Malheur Musings
November 2021
There has been much drama and speculation regarding the two female trumpeter swans at Malheur NWR. Did they split up? Did one or both leave the Refuge? Will they seek mates and bring them back in the spring? On October 22nd, ODWF conducted their annual fall swan survey and were able to confirm that both Theta-64 and 2@1 are still at Malheur NWR. There is still hope that one or both of this mother-daughter duo may find mates and have a successful spring. Stay tuned.  Photo by Alexa Martinez
The leaves are on the ground and white geese are beginning to fly overhead. Quail are abundant everywhere you look and ring-necked pheasant are congregating in their usual hang-outs for this time of year.

After a long spring and summer of field and fire crews bustling about, autumn is a welcome respite at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors are less and less frequent and the energy here becomes a different kind of peaceful. Truly feels like it is making way for the stillness of winter which never seems far off at this point.

This time of year, as we turn out attention to what we are Thankful for, I am always thinking about the people and places that truly enrich my life. Our invaluable volunteers. The many visitors we meet throughout the year. Friends and Members, like YOU with whom I share a deep love and commitment to this place - Malheur.

If Malheur NWR is on your mind during this season of Thankfulness, be sure to mark your calendars for
November 30th, 2021 - Giving Tuesday!
This global day of giving will kick off end of year fundraising!

Don't want to wait? Make a donation today.
Friends of Malhuer are and will always hold boundless gratitude for you and your ongoing commitment to supporting the needs of Malhuer NWR.

As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director
Conservation Corner
By Alexa Martinez, MNWR Wildlife Biologist

When visitors are asked ‘what is the first species that comes to mind when you think of a refuge system?’ it’s not a shocker to hear birds, fish, mammals and reptile species. But sometimes what is forgot are the species no one pays attention too or are aware of, such as insects, micro invertebrates, mussels, and certain plant species. It’s our job as refuge staff, especially in the biology department, to be aware and understand what is going on in the ecosystem, including those that don’t have the spotlight.

Even though these underdogs are not always highlighted, doesn’t mean they are forgotten. Recently at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, staff from Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Xerces Society connected together to help have a better understanding of a certain species…freshwater mussels. Particularly, Western Ridge mussels. Read More
By Brandon Reishus (ODFW), Jason Journey (ODFW), Marty St. Louis (retired ODFW)
Photo: Theta64 by Dan Streiffert

Excerpt: "Summering (breeding) trumpeter swans can be found in Klamath, Lake, Harney, and Crook Counties. These swans are believed to all have originated from restoration efforts at Malheur NWR (former) or Summer Lake Wildlife Area (ongoing). At this time, nearly all swans summering in Oregon are swans that were released at Summer Lake Wildlife Area after 2008, or their progeny. The summering flock associated with Malheur NWR has now declined to just two individuals."
By Rebecca Pickle, Restoration Technician

      The work entailed a lot of scientific water quality testing that I thought was out of my league coming from a land management background. The majority of my previous work was on stream assessments. With this job and it’s supervisors, I was able to grow my understanding of how a shallow lake functions and acquire a base of how the tributaries contribute to the nutrient accumulation in the lake. One of the factors surrounding Malheur Lake degradation is Common Carp which I’ll admit I had no working background in when I first started this position. My position entailed working with all stages of the Common Carp life cycle, when and where they spawn, where the new young of the year reside, how far upstream the adult carp travel along the Donner und Blitzen, etc. I should have known I’d be doing a vast amount of work on the carp but failed to look into what my boss's Ph.D thesis was. It was my mistake, his gain. Read More

NOTE: The Friends are proud to have provided the funding of over $11,000 to secure Rebecca's position from August - November 2021. This allowed Rebecca to wrap up critical data collection and conduct reporting which would have otherwise been left undone after the MNWR Fisheries Biologist left their position in summer 2021.
Message from the Manager
Jeff Mackay, Malheur NWR Manager/Project Leader
After many months of vacancies, I am elated to introduce and welcome two new staff members to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge: Duane Sawyer and Tara Wertz. Duane is in the position of Maintenance Mechanic and his duties are to operate and maintain fish passage infrastructure on the Donner und Blitzen River, on the East Canal, and on associated canals and ditches. Fish passage infrastructure is necessary to exclude invasive common carp from the River and ponds in the Blitzen Valley while allowing native fish, both redband trout and mountain whitefish, passage within the watershed. Duane will work in partnership with the sub-station managers in the P-Ranch and Buena Vista land management units of the Refuge who are tasked with irrigation and water management.
Tara is in the position of Deputy Project Leader and will supervise Refuge operational programs which include budget and administration, visitor services, wildlife and aquatic biology (wildlife inventory and monitoring, habitat management), and facility and infrastructure maintenance. In her role as Deputy Project Leader, Tara works with and supervises several Refuge staff who execute the day-to-day duties of these programs. Tara also will work collaboratively with Refuge staff and partners on management of Refuge meadows, restoration of Malheur Lake, and developing a planning process for evaluating rehabilitation opportunities for the Donner and Blitzen River, among several other priority Refuge programs and projects.

