitor Center
NOW OPEN - as Staffing allows
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge | 
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721