Malheur Musings
June 2020
American Avocet are a common sight this time of year as the forage amid the flooded fields. They have come to our region from as far as southern Mexico and many will stick around to breed and raise their young. Their slender, up turned bill is used to catch aquatic invertebrates as they move it gently through the water from side to side. FUN FACT: Female avocets will sometimes lay eggs in the nest of another female who will incubate them. This is known as brood parasitism.
Photo by Dan Streiffert
This spring has been nothing short of unique. A common question I get in the Nature Center is, 'Is the current water level is 'normal' ? My standard response is the only thing normal about Malheur NWR's lake level is its unpredictability from season to season and year to year. I know I'm not alone in feeling like 2020 has been a bit like that.

Aside from the birds, the most reliable thing I have experienced this spring is the passion for which, you - our Friends, have come together to support our organization and thus, Malheur, in such uncertain times.

Our #GivingTuesdayNOW and Nonprofit Matching Fund campaign goal was $8,500. This amount would offset the lost fundraising opprtunities of recruiting new Members and holding our Annual Friends Gathering & Auction in May.

You donated a total of $10,245.12

$7,341 of this total were made through the Matching Fund Initiative and will be eligible for up to 5% matching through Firespring and GiveSource. We can not thank you enough for the outpouring of support.

In the coming months you can expect the continuation of our Harney@Home virtual content and programming. We will keep sharing periodic Virtual Bird Tours (Youtube), monthly Malheur Trivia (Zoom), weekly facebook posts such as Mirgrant Mondays and soon to be announced line up of events for our Friends (VIRTUAL) Gathering!
As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director
Conservation Corner
By Peter Pearsall

With spring well under way and bird migration in full swing, Malheur Refuge would normally be heading into its busiest time of the year. During the COVID-19 health crisis, however, stay-at-home orders and nationwide closures of public spaces have kept most visitors indoors. As restrictions on travel and outdoor recreation are slowly scaled back, more people are keen to get out of their homes and enjoy the springtime scenery and wildlife.    READ MORE
By Peter Pearsall

The abundance of luxuriant spring growth at Malheur Refuge means plenty of food for resident lagomorphs, the black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) and Nuttall’s cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttallii). While both species live year-round at the Refuge... READ MORE
By Peter Pearsall

In the March issue of the Malheur Musings newsletter we called for support for this endeavor and several of you, our Friends, answered. Foremost in this response were several individual donations and one $200 contribution from the East Cascade Audubon Society, . With these funds we purchased the screens, associated hardware and set about adding this project to our Spring Cleaning stewardship work party which was to take place mid-March. READ MORE
By Linh Nguyen, FOMR Intern

The more I read about the refuge, the more I admire the rich history of the land. It was first the home of the Burns Paiute Indian Tribe. Seasonally, the Wadatika Band lived in caves, and near shorelines, where they hunted for fish and game, and gathered seeds and fruits among other things. The first recorded encounter of the Paiute Tribe with the remaining part of the world started with Peter Skene Ogden, a fur trapper from Hudson’s Bay. In their expedition, they passed Malheur, Mud, and Harney lakes, and when they entered the Harney Valley on September 6th 1845, Jesse Harritt, a diarist in the party praised:  

“As we advanced this morning the beautiful scenery increased; this valley is one of the most sublime places I ever saw; [...] the soil is rich and beautifully set with fine grass, intermingled with patches of sage; the mountains to the north in places are thinly set with pine and cedar timber.” READ MORE
Events & Announcements
Events have gone virtual until further notice. Stay informed and connected through this newsletter, our website and social media sights.
Participate in our Virtual Trivia night (via Zoom)!

Four Rounds, 5 questions each:
General Malheur Trivia
Bird Photo ID Round
Bird Call Audio Round
Bird Trivia

Form a team (2-5 ppl), pick a clever name and register today!

Questions? Visit the Facebook Event Page or email hosts:
Janelle, and Teresa,
Click on the image above to go on a Virtual Birding Tour of Malheur NWR Headquarters!

While non-essetial travel restrictions remain in place please enjoy our ongoing #HarneyatHome series:
By Carey Goss, MNWR

This year, in the face of school closures and the cancellation of the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival, the Wildlife Art Contest for youth went virtual.

Pictured above: Johnny Sword, 9-12th Grade 1st Place
Click on the image above to fill out a survey and help determine the details of our
2020 Friends (virtual) Gathering!
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.

Rattlesnake Post (5/2) Photos by Janelle Wicks
The Great Basin subspecies of Western rattlesnake is a common enough sight throughout the Harney Basin if you spend much time wandering. These snakes and their Northern Pacific counterpart are the only venemous snakes in Oregon.

The striking distance of a Western rattlesnake is approximately 1/2 of their full body length. If you encounter one it is best to back away slowly and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet.

The snake pictured here was found just yesterday along the Crane Pond Overlook Trail. It was long and gave quite a fright, but slunk away under this rock while giving an audible reminder that it is essential to stay on clearly marked trails and keep dogs on leash at all times. Aside from being safe practices, it is mandated by Refuge Rules.

BONUS: The Swainson's Hawk nest at the Crane Pond Trail is Confirmed! Please keep your distance. Swainson's Hawks are notoriously 'flightly' while incubating. Flushing the incubating adult puts the unhatched chicks at risk of abandonment.
This post reached over 5,300 people through Facebook! Follow our page, @Malheurfriends , to see more great content like this!
Membership Minute
The sustaining support of our members is more imoportant than ever.
 If you are unsure of your Membership status you can email us at today!
2020 Membership Appreciation

All New and Renewing Members will receive an exclusive FOMR Member 2020 clear decal.

Renewing Members that BUMP up a Membership level will receive a new Malheur BUMPer sticker. (Pictured below)

New and Renewing Members that sign up at the Patron ($200), Steward ($500) or Benefactor ($1,000) levels are eligible for specialty gifts! You can opt out of receiving your gift when you fill out your membership form online or in person.

Gifts will include Malheur specialty coffee roasted by Clawfoot Coffee Roasters in Klamath Falls and 1 or 2 FOMR hand-thrown ceramic Mugs by Deneen Pottery. Benefactor Members will also receive a copy of the Malheur Symphony on CD.
Current Membership Total: 744!
GIFT A MEMBERSHIP to the Malheur enthusiast and Bird lover in your life! Membership is a great way to keep up with and support the ongoing work of our organization! All you have to do is fill out THIS FORM with the recipient's name and contact information and they will be informed of their Membership!
Volunteer with Friends
Weekend Stewardship Activities

Weekend Work Parties on Malheur NWR in 2020! * PENDING*
  • July 31st - Aug 4th A joint effort between the Friends and Portland Audubon geared towards getting Sod House Ranch ready for it's Aug 15th opening date.
  • September 18th - 20th This Friends fall stewardship weekend is the perfect time of year to get some work done on the Refuge!
Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store
Unstaffed until further notice

The Online Nature Store is now operational and offering a selection of our favorite Malheur NWR and Friends of MNWR goodies*!
*Some product images are still being produced and will be posted soon
Stay cool in these super soft 100% organic cotton FOMR t-shirts!
These shirts are made in the USA and hand screen printed right here in Burns, OR. They come in Unisex/Men's (left) and Women's fitted (right) cuts. Both styles come in either Moss or Slate. $26 + S&H
Malheur HQ Visitor Center
Unstaffed until further notice
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge |  
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721