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

Waterfowl WednesdayBiologists and technicians across North America are entering banding data into databases to be compil...
09/16/2020

Waterfowl Wednesday

Biologists and technicians across North America are entering banding data into databases to be compiled for analysis by US Fish and Wildlife and US Geological Survey. This helps us make decisions about hunting regulations and conservation efforts based on the results we see.

Most bands are reported on birds taken during hunting season, so sportsmen can directly help migratory bird conservation by reporting a band at www.reportband.gov

Wildlife WednesdayOur duck traps are designed to catch ducks, but sometimes we get some other visitors. This juvenile bl...
09/16/2020

Wildlife Wednesday

Our duck traps are designed to catch ducks, but sometimes we get some other visitors. This juvenile black-crowned night heron got a little confused and wandered into the trap one morning. Don't worry, it was released safely!

Feather FridayDetermining a bird's age can be tough when the young birds appear identical to adults, so we use wear on t...
09/11/2020

Feather Friday

Determining a bird's age can be tough when the young birds appear identical to adults, so we use wear on the feathers to make that distinction. Feathers are a keratin-based structure analagous to our hair, and they usually go through one or two major molts per year. At this time of year, the ducks that hatched this year have worn their tail feathers and certain wing feathers considerably, since their feathers were grown quickly and much of their energy was put into growing up. Ducks without these frayed, notched feathers are adults and designated as after-hatch-year birds when banded.

Mallard Monday 🦆At the end of breeding season, male mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) go incognito as they don their eclipse...
09/07/2020

Mallard Monday 🦆

At the end of breeding season, male mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) go incognito as they don their eclipse plumage, between the end of breeding season and the beginning of fall. Apart from slight differences in bill size and color, they are nearly indistinguishable from females. This male is molting out his nonbreeding plumage and growing in some green replacements.

Feather Friday 🦆The multicolored innermost tertial feather on the wing of a green-winged teal (Anas crecca) helps tell u...
09/04/2020

Feather Friday 🦆

The multicolored innermost tertial feather on the wing of a green-winged teal (Anas crecca) helps tell us whether it is a male or a female. In general, the feather on males has a high contrast or sometimes even a bold white line between the black and grey, whereas females have a more blurred border between the two colors and usually lack any white line.

Waterfowl WednesdayThis ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) was banded at Camas National Wildlife Refuge this week. They can...
09/02/2020

Waterfowl Wednesday

This ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) was banded at Camas National Wildlife Refuge this week. They can be identified from a distance by their short, skinny tail feathers that they hold straight in the air as they float on the water. During breeding season, males will molt into chestnut plumage and their bills will turn sky blue.

Photo by Sara Hiatt

Migration MondayIn preparation for fall, many birds are already beginning their migration to more southerly latitudes. S...
08/31/2020

Migration Monday

In preparation for fall, many birds are already beginning their migration to more southerly latitudes. Some, like sparrows and red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), may overwinter, while others may head anywhere from the southwestern United States to the rainforests of South America.

Science Snapshot 🔬🦆Joel is a Great Basin Institute intern at Camas National Wildlife Refuge. Here he places a band on a ...
08/28/2020

Science Snapshot 🔬🦆

Joel is a Great Basin Institute intern at Camas National Wildlife Refuge. Here he places a band on a blue-winged teal (Anas discors).

What we do WednesdayDuck banding continues at our refuges. An intern from Camas National Wildlife Refuge holds a blue-wi...
08/26/2020

What we do Wednesday

Duck banding continues at our refuges. An intern from Camas National Wildlife Refuge holds a blue-winged teal as she awaits her turn at the banding station.

Migration MondayOur refuges have begun their fall 2020 waterfowl banding efforts as the ducks begin their journey south....
08/24/2020

Migration Monday

Our refuges have begun their fall 2020 waterfowl banding efforts as the ducks begin their journey south. Bands are important because when a band is reported by a hunter, it can tell scientists where ducks spend the winter and what routes they might take. We collect data on the species, age, and sex of the ducks we capture. Sometimes male and female ducks of the same species are harder to tell apart, so we have this handy key for measuring their bills to differentiate them.

