Southeast Idaho National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Southeast Idaho National Wildlife Refuge Complex We administer five units of the Refuge System: Bear Lake, Grays Lake, Camas, and Minidoka Refuges, and Oxford Slough Waterfowl Production Area.

Operating as usual

Camas NWR Ungulate update.  This week, we're still seeing decent numbers of white-tailed deer and elk.  Pronghorn have b...
04/09/2021

Camas NWR Ungulate update. This week, we're still seeing decent numbers of white-tailed deer and elk. Pronghorn have been seen nearby, but not on the refuge. On April 6th, we observed the following on our ungulate survey: 23 white tailed deer, 107 elk, and 1 moose. In this picture, a moose stands among willow in the creek bed and white-tailed deer forage in the meadow beyond.

Photo: A moose stands among willow in the creek bed.

Photo credit: USFWS- Janette Melgaard

Camas NWR Waterbird update.  This week, we're seeing waterfowl (especially mallards) continue to increase in numbers.  S...
04/07/2021

Camas NWR Waterbird update. This week, we're seeing waterfowl (especially mallards) continue to increase in numbers. Snow and Ross's geese are still in the area. A red-breasted merganser, a great blue heron, a handful of cinnamon teal, and a pair of bufflehead showed up. On April 5th, our migration survey totals were as follows: 396 mallard, 60 trumpeter swan, 54 ring-billed gull, 33 tundra swan, 32 canvasback, 32 ruddy duck, 29 American white pelican, 29 American wigeon, 27 American coot, 24 gadwall, 18 Canada goose, 11 ring-necked duck, 7 northern pintail, 7 redhead, 6 northern shoveler, 2 sandhill crane, 2 bufflehead, 1 killdeer, 1 red-breasted merganser, and 1 great blue heron. In this picture, a group of mallards, Canada geese, and American wigeons (but mostly mallards) shelter from the increasing afternoon winds.

Photo: Birds on the water

USFWS-Andrea Kristof-Camas NWR

Awesome job to all staff out on the RX burn at Deer Flat NWR. Southeast Idaho National Wildlife Refuge had some of their...
04/05/2021

Awesome job to all staff out on the RX burn at Deer Flat NWR. Southeast Idaho National Wildlife Refuge had some of their own staff out there helping.

Photo credit: USFWS/National Interagency Fire Center

USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System firefighters at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge completed an 80-acre #rxfire this week. The #rxburn focused on habitat restoration and hazardous fuels reduction located in upland grass, Russian olive trees and willow trees, and dense cattails. The burn area was situated directly within the wildland urban interface, with residential areas within close proximity, and was surrounded on three sides by private land. Special thanks to BLM Oregon & Washington (Vale) and Upper Deer Flat Fire Department for their assistance with this burn!

Photos by USFWS

04/04/2021

Water is flowing and birds are returning to Camas NWR. On April 1st and 2nd, we conducted a migratory waterbird count and observed the following: 158 Mallard, 73 Ring-billed gull, 63 Trumpeter swan, 40 American white pelican, 37 American wigeon, 32 Ruddy duck, 25 American coot, 23 Canada goose, 16 Redhead, 15 Tundra swan, 12 Canvasback, 11 Northern pintail, 7 Gadwall, 5 Northern shoveler, and 4 Ring-necked duck.

Photo: Water is flowing and birds are returning to Camas

Photo credit: USFWS- Andrea Kristof

Camas NWR also hosts several large mammals.  On March 30th, we saw 11 white-tailed deer, 8 elk, and 3 moose on our ungul...
04/02/2021

Camas NWR also hosts several large mammals. On March 30th, we saw 11 white-tailed deer, 8 elk, and 3 moose on our ungulate survey. Pictured is a group of elk that did not want to participate in the morning survey, but made an appearance later in the day.

Photo: 11 white-tailed deer, 8 elk, and 3 moose

Photo credit: USFWS- Andrea Kristof

Let's SHED some light on the situation...It's spring, male elk and deer are dropping their antlers as their seasonal tes...
03/31/2021

Let's SHED some light on the situation...

