Malheur Musings
September 2020
Long-billed dowitchers are on the move. Fall migration has begun and with it comes the arrival of many shorebirds to stop over in the Harney Basin as they head south. Thousands of long-billed dowitcher are here. They are attracted to pans of water ~2in deep or less where they can be seen probing for invertebrates in the mud.
Photo by Dan Streiffert
It is some form of poetic irony that as the Friends of Malheur NWR were activating to support the worst Avian Botulism outbreak in the Klamath Basin in over 20 years, Ammon Bundy was making his way to speak at a private event in Klamath Falls.

Ammon's audience? A sold-out dinner for 200 organized by local ranchers and irrigators.

Our audience? The thousands of birds suffering and in need of helping hands to care for them.

By the time of their event on Saturday night, we were seeing over $7,000 in donations from those of you, our Friends and Followers, who were inspired to help the dire situation caused by low water levels in Tule Lake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges.

This money will be sent to Bird AllyX in the form of a Grant to pay for at least 2 Duck hospital interns and cover countless other needs.This community of Friends is strong, passionate, and generous beyond measure.

There is much to be said about the situation unfolding in the Klamath Basin and many people to say it. In addition to a recent story in the Klamath Falls Herald & News, you will find much information and some photos from Bird AllyX staff and volunteers in the articles below.
As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director
Conservation Corner
By Brianna Goehring

The crew of five recent Burns High-school graduates (including last year's intern, Ryan Roebles) learned quickly that each day out could be an adventure. No one ever knew if the access to the day’s plot would be a casual stroll through knee-high sedges, or an expedition navigating through 10-ft tall cattails. Among other monitoring-related activities, the crew clipped meadow vegetation from hundreds of sample plots. These samples are are now being weighed and sorted to get estimates of the amount of vegetation that grew this year. READ MORE and look for a longer account of their experience the next Newsletter!
By USFWS, Adapted by Alexa Martinez

"...No longer living near the borderland of southern New Mexico, El Paso, TX and Cuidad Juárez, Mexico I am not heavily exposed to the Mexican culture. Nevertheless, making these dishes always reminds me of my roots, where I come from and whom I am. It is also nice to share some of these with my staff in FWS and share with them a piece of my culture..." READ MORE
From the Front Lines in the Klamath Basin
Thanks to your overwhelming donations, the Friends of Malheur NWR original grant of $4,000 will now be $7,000! Our donation link is still open ( You can learn more about Bird AllyX through the content below and by visiting their website,
By Molly Russell

After some paperwork on COVID19 protocol, I started helping at the hospital. The day I started they had treated 633 birds. I helped release two white-fronted ibis and one black-necked stilt in the morning. In the afternoon I released more birds, mostly mallards, teals and gadwall. Some fly out of the boxes as soon as they are opened and others walk out timidly but soon swim off. There is always at least one that decides they would rather stay in the box where they feel safe. With a little coaxing they eventually walk out and investigate their surroundings. I have helped to release many birds but one was especially memorable. A black-necked stilt that was so happy to be in the water, he took a bath for a good ten minutes enjoying the coolness and freedom. This is what it is all about! READ MORE
"FOMR supports assisting the Klamath Refuges staff because Refuge people are a community that supports each other when need arises. Refuge friends are part of this wider community support for refuges because friends care about the Refuges and the wildlife they support." - Gary Ivey, Board President of Friends of Malheur NWR
Why I Volunteer by Polly Strahan

It is such wonderful work they are doing down there and I am just so happy to help in any which way that I can to help save those beautiful birds. Because of global warming there is less snow fall, this area counts on the snowfall in the mountains in the winter to provide water in spring and summer throughout the system. The Refuges were set up to provide water for farming and the Refuges. There is very little water this year... therefore there isn't enough water for the birds. The water they (birds) can swim and float in is shrunk up and it concentrates them in shrinking amounts of water where botulism outbreaks are likely.
A Happy Coincidence by Fran McDermott

With the botulism outbreak starting so early, lots of young chicks came in the first weeks. One morning I arrived to find January and Marie delighted about an unexpected event.  Processing the newly arrived patients, January put a Gadwall chick into one of the intake pens. Shortly after, she put an adult female Gadwall into the same intake pen. The chick let out a “PEEP” and ran to nestle with the female. It seemed like they were mother and chick – how unlikely is that with many dozens of patients coming in each day? 
"What a great gift and thoughtful donation.  This will go a long way to help the amazing staff maintain the high quality of work they have providing at the duck hospital.  Thank you!" - Greg Austin, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex Manager
"We are excited to announce we have hired 3 more interns, added 3 more 12' conditioning pools and outside predator enclosures. This has greatly changed our level of care and increased capacity. We also released over 115 birds in the last 2 days. It's amazing how quickly things have changed.
- January Bill, Co-Founder of Bird AllyX (8/31/2020)

