Malheur Musings
March 2020
Early arrivals to the Harney basin include sandhill cranes such as this group that were photographed in early spring of 2019 by FOMR volunteer Dan Streiffert. Dan will be giving his Birding Malheur & More presenation to East Cascade Audubon on March 13th and again at the HC Migratory Bird Festival on Thursday April 16th. Hope to see you there!
Director's Message
It is bird festival season in our corner of the world. In mid-February I got to share our love of Malheur with the crowds at the Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls, OR. We ran into old Friends and made some new ones among the over 400 participants came and went through the vendor space throughout the weekend. This is beautiful timing for me to promote the upcoming Harney County Migratory Bird Festival which is coming up in mid-April.

I could not be more excited about this year's Harney County Mirgatory Bird Festival! Every day of the festival will feature some special representative of our Friends organization. On Thursday you can attend a Kenn Kaufman book signing or join FOMR volunteer Dan Streiffert for his presentation on How, When and Where to Bird Harney County . The High Desert Museum will present their Live Birds of the High Desert with handler and FOMR Board Member, Suzanne Staples. Saturday night you can see Kenn, FOMR Board Member, again when he gives the keynote presentation at the annual banquet. Throughout the weekend you could attend a tour with FOMR Board President Gary Ivey or volunteers Jay Galvin and Dan Streiffert. All the while, I'll be staffing the vendor booth at Burns High School. I hope you swing by and say hi!

Our little festival has grown in recent years. The effects of which you may have noticed if you tried to register at any point after 8:05 AM on February 10th. Many popular tours booked up within minutes! If you didn't get the tour you wanted, please be sure to call in and get your name on the waiting lists! There are always cancellations that need to be filled. If you don't get the tour you had your heart set on, we hope you still come out and enjoy the magnificant birding throughout the basin! Our festival planning committee is commmitted to ensuring that everyone, on or off tour, has a very birdy weekend. You can swing by Bird Central at the high school gym to check out the sightings list and pick up a birding map for self exploration! Not to mention, there are plenty of banquet tickets still available!

Spring migration is in full swing by festival weekend but it doesn't stop there! All throughout April and May are ideal times to visit the Harney Basin, travel down the Blitzen Valley or just have a nice long sit at Refuge Headquarters.

As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director
Conservation Corner
By Peter Pearsall

By Peter Pearsall

By Peter Pearsall

Ed Sparks, Wildlife Habitat Biologist at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, is moving on to a new position! Ed’s duties at Malheur were many—including conducting aquatic vegetation surveys, working with grazing permittees, developing protocol for integrated pest management, and much else—and he will be missed by all. Read more...
Turbidity Mesocosms - A Pilot Restoration Project

The absence of submergent vegetation and the minimal emergent vegetation existing in Malheur Lake is partially a result of the lack of available light to support development of aquatic vegetation in the system. The turbidity that limits light transmission through the water column is a result of wind fetch/wave action, phytoplankton abundance, and carp activity, among other factors. Read more...
On February 20th, FOMR President and former Malheur Refuge Biologist, Gary Ivey led a one-day wildlife workshop for refuge staff, biologists from other refuges (Modoc and Klamath Basin Refuges) and local partners (NRCS, Portland Audubon, Harney Basin Wetland Initiative and Roaring Springs Ranch). Presentations on topics included, among other things:
  • Wildlife needs and wetland management themes,
  • Wetland design and management strategies,
  • Malheur Lake restoration options,
  • Importance of private hay meadows to wildlife,
  • Ecology and management of sandhill cranes and trumpeter swans.

The day was wrapped up with a review of current management actions and strategies at Malheur and Modoc National Wildlife Refuges and Roaring Springs Ranch. We are proud to have been a part of bringing these stakeholders together in order to share this important information across the larger Great Basin.

Events & Announcements
Click on the images below to learn more about each event.
Where:   The Environmental Center , 16 N/W Kansas, Bend, Oregon 97701
When:  Thursday, March 19th. Social gathering time is from 6:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Programs begin at 7:00 p.m. and usually last until 8:30 p.m.
Cost:  Free and open to the public. You do not need to be a member of any group to attend. 
Presentation:  Birding the vast expanse of Harney County's 10,000+ sq. miles can be daunting as it is thrilling. Which birds are where? and when? Dan Streiffert, FOMR Friends and volunteer, has been birding and photographing in Harney County for 12+ years. This presentation showcases his approach to taking advantage of particular birding 'routes' that cover the diverse landscape and discovers the array of birds and other wildlife available. Dan will share tips and tricks for seeing particular species at different times of the day or throughout the year.

Executive Director, Janelle Wicks, will also be there and share a short presentation on the stewardship endeavors of this member and volunteer supported organization.
Upcoming Harney Basin Bird Walks with Teresa Wicks, Portland Audubon
  • April 19: Harney County Wildlife Parkway (Burns/Hines) | Terrain: flat, graveled road. Distance: 4 miles round trip
  • April 25: Malheur NWR headquarters | Terrain: mixed gravel and concrete with some hills. Distance: 1 mile loop
Membership Minute
Your Friends Membership Matters! If you are unsure of your Membership status you can sign up for a Friends Account and view your Membership or email us at today!
2020 Membership Appreciation

All New and Renewing Members will receive an exclusive FOMR Member 2020 clear, vinyl decal and bookmark. (Pictured here)

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: 807!
Volunteer with Friends
Weekend Stewardship Activities

Sign up for a Weekend Work Party on Malheur NWR in 2020!
  • April 3rd - 6th Benson Pond Stewardship party with Portland Audubon will involve some riparian restoration efforts through willow management.
  • May 1st - 3rd This annual spring stewardship weekend is a great time to get together with the Friends and get your hands dirty!
  • 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!

RECRUITING 2020 Resident Volunteers!
Do you enjoy spending time in the high-desert expanses of Malheur Refuge? Are you interested supporting the Crane's Nest Nature Store operations, improving Refuge habitat, monitoring wildlife populations, or providing interpretive services to visitors? Volunteers with FOMR do all that and much more.

Residential volunteers with Friends of Malheur Refuge are able to park their camper at the newly renovated RV hook-ups with access to a volunteer lounge, kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities. We require a month-long commitment of 24 hours per week. Our volunteers come away from their service with indelible memories, a renewed passion for Malheur Refuge and public lands in general, and (more often than not) some incredible photographs.

Spots are filling up fast but there is still availablity in the months of June through October! If you are interested sign-up HERE or email
2020 Volunteer Hours Logged: 73
Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store
The Nature Store at Refuge HQ is open Every Day 8AM - 4PM

The Online Nature Store is now operational and offering a selection of our favorite Malheur NWR and Friends of MNWR goodies*!
*Product images are still being produced and will be posted soon
Malheur Syphony CDs are STILL AVAILABLE!
This is the long anticipated recording of Chris Thomas's piece which was commisioned by the Central Oregon Symphony Association and premiered in Burns this past spring. ($15 + S&H)


FOMR Mugs - 2 syles, 4 colors (See Photo)
Handtrown in the USA - $24

Malheur NWR Cranes & Colt Patch - $6

Blitzen Valley Buzz by Claw Foot Coffee Company
6oz - $7.50 12oz - $14.00
Email to place an order for any of these items and more.
Don't forget Members get a 10% discount.
Malheur HQ Visitor Center
Monday - Thursday 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge |  
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721