It's spring, male elk and deer are dropping their antlers as their seasonal testosterone levels drop, and the snow is beginning to melt.

It is illegal to take antlers from a National Wildlife Refuge, but many other public lands are open to non-commercial collecting. When choosing a time to hunt shed antlers, avoid going too early in the year because food is still scarce, temperatures are still cold, and animals' energy reserves are low. Human activity in the areas deer and elk are resting causes them to deplete that energy when they flee. While Idaho has no laws regarding when to shed hunt, it is best to wait until the end of April so as not to stress out the wildlife.

Photo: An antler dropped by a bull elk in a bed of grass beneath junipers (USFWS/Bridget Canning)

March 28th is Something on a Stick DayAlthough it usually refers to food and putting different items on a toothpick or s...
03/26/2021

March 28th is Something on a Stick Day

Although it usually refers to food and putting different items on a toothpick or skewer, we thought we'd get in the festive spirit in our own way.

Here's a yellow-headed blackbird...on a stick.
#SomethingOnAStickDay

It's finally spring and with warmer weather comes with the songs of our summer breeding birds. As you stroll or drive pa...
03/24/2021

It's finally spring and with warmer weather comes with the songs of our summer breeding birds. As you stroll or drive past a wetland, ditch, or patch of tall grasses, listen for the "conga-ree!" of the red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).

A relative of the Western meadowlark and yellow-headed blackbird, other Idaho summer residents, red-winged blackbirds feed on insects during the summertime and seeds in the fall and winter. Females appear more drab and sparrowlike in color, while the black males flash showy epaulets in a territorial display. When in large flocks outside of breeding season, they can partially conceal these epaulets when they want to be polite.

You can visit https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-winged_Blackbird/sounds to hear the varied sounds they make.

Photo: A male red-winged blackbird calls out from atop a fencepost at Bear Lake NWR, courtesy of volunteer Merrill Watts

Protecting is key! ❤️How cute are they?A big thanks to the National Conservation Training Center and U.S. Fish and Wildl...
03/23/2021

Protecting is key! ❤️
How cute are they?
A big thanks to the National Conservation Training Center and U.S. Fish and Wildlife for sharing such an amazing photo.
#baldeagles

Both eaglets hatched, family is now complete.

Photo of a parent bald eagle with the two eaglets by Terri Bayles at Bald Eagles 101.

You can follow the action at: https://www.outdoorchannel.com/live/eaglecam/326707/0

Fire is often times scary and stressful. But sometimes it’s needed to control w**ds, restore nutrients, and help lead to...
03/22/2021

Fire is often times scary and stressful. But sometimes it’s needed to control w**ds, restore nutrients, and help lead to more desirable plant growth for our refuge’s future. Did you know within the NWR we have fire staff to help make sure prescribed burns go as planned?

Photo: Prescribed burn of debris. P/C: Lucas Stringfield/USFWS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

National Poultry DayI spy Pheasant tracks!!Photo Credit: UFWS/ Kristal Undgren
03/19/2021

National Poultry Day

I spy Pheasant tracks!!

Photo Credit: UFWS/ Kristal Undgren

"Oh, umm....I was just asking for directions, no need to get upset." -the Sandhill crane (maybe)Red-winged blackbirds ar...
03/18/2021

"Oh, umm....I was just asking for directions, no need to get upset." -the Sandhill crane (maybe)

Red-winged blackbirds are notorious for their mobbing behavior, where they harass an intruder until it flees a comfortable distance away from their nests. Sandhill cranes eat young birds, so the blackbird isn't overreacting. Have you witnessed or photographed any animal awkward moments?

Photo courtesy of Merrill Watts

#AwkwardMomentsDay #BearLakeNWR #sandhillcrane #redwingedblackbird

Happy ST. Patricks' Day!  Don't forget to wear green. Even the Muskrat has dressed up for this special day. Photo Credit...
03/17/2021

Happy ST. Patricks' Day! Don't forget to wear green.