Air Quality InformationThe smoke from California wildfires that has been over Idaho over the last few days has affected ...
08/24/2020

Air Quality Information

The smoke from California wildfires that has been over Idaho over the last few days has affected air quality. Follow CDC guidelines for reducing smoke exposure, which can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/wildfires/smoke.html

For other information on wildfires and air quality, visit airnow.gov/fires/

Flower Friday 🌸These might look like little tomatillos, but they're actually ground cherries (Physalis longifolia). The ...
08/21/2020

Flower Friday 🌸

These might look like little tomatillos, but they're actually ground cherries (Physalis longifolia). The fruits were eaten raw or boiled by native peoples and have a sweet, almost tropical flavor. You can tell they are ripe when they fall onto the ground below the plant.

Remember, never eat a wild food unless you are sure that you have correctly identified it or are with an experienced forager.

Do you have a favorite wild food to gather at certain times of the year?

What we do WednesdayMost of our work doesn't happen in an office. Today's photo gives you a captain's-eye view of a boat...
08/19/2020

What we do Wednesday

Most of our work doesn't happen in an office. Today's photo gives you a captain's-eye view of a boat we use for conducting various biological surveys on the deep, open waters of Lake Walcott, from submerged aquatic vegetation to waterfowl counts.

Happy Monday! Are you ready for fall yet?This foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum) catches the morning sunlight near a wetla...
08/17/2020

Happy Monday! Are you ready for fall yet?

This foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum) catches the morning sunlight near a wetland area. This native grass is found near wetlands and meadows throughout North America with the exception of a few states along the Gulf of Mexico.

Do you prefer to watch sunrises, sunsets, or both?

Flower Friday 🌺🌿This bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) is related to tomatoes, but the tomato-like berries on t...
08/14/2020

Flower Friday 🌺🌿

This bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) is related to tomatoes, but the tomato-like berries on this plant are toxic if eaten. It is also called climbing nightshade and is not a plant native to the United States, although it does provide some late-season food for birds.

What's your favorite vegetable that comes from the nightshade family?

We have an exciting feature this Wildlife WednesdayIn cooperation with Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) and staff from other r...
08/12/2020

We have an exciting feature this Wildlife Wednesday

In cooperation with Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) and staff from other refuges in our complex, we banded about 150 of this year's young pelicans on Lake Walcott. Since these birds can't fly yet, they're herded with boats onto an island into several corrals to wait as they're picked up one by one for processing. Each bird gets a leg band and a big red tag on each wing to identify individuals produced from that nesting colony; other colonies throughout the state have different colored tags.

Have you seen any pelicans with wing tags this year?

First photo: USFWS/Merrill Watts
Other photos: USFWS/Bridget Canning

This great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is perching atop the cliffs of volcanic rock that border the narrow portions of t...
08/10/2020

This great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is perching atop the cliffs of volcanic rock that border the narrow portions of the Snake River at Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge. This area is closed to boating, but accessing it on foot can reward visitors with a unique wildlife or fishing experience that couldn't be found on Lake Walcott.

Did you know that herons lack well-developed muscles around their vocal organ, or syrinx, and are only able to croak and grunt?

Great news!
08/04/2020

Great news!

It’s a wonderful day for wildlife and public lands! Today, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act. The Act provides millions of dollars each year for improving America’s national wildlife refuges and other public lands and waters.

The administration's conservation legacy is an historic investment in deferred maintenance at refuges and our public lands, and mandatory funding being established for the Great American Outdoors Act.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has rarely been fully funded since it was created in 1964. By signing the Great American Outdoors Act, President Trump has now made that a reality, permanently allocating $900 million a year for conservation projects. Now, more people can experience America's public lands!

Additionally, billions of dollars over the next 5 years via the Great American Outdoors Act will fund important maintenance investments on public lands to improve and enhance visitor experience while birding, fishing, hunting, and connecting with nature and wildlife on refuges.

