April Malheur Musings

What's the water situation? How big is the Lake? Will it reach the Narrows?

The picture above was taken by Shannon Phifer in July 2017. We have every reason to anticipate water reaching the Narrows this year!

BUT, WHEN?!? See below for an opportunity to make your own guess!

Greetings Janelle,

It's APRIL! My mornings are full of wonder and joy. I wonder what I will see. I'm overjoyed with every new arrival. I'm not the naturally creative one in my household, but for the last week I have found myself murmuring haikus to no one as I make the drive south from Burns to Refuge HQ. Here is a small collection of my morning musings...

Water spreading wide

The lake swells to new edges

Where will it go to?

Today it was geese

Fields abundant with their white

Tomorrow, Ibis?

Ferruginous hawk

Morning light shines where you sit

Proudly on your nest

Come over Wright's Point

Surface water, gleaming fields

Feel the pull of spring

Geese and Cranes feeding

Fields turning green beneath them

Harney County spring

Marshall Pond is full

It welcomes the weary wings

Who knows for how long?

It's not hard to be inspired by everything that Malheur NWR and its surround area has to offer our senses. These places give us so much in the way of wonder and joy and it is part of my job to find ways for us to Give Back!

In that spirit, I have two exciting announcements this month.

The Hines Pine Mill House,

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative,

and Calamity Butte Guide Services

joined us as our 2024 Earth Day Oregon Business Partners!

We are proud to have their support!

YOU can celebrate Earth Day all Month too. Sign up for a Volunteer Stewardship Weekend or plan your next Malheur outing!

When will the water reach The Narrows? Your guess is as good as mine!

Enter a Guess for a chance to WIN!

Every $5 is eligible for a guess at when the water from Malheur Lake will reach The Narrows. Want to increase your odds? Increase your donation!

Click to ENTER!

In Service to and Celebration of Malheur,

Janelle Wicks

Executive Director

President's Note - April

Written by Wm. Tweed

In the Harney Basin a single word serves aptly to describe April – “arrivals.” Let’s invest a moment to explore all that is about to come together.

The arrivals list begins with the sun itself. In late March our planet’s alignment with the sun passes through the moment of equinox, that annual moment when the sunlight we receive begins to warm us more than 12 hours each day. We all know the result – longer days and warmer weather. April often brings some late season cold snaps to the Malheur region, but the true chill of mid-winter is now behind us. Read More

Conservation Corner

Resist-Accept-Direct; A Framework for Resource Management Under Climate Change

Written by Peter Pearsall

Federal resource managers are increasingly embracing a forward-thinking framework to confront the challenges posed by climate change. Recognizing that climate change will continue to threaten ecosystems now and into the future, federal resource management agencies have proposed the Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD) framework, signaling a paradigm shift in conservation strategies. 

The RAD framework, developed collaboratively by prominent agencies including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and U.S. Forest Service, offers a nuanced approach to wildlife management in the face of rapid environmental transformations. Instead of focusing primarily on restoring habitats to historical conditions, the RAD framework prioritizes adaptation to future landscapes. 

At its core, the framework offers three distinct pathways for conservationists to consider: Resist, Accept, and Direct. Read More

AiR Program; A Reflection

Written by Janet Stuart

For two enriching weeks, I had the privilege of serving as the Friends of Malheur NWR 2024 Artist in Residence, teaching the eager children of Harney County how to create art that celebrated birds. Student artwork will be displayed in town during the annual Bird Festival.

Carey Goss, Wildlife Specialist for Malheur NWR, and I teamed up to teach elementary students at Slater Elementary and at each of the rural schools across Harney County. These schools can span 100s of miles from Seneca in the north to Fields in the south with some outpost schools serving as few as four children. Read More

Follow That Swan!

March Update by Gary Ivey, PhD.

Here’s an update on the recent locations of seven Trumpeter Swans marked on Malheur Refuge’s Benson Pond in February 2023 with GPS-GSM neck collars to track their migration. 

One of the collars (@19) has not transmitted data since late August when it remained on a small wetland in west-central Alberta, near Goodfare. Here’s a summary of the travels of the other 6: Read More

Malheur Lake Update

Written by Alexa Martinez, MNWR Wildlife Biologist

After a long winter break of no lake updates, we are slowly starting to get visitors at headquarters and seeing water in the far distance from 205, so I guess it’s time once again to bring back the episodes oooooooof…..HOW BIG IS MALHEUR LAKE?!!!!


This episode is sponsored by the 2024 Migratory Bird Festival where we welcome all levels of birding skills and interest to enjoy the wonderful spring migration here in Harney County! As a friendly reminder please remember:

  • If you are birding please pull off the side of the road as best you can without getting stuck,
  • Please put your hazard lights ON,
  • Do not go past closed area signs (remember there might be birds starting to nest; just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there!),
  • and lastly, as you all are strolling through the refuge please make sure your dogs are on leashed at all times. 

Now to the real thing you all have been waiting for!!! As of March 19, 2024, Malheur Lake is around 30,795 acres!!! Read More

Species Spotlight: American Wigeon

Written by Peter Pearsall

The American wigeon (Mareca americana) is a medium-sized dabbling duck commonly found in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, ponds, lakes, and estuaries across North America. Large flocks of these gregarious ducks enliven Malheur Refuge’s wetlands with their breezy whistling during spring and fall migration. 