Even the Muskrat has dressed up for this special day.

Photo Credit: UFWS/ Patty Pickett

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the sunflowers. Fun Fact: Butterflies flock to this flower for the large landing pa...
03/16/2021

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the sunflowers.

Fun Fact: Butterflies flock to this flower for the large landing pad and bright colors.

Photo credit: UFWS/Ken Scheffler, Grays Lake NWR

Magpie Monday (MOOD edition)This magpie regarding the scenery from atop a fencepost certainly has a Monday vibe. The clo...
03/15/2021

Magpie Monday (MOOD edition)

This magpie regarding the scenery from atop a fencepost certainly has a Monday vibe. The clocks have changed and we've all lost that glorious hour of sleep, but on the bright side, spring is just around the corner.

What are you excited for this spring?

Photo: USFWS/Bridget Canning

Today is Plant a Flower DayWhile the weather is a little cold for planting things outside, the time is perfect for germi...
03/12/2021

Today is Plant a Flower Day

While the weather is a little cold for planting things outside, the time is perfect for germinating and stratifying seeds.

If you have milkw**d seeds from the fall, you can achieve the highest germination rate by chilling them before sowing. To cold stratify, place the seeds in an airtight bag or container with damp (not soaked) sand or a dampened paper towel and refrigerate for 30 days. Start them indoors on a sunny windowsill to plant later or sow them directly onto the soil after danger of frost has passed.

What do you plan on planting this year?
#PlantAFlowerDay

Photo: USFWS - Pacific Region

Winter Bird Wednesday: Chickadee EditionSouthern Idaho is home to two species of chickadee: the mountain chickadee (Poec...
03/10/2021

Winter Bird Wednesday: Chickadee Edition

Southern Idaho is home to two species of chickadee: the mountain chickadee (Poecile gambeli) and black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). Named for the alarm call they emit when detecting a potential threat, these nimble little birds forage at the tips of branches and tops of trees for little bugs and seeds. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, chickadees will stash food for later when they find it in abundance (like at a bird feeder).

It's a little hard to make out the identifying features on this little guy, but the field mark to watch for when differentiating the two is in the cap. The mountain chickadee has a white supercilium (eyebrow stripe) breaking up its cap, while the black-capped chickadee has a solid cap above its eye.

Photo: A chickadee hangs upside-down from a cottonwood branch in search of a snack. USFWS/Bridget Canning

USFWS Fisheries
03/06/2021

USFWS Fisheries

Destroy! Don’t Dump! Invasive zebra mussels were recently found in "moss balls,” an aquarium plant product sold at aquarium and pet supply stores.

Zebra mussels are regarded as one of the most destructive invasive species in North America.

If you have moss balls in your aquarium DO NOT DUMP THEM. Follow these instructions to keep our waterways safe. https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/ANS/zebra-mussel-disposal.html

Frosty FridayIt's almost spring! Our neighbor, Deer Flat NWR, is already seeing some plants greening up and we're starti...
03/05/2021

Frosty Friday

It's almost spring! Our neighbor, Deer Flat NWR, is already seeing some plants greening up and we're starting to feel it at Minidoka, although the other refuges in the complex are still under some snow. Stay tuned; soon we'll be sharing flowers with you again on Fridays!

Enjoy some pictures from a few years ago of the entrance to a refuge hunting area covered in hoarfrost (USFWS/Bridget Canning). Hoarfrost is a thick layer of fluffy or spiky frost that accumulates when fog freezes onto surfaces. The shape of the crystals is changed by temperature fluctuations throughout the formation period.