Please join me in enthusiastically welcoming Duane and Tara the Refuge!
Spread the word,
Friends are Hiring!

The newly developed Crane's Nest Manager position will be a full-time, permanent job based out of the Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store at Refuge Headquarters. This role will work closely with FOMR's Executive Director while leading management of the Crane's Nest retail operation and associated volunteer coordination. The ideal candidate will be a creative self starter with experience in retail, customer service, and staff or volunteer management. More information is available on our website HERE or by clicking the link below.
A Unique Scholarship
Through Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The Francis M. Peacock Scholarship for Native Bird Habitat provides financial aid to students studying areas in the United States that provide winter or summer habitat for our threatened or endangered native birds. Typically, the Scholarship awards $4,500 annually to one scholar. In special instances, because of two unusually qualified candidates or two candidates working on one project, the award may be divided between two candidates. College seniors or graduate students enrolled in a US-based institution are eligible to apply. The award is given by the Garden Club of America and is administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Applications must be submitted by January 15 preceding the proposed period of study. For more information, see the proposal guidelines.

Friends of Malheur NWR want to encourage folks to apply! If you or someone you know applies, please let us know by sending us a confirmation of the application and we will Gift them a Friends Membership for 2022.
Email confirmation to Kathy Bowman, 
Last chance to Register - Class begins November 2nd!
Note: Classes will be recorded and posted to YouTube with access for registered participants.

Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is excited to offer an online birding course, Common Winter Birds of Oregon, taught by Dr. Thomas Bancroft. This is the perfect course to get you ready to go out birding this winter with a particular emphasis on species of Eastern Oregon.

When: 5 Consecutive Tuesdays beginning November 2nd, skipping November 23rd
7:00 - 8:30 PM Pacific
Where: Zoom with access to materials through Google Classroom
Cost: $100 for Members*, $125 for Non-Members
*You must sign into your Friends Account on our website in order to have your Membership recognized and receive the discount.

Questions? Email Janelle,
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!
2022 is right around the corner and we are gearing up for Membership Appreciation. Check out the new 2022 Member HOLOGRAPHIC sticker!

Not a Member? Simply visit OUR WEBSITE, close the pop-up window and fill out the online form.

You can even set your Membership to Auto-renew with just the check of a box!
Prefer to send a check? Easy. Just fill our THIS FORM and mail it to us with your dues at:
Friends of Malheur NWR
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721
Current Membership Total: 1043!
Welcome to the 380 NEW Members who have joined us since Jan 1, 2021
October'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.
estern Fence Lizard (10/5): Did you know that Western fence lizards are a “dead end” for the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease? Their immune system actively kills the Lyme spirochete in ticks that feed on them. So a tick that feeds on one of these lizards will take its next blood meal without the bacteria that transmits Lyme disease. This eliminates the risk of people contracting Lyme disease from the ticks that have previously fed on the lizard and reduces the infection rate of the ticks generally in the area.  
Photo of Western fence lizard by Peter Pearsall/USFWS

This post reached 9.449 people through Facebook.
On our Instagram, this same post had 69 people liked it.
Follow both of our pages, @Malheurfriends, to see more great content like this!
Volunteer with Friends
Now Recruiting for 2022!

Needed: Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store Volunteers are needed for April-October 2022! Individuals must be comfortable interacting with the visiting public and carrying out day-day store operations tasks such as running a point of sale system, counting and stocking inventory. Volunteers also help to maintain the ground surrounding the Nature Center including filling and cleaning bird feeders, occassional light groundskeeping, etc.

No RV? No Problem! Sign up early to claim a month long stay in the Friends of Malheur NWR's RV at Refuge Haedquarters!
FOMR trailer is booking up fast, ONLY OCTOBER is available.

Have your own Home on Wheels? Volunteers with an RV/Camper would have full hook-ups at the volunteer RV park.

All volunteers have access to bathrooms with showers, a fully stocked kitchen, a community room with DirectTV, WiFi, and laundry facilities.
All Volunteer opportunities continue to be contingent upon and will be subject to any local, state, or federal health and safety guidelines. Volunteering may be cancelled at any point.
If you wish to be considered for a volunteer position please email Janelle,
Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store
Will reopen March 1st 2022

The Crane's Nest Online Store is STILL OPEN and is adding special items for the holidays.
Too early to trim the tree? Who says! Grab one of these limited handcrafted ornaments before they are all gone!

Linda Whiting is a local multi-media artist who has been selling her wares in the Crane's Nest Nature Store since we reopened in April 2021. It is easy to see why her hand painted and beaded ornaments are a top seller! They are crafted with exquisite detail and quality that is unique to each bird.
Looking for a one of a kind gift for someone special? Check out her wall-hanging tapestries. These quilted marvels are statement pieces that bring a piece of Malheur NWR right into your home! Only three available, so act fast! CLICK HERE
Malheur HQ Visitor Center
CLOSED Until Spring
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge | 
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721