Adult males have a mottled chestnut-colored head with a green stripe extending from the eye to the back of the head. A crown of white above the green stripe gives rise to one of this species’ nicknames: “baldpate”. Read More

Volunteering with Friends

Stewardship Volunteering in 2024

Sunday April 14th: Bird Festival gives back...

After you have spent the weekend enjoying all that the Harney Basin and Malheur NWR have to offer this is your chance to get your hands dirty and give back a little! See the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival registration to sign-up!

MAY 17th - 19th: Spring Spruce-up REGISTER HERE

General groundskeeping support at Refuge Headquarters including help w/ xeric landscape implementation and volunteer campground phase 2. There's a lot to do and FREE housing!

AUGUST 9th - 11th: Historic Sod House Ranch Stewardship

Help clean the grounds and set up this historic site for its annual public open season from August 15 - October 1.

SEPTEMBER 13th - 15th: Trail Stewardship

Assisting with the connection of the River Trail and the Restoration Trail for the improvement of the Blitzen River Trail from P Ranch north.

OCTOBER 18th - 20th: Work for the Wild

Walking for the Wild while you work! Barnes Springs Homestead clean-up and barbed wire removal.

Housing will be provided for FREE to volunteers at The Malheur Field Station or P Ranch.

Registration for these Stewardship Weekends will open in the months to come. In the meantime, if you have any questions please email friends@malheurfriends.org


Be sure to check out the incredible opportunities below and see our website's event calendar for more. Click on the images below to learn more about these programs and sign-up!

Upcoming Presentations

Click on each program below to sign up on Zoom or mark your calendars and plan to join us in person at the Harney County Community Room at 484 N Broadway Ave, Burns OR.

May 2nd: An Exploration of Malheur Lake Ecology, Research, and Restoration 

Dominic Bachman, MNWR Aquatic Biologist

June 6th: Nature Education Matters at Malheur

Carey Goss, MNWR Wildlife Specialist

July 11th: Land, Water, and Air; Working at the intersection for birds

Dr Teresa 'Bird' Wicks, Bird Alliance of Oregon Eastern Oregon Biologist

Watch this space, there is more to come!

Click Here - Tickets are on sale NOW!

Nestled in southeastern Oregon's high desert at the northern end of the Great Basin, this mid-afternoon concert is at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Princeton, Oregon. The piano will be situated on the North lawn of the visitors area. Concert check-in opens at 1:00 pm, and the performance begins at 2:00 pm.

Spring Friends Event | Saturday June 1st, 2024

Please join us for this annual event! This is a casual opportunity to experience Malheur alongside knowledgeable volunteers who will be stationed at historical sites and birding hotspots.

Preregister to help us plan for Lunch!

If you have questions or want to volunteer as a docent or grillmaster please email friends@malheurfriends.org

View presentation videos on FOMR's YouTube Channel
For more Events and Programs Visit FOMR's Calendar

Do you live in Central Oregon?

Do you LOVE Malheur National Wildlife Refuge?

Do you get excited about EVENT PLANNING?

Yes? Yes? Yes?!? - We NEED You!

Our Fall Fundraising Event will be on Saturday October 5th, and we are putting together our planning committee now! If you are interested in helping us plan the official celebration of FOMR's 25th Birthday please email Janelle, friends@malheurfriends.org

March'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.

March 11th, 2024: The Silvies River drains more than 1,200 square miles of northern Harney County, reaching its terminus at Malheur Lake. It is a vital lifeline in this semi-arid high desert country.

Photo of Silvies River from above by Peter Pearsall

#silviesriver #highdesert #oregondesert #greatbasin #malheurnationalwildliferefuge #friendsofmalheur

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 friends@malheurfriends.org today!

Current Membership Total: 974

2024 New Members: 54!

Not a Member or need to RENEW?

Simply visit OUR WEBSITE!

Prefer to send a check? Easy.

Fill out THIS FORM and mail it with your dues to:

Friends of Malheur NWR

36391 Sodhouse Lane

Princeton, OR 97721

The Sandhill Crane Society

Any supporter who contributes $1,000 or more through Membership dues and/or donations throughout the year will become a Member of this program.

Monthly giving makes becoming a Member easy! Set up a monthly donation of $85 and become a 2025 Sandhill Crane Society Member! Email Janelle, director@malheurfriends.org.

Learn More about the Sandhill Crane Society

Your Business can support Malheur NWR by joining our Business Alliance Program!

Questions? Email us. Friends@malheurfriends.org

Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store

8:00 AM - 4:00 PM | 7 Days/Week

Have you heard about the NEW Finley book?!? With rave endorsements from within the Fish & Wildlife Service and the Birding Community it comes highly recommended!

You can get your copy AND support the Friends of Malheur NWR at the same time - Order online today!

The store has all your old favorites and a SLEW of new inventory. When you find yourself at Refuge Headquarters please stop in to check it out, say Hi to our Volunteers, and meet our Manager, Jill!

Shop Crane's Nest Online

Malheur HQ Visitor Center


8:00 AM - 4:00 PM | 7 Days/Week

New Member      Sign-up
Renewing Member Sign-up
Make a Donation Today
Visit our Website!

Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge



36391 Sodhouse Lane

Princeton, OR 97721 


Tax ID #: 93-1261322


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