#USFWS #southeastidaho #hoarfrost #almostspring

Camas, Deer Flat, Bear Lake, and Minidoka are in search of some biological technicians through Great Basin Institute. Th...
03/04/2021

Camas, Deer Flat, Bear Lake, and Minidoka are in search of some biological technicians through Great Basin Institute. The position starts in late April to early June and lasts about 19 weeks. Positions are open until filled, so apply early! Interns are paid $400-$470 every two weeks and also earn a $2360 education award. Here are just some of the projects our interns will be working on:

Long-term vegetation monitoring
Wetland vegetation surveys
Invasive w**d mapping & treatment
Invasive w**d chemical and biocontrol efficacy monitoring
Pollinator garden expansion
Habitat restoration (sage-steppe uplands, riparian, wet meadows)
Native plant seed collection
Bat acoustic monitoring
Pollinator surveys
Reptile/amphibian surveys
Migration surveys
Waterfowl banding
Mourning dove banding
Trumpeter swan flock monitoring
Hydrological monitoring

Here are links to the application pages on https://www.thegreatbasininstitute.org/:
Bear Lake- https://www.vscyberhosting.com/greatbasin/Careers.aspx?req=2021-ACI-012&type=JOBDESCR

Camas/Minidoka-https://www.vscyberhosting.com/greatbasin/Careers.aspx?req=2021-ACI-018&type=JOBDESCR

Deer Flat-https://www.vscyberhosting.com/greatbasin/Careers.aspx?req=2021-ACI-009&type=JOBDESCR

Winter Bird Wednesday: Junco EditionAcross North America, the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis) has developed a rainbow o...
03/03/2021

Winter Bird Wednesday: Junco Edition

Across North America, the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis) has developed a rainbow of regional color variations. Idaho is home to the pink-sided and Oregon varieties, with the latter inhabiting the northern, mountainous portions of Idaho and the former distributed around most of southeastern part of the state. Although they don't look like your typical brown, striped sparrow, they are in the same family as New World sparrows, Passerellidae.

Have you seen any different color variations in your travels?

Check out this link for some more information on the distribution of the different varieties:
https://www.audubon.org/news/dark-eyed-juncos-backyard-gems-come-dazzling-array-colors

First photo: A junco foraging in the snow (USFWS/Jaime Allen)
Second photo: A junco perched atop some snowy shrubs (USFWS/Bridget Canning)

Ever wonder why mule deer and other western ungulates have white butts?White-tailed deer and other forest species like s...
03/01/2021

Ever wonder why mule deer and other western ungulates have white butts?

White-tailed deer and other forest species like sparrows and rabbits flash white on their hind ends to locate other members of their species as they travel through cover but are then able to conceal the white when they stop so they are camouflaged again.
Species like mule deer, pronghorn, elk, and bighorn sheep all have a large white rump patch that they are unable to conceal, but also tend to have little in the way of vegetative cover to blend in with. A hypothesis mentioned in a 1977 study by David Hirth and Dale McCullough states that this might be useful in helping a running herd stay together by making nearby herd members more visible as they run alongside the others.

What animals can you think of with white behinds?

Photo: USFWS/Bridget Canning

Skip the Straw DayThese photos depict boluses regurgitated by seabirds on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge; they're...
02/26/2021

Skip the Straw Day

These photos depict boluses regurgitated by seabirds on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge; they're much like an owl pellet, containing the undigestible material from the bird's diet. The problem is that these boluses contain marine debris, which when it steeps in the ocean a while begins to smell and look like food to the birds.

Some of the common pieces of marine debris include toothbrushes, combs, and other personal care items; fragments of fishing debris like floats, nets, and monofilament line; and single-use food service waste like foam containers, utensils, and straws. Americans use nearly 500 million plastic straws daily!

How can you make a difference? Opt for reusable versions of single-use items like utensils, personal care items, and water bottles...and #skipthestraw next time you go out to eat. If you can't enjoy your beverage without one, there are tons of alternative straw materials like bamboo, metal, silicone, and paper. Every little bit counts, so do your best to do your part. #SkipTheStrawDay

Photos: USFWS/Elena Fischer

Minidoka is turning 116 today! 🎂🎉The Refuge is home to the one of the largest American white pelican nesting colonies in...
02/25/2021

Minidoka is turning 116 today! 🎂🎉

The Refuge is home to the one of the largest American white pelican nesting colonies in the state as well as the endangered St. Anthony Dunes tiger beetle (Cicindela arenicola).