Please follow Bird AllyX on Facebook and visit them at

We are honored to have long time Malheur enthusiasts and supporters, Alan Contreras and Sheran Wright joining the Board of Directors for the Friends of Malheur NWR. Click HERE to learn more about their background with and passion for Malheur that they will bring to the Board.
Programs & Events
We just wrapped up our week long Friends Virtual Gathering!
Now you can watch the Presentations on our YouTube Channel.
By Debby DeCarlo

First the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival, scheduled for mid-April, was canceled. Then the Friends Annual Meeting and Weekend Gathering, was canceled. As COVID 19 spread around the United States, people scrapped their travel plans and stayed home.

For those who love Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, many of whom make an annual spring visit, it’s been especially difficult. But the vital work at the refuge continues, and FOMR Executive Director Janelle Wicks brought the experience to us via a virtual series of programs on Zoom. Each presentation is available on YouTube which you can get to from our Newsletter (below) or Facebook page (@MalheurFriends). READ MORE
Kenn Kaufman Presentations

East Cascade Audubon Society w/ Dan Streiffert
This presentation was also performed for Eastside Audubon Society on 8/27/2020

While travel remains a risk for many we are committed to our #HarneyatHome campaign:
As of Monday, September 1st, there are 63 days to the general election on November 3rd, 2020. We believe that, as advocates for Malheur NWR, the Refuge System and Public Lands we owe it to the wildlife and wild-spaces which depend on us to vote in their interest. Refuges and other public lands are stewarded by the Federal, state or local government and as such depend on elected officials who will fight for their preservation.

Heading into the next couple months, as we begin to request and receive our ballots, it is critical to understand where our candidates stand on these issues. Visit to learn who your federal, state and local elected officials are and when they are up for reelection. Seek out the environmental positions and policies of the incumbents and their challengers. Share this information with your Friends and help to create a movement that centers environmental justice, social justice and racial justice. These issues are inextricably intertwined.

There are many wonderful organizations that are shining a spotlight on critical environmental issues from drilling in the Arctic, destruction of sensitive habitat for the construction of a US-Mexico boarder wall, or the dismantling of regulations meant to keep our water, air and soil clean from harmful contaminants. We will continue to showcase the work of these organizations here and on our Facebook page.
In response to pressure from wildlife and climate advocates, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have all ruled out financing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 

Now's the time to focus our attention on Bank of America – the last major U.S. bank yet to rule out turning the Refuge into an oilfield. Financing fossil fuel operations in the Refuge threatens wildlife, indigenous communities and the climate. Send a Letter Today!
August'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.

Covey of Quail (8/15) Photos by Peter Pearsall
Coveys of California quail weave their way among the high-desert shrubs and open woodlands of Harney County, clucking querulously and darting under cover at the slightest hint of danger. (Used as an adjective, “quail” means to shrink in fear.)
In Oregon, these birds are originally native to the counties bordering California and Nevada. Beginning as early as 1870, state game regulators introduced California quail to other parts of the state, and today they are found across most of Oregon in brushy upland habitats. They are year-round residents of Harney County, and are common even in rural developments. In Burns and Hines, Christmas Bird Counts regularly turn up many thousands of quail, which have become dependent on backyard seed-feeders to survive the harsh high-desert winter. 
This post reached over 2,800 people through Facebook and got 101 Likes on Instagram! Follow our pages, @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: 718!
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
We appreciate our Friends and know that much of what we accomplish in serving the Refuge can not be done without the physical presence of VOLUNTEERS.

Given travel and on-site work restrictions we have maintained a minimal presence at Refuge Headquarters since we closed the Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store on March 21st.

Despite much uncertainty that remains, The Friends of Malheur NWR Project Commityee will begin forming plans for 2021 and beyond.
If you wish to be considered for a residential volunteer position in 2021 please FILL OUT THIS SURVEY.
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
Is there anything better than delicious coffee in your favorite mug?
These Deneen Pottery mugs are unique, as every mug is handmade and glazed. Our Blitzen Blend coffee is roasted by Claw Foot Coffee Company in Klamath Falls, OR.
Malheur HQ Visitor Center
Unstaffed until further notice
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge | 
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721