Thanks to President Trump's call to Congress (signing the Great American Outdoors Act), current and future generations will benefit from improvements to Americans’ beloved refuges for people and wildlife.

#DOIDelivers #GAOA

Photo: Bald eagle in the harbor of Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge in Washington by Brent Lawrence/USFWS

Science Snapshot 🔬🦇This contraption may not look like it does a lot of work, but each night it records high-frequency so...
08/03/2020

Science Snapshot 🔬🦇

This contraption may not look like it does a lot of work, but each night it records high-frequency sounds over habitats that would be attractive to bats. Software helps USFWS scientists identify the species and call frequency, helping us to detect declines early and identify potential threats such as habitat loss or white nose syndrome.

Did you know that bats are the most abundant group of mammals on the planet?

It's Flower Friday! 🌸Clustered broomrape (Aphyllon fasciculatum), like its close relative Indian paintbrush, is a parasi...
07/31/2020

It's Flower Friday! 🌸

Clustered broomrape (Aphyllon fasciculatum), like its close relative Indian paintbrush, is a parasitic plant that relies on borrowed nutrients from the roots of its sagebrush hosts. It takes enough nutrients that it doesn't even need to photosynthesize, so it lacks leaves and has a pink stem.

Wildlife Wednesday 🦎Here's a long-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia wislizenii). These lizards are commonly found in southe...
07/29/2020

Wildlife Wednesday 🦎

Here's a long-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia wislizenii). These lizards are commonly found in southern Idaho, mostly in areas adjacent to the Snake River. Like many lizards, it can lose its tail as a defense against predators, leaving behind a squirming tail fragment as a distraction.

Wake up and smell the...stinkbugs?Pinacate beetles (Eleodes sp.), also known as darklings or stinkbugs, can be found all...
07/27/2020

Wake up and smell the...stinkbugs?

Pinacate beetles (Eleodes sp.), also known as darklings or stinkbugs, can be found all over Idaho. They emit a foul-smelling liquid from their hind end in self defense, doing a handstand like a skunk as a warning before firing.

This beetle is on a sand dune in the northern portion of Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge. Much of what was once a large active dune field has now been stabilized by cheatgrass, leaving very little of this unique habitat.

Here is the builder of this week's mystery nest: an American Coot (Fulica americana)! In our first photo we have a mothe...
07/24/2020

Here is the builder of this week's mystery nest: an American Coot (Fulica americana)!

In our first photo we have a mother coot and her brood of "cooties" at Camas National Wildlife Refuge. As she paddles across the water, she dives for submerged aquatic vegetation to feed to her chicks. (FWS Photo/Bridget Canning)

Did you know that coots and their relatives have lobed toes instead of webbed feet like ducks? This helps them walk less awkwardly on dry land and mats of downed emergent vegetation than a "duck out of water". Here's a closer look at one preparing for takeoff. (FWS Photo/Tom Koerner)

With a face only a mama bird could love, this baby has hatched out of a nest like the one we shared on Monday. If you lo...
07/22/2020

With a face only a mama bird could love, this baby has hatched out of a nest like the one we shared on Monday. If you look closely at the eggs in the background, you might be able to see a tiny hole in one of them. The chick inside is pipping, meaning our freshly hatched little bird won't be an only child for long!

Do you recognize what bird it is yet? If you guessed before, is your guess the same?

(FWS Photo/Katie Schroyer)

This Monday, we're starting the week off with a mystery. 🔎What bird could have made this nest? This is a floating cattai...
07/20/2020

This Monday, we're starting the week off with a mystery. 🔎

What bird could have made this nest? This is a floating cattail nest at the edge of a wetland at Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The eggs are a little smaller than chicken eggs, and are off-white with an even coating of dark speckles.

Leave your guess in a comment. We'll have a clue coming on Wednesday!

It's Flower Friday again! Sagebrush bluebells (Mertensia oblongifolia) are in the same family as forget-me-nots and comf...
07/17/2020

It's Flower Friday again!