Help us say happy birthday by posting any interesting memories you've made on the refuge.

Photo: One of the tiger beetles in the sand - Ted C. MacRae

Winter Bird WednesdayEver wonder how birds know to flock to feeders right before it snows? It's all thanks to a structur...
02/24/2021

Winter Bird Wednesday

Ever wonder how birds know to flock to feeders right before it snows? It's all thanks to a structure in the ear called the paratympanic or Vitali organ that can detect tiny changes in barometric pressure. This structure is thought to be the vestige of a lateral line and is present in crocodilians, birds, and one species of bat, but is absent in all other vertebrates. Adult owls, night hawks, and parakeets lack this organ because of their highly modified skull structure.

What birds have you seen at your feeder today?

In case you hadn't heard the news:USFWS and its partners welcomed a new, very special black-footed ferret kit into the w...
02/23/2021
Innovative Genetic Research Boosts Black-footed Ferret Conservation Efforts by USFWS and Partners

In case you hadn't heard the news:

USFWS and its partners welcomed a new, very special black-footed ferret kit into the world. She was cloned from DNA taken from a frozen specimen from around 30 years ago and provides a beacon of hope for diversifying he genetics of the existing black-footed ferret population, descended from only six individuals. Perhaps we'll see these little critters populating our interior prairies once again.

02/22/2021

How do you prefer to enjoy the Wildlife Refuges in our complex? Tell us your favorite activities in the comments or if you want to share other activities we couldn't list. For instance, many of our employees enjoy them through the work they do on each refuge! 🌲🦆🌾🦌🌿

Moon-day 🌒🌓🌔🌕On the night of Saturday, February 26, the full moon -- also called the Snow Moon or the Hunger Moon -- wil...
02/22/2021

Moon-day 🌒🌓🌔🌕

On the night of Saturday, February 26, the full moon -- also called the Snow Moon or the Hunger Moon -- will rise at sunset and set around sunrise. Although the full moon isn't an ideal time to stargaze, it is well-suited for watching through a window from the comfort of your heated home.

Photo: USFWS/Peter Pearsall

Friday FLOOFThese little mule deer are definitely dressed for the cold today! Whether it's hibernating, going into a bri...
02/19/2021

Friday FLOOF

These little mule deer are definitely dressed for the cold today! Whether it's hibernating, going into a brief torpor, or just bundling up with some fat or a thick coat of winter fur, our wildlife have plenty of ways to cope with the cold.

Have you seen any animals in their winter garb?

Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day; teach a man about fish and you might be a USFWS employee.Minidoka NWR on Lake...
02/16/2021

Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day; teach a man about fish and you might be a USFWS employee.

Minidoka NWR on Lake Walcott is home to both native and stocked non-native fish. This photo shows a fisherman's catch beside Lake Walcott, taken around the 1960's or 1970's.

Do you have a favorite species to fish for or do you prefer the general experience?

Address

4425 Burley Dr, Ste A
Chubbuck, ID
83202

General information

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Opening Hours

Monday 07:30 - 16:00
Tuesday 07:30 - 16:00
Wednesday 07:30 - 16:00
Thursday 07:30 - 16:00
Friday 07:30 - 16:00

Telephone

(208) 237-6615

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Comments

camas NWR 6-26-2020
grays lake NWR birds 6-20-2020...Foresters tern
grays lake NWR birds 6-20-2020..Franklin's gulls
grays lake NWR birds 6-20-2020 American coot chick
grays lake NWR birds 6-20-2020..American white pelican
grays lake NWR birds 6-20-2020..American avocet
I found this Common Loon above the dam on the south spillway at Lake Walcott today. Sadly, it has fishing line around it's bill. I don't know if there is any way for someone to catch it and get it untangled, but I am hoping so.
trumpeter swans..Camas NWR
northern harrier..Camas NWR
rough legged hawk at Camas NWR
these Sandhill cranes were so happy to back in Idaho they were dancing :) Camas NWR
this little guy stopped eating ,just to come over and say Hi ! Camas NWR