Sagebrush bluebells (Mertensia oblongifolia) are in the same family as forget-me-nots and comfrey. Most members of the genus in the United States are found west of the Rocky Mountains.

Wildlife Wednesday 🦆Western grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis) are almost always in the water, except when they are flyi...
07/15/2020

Wildlife Wednesday 🦆

Western grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis) are almost always in the water, except when they are flying to another body of water or tending their nests constructed of floating mats of vegetation. During their courtship display, the pair will rear up and run side by side across the surface of the water with their wings held back.

Have you ever seen a pair of grebes dance?

Wakey, wakey, happy Monday from this snakey!There are many subspecies of garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) throughout ...
07/13/2020

Wakey, wakey, happy Monday from this snakey!

There are many subspecies of garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) throughout the United States and are one of the most commonly encountered by people. Although their bite is not venomous, they can release a stinky musk in self defense.

(FWS Photo/Katie Schroyer)

Thank goodness it's (Flower) Friday! 🌸Here we have common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) with a little damselfly seeking ...
07/10/2020

Thank goodness it's (Flower) Friday! 🌸

Here we have common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) with a little damselfly seeking shelter from the rain beneath its umbrella-like clusters of flowers. According to the US Department of Agriculture, yarrow is found in all 50 states, although it is not native to Hawaii.

Science Snapshot! 🔬Why is it important to know the abundance and species composition of our aquatic plants? It's food fo...
07/08/2020

Science Snapshot! 🔬

Why is it important to know the abundance and species composition of our aquatic plants? It's food for herbivorous migrating birds and provides habitat for invertebrates eaten by other birds. Many of the areas we survey are only submerged for part of the year and the information we gather informs management decisions to promote the growth of certain key species.

Here we have scientists using a frame to survey aquatic plants at Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge and a duck's-eye view of some of the sago pondweed (Stuckenia pectinata). The little clusters at the end are the flowers!

Did you know that Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge is home to one of the largest American White Pelican nesting colonie...
07/03/2020

Did you know that Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge is home to one of the largest American White Pelican nesting colonies in Idaho?

Although most would associate them with coastal environments, these majestic birds can be seen soaring overhead in V-shaped formations all along the Snake River.

On average, how much water do you think a pelican's pouch can hold?

"This is my Monday face" -this owl (probably)Although many owls are nocturnal, aerial hunters, burrowing owls (Athene cu...
06/29/2020

"This is my Monday face" -this owl (probably)

Although many owls are nocturnal, aerial hunters, burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) are ground foragers that hunt during the day. They are capable of digging their own burrows, but often occupy burrows abandoned by other animals.

OWL kidding aside, how was your weekend?

It's Flower Friday: #pollinatorweek edition! 🌱🌸Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) is a host plant for the monarch butte...
06/26/2020

It's Flower Friday: #pollinatorweek edition! 🌱🌸

Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) is a host plant for the monarch butterfly, but it's also an excellent nectar source for other less charismatic pollinating insects like red milkweed beetles (Tetraopes sp) and wasps.

Do you have any pollinator friendly plants in your garden?

USFWS Washington Fish and Wildlife Office
06/25/2020

USFWS Washington Fish and Wildlife Office

As part of pollinator week, we want to bring you fun facts you might not have thought about before. For example, when you think of pollinators, do you think of bats? Bats are reaponsible for pollinating an amazing array of plants around the world! Now, that’s bananas 😆 !

Image: Bat Conservation International

#usfws #pollinatorweek

June 22-28 is #pollinatorweek! Did you know there are over 30 species of bumblebee (Bombus sp) in Idaho? Like almost all...
06/24/2020

June 22-28 is #pollinatorweek!

Did you know there are over 30 species of bumblebee (Bombus sp) in Idaho? Like almost all pollinators, their numbers are declining. Many of the foods we eat are made possible by pollinators, so take some time to do a little something to increase awareness and conserve these small but critical members of our ecosystem.

Find out more at https://www.fws.gov/pollinators/
(FWS Photo/Sam Furtado)

Address

4425 Burley Dr, Ste A
Chubbuck, ID
83202

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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