Message from the Board

 May 2023.  Tim Reynolds

Birds, Birds and more Birds

The Board of Directors is excited to announce that the Intermountain Bird Observatory is returning to Camas National Wildlife Refuge after a 16-year hiatus to repeat a migratory land bird monitoring effort.  Between fall 2005 and spring 2007 IBO (then called the Idaho Bird Observatory) conducted a series of Point Counts at Camas NWR, Market Lake and Mud Lake Wildlife Management Areas. They also completed a formidable two months of nearly daily bird banding each spring and three months of banding each fall at Camas NWR to examine the importance of these areas for neotropical migrants.  The baseline results were eye-opening. 

Although these three properties were known within the birding community as hot spots during migration, we had no idea how important they were.  The baseline study revealed that not only did a wide variety of birds (99 species) stop at Camas, but the refuge also had an unexpected abundance of some of these species.  Over 4,200 Wilson’s Warblers, and over 1,000 Hermit Thrushes and Ruby-Crowned Kinglets were captured.  In addition, banding recaptures demonstrated that most individuals spent several days at Camas NWR, and gained significant weight.  Clearly Camas, and presumably the WMAs, function as a critical refueling stations during migration.

IBO is back and, along with a Master‘s Degree graduate student from ISU, began a repeat of the baseline study in mid-April.  Starting in mid-May the banding operation will be open to the public as an outdoor education experience, BY RESERVATION ONLY.  School groups, scouts, other organizations and individuals should contact the Refuge Manager Brian Wehausen by email: for reservations to observe and enjoy the bird banding experience.

This is a labor intensive and costly project, with an annual cost of over $50,000.   Friends of Camas is shouldering the bulk of the cost. Snake River and Portneuf Valley Audubon Societies, as well as some individuals, have contributed significantly, but we can use your help.  You can support this project by sending a check made out to Friends of Camas, 2150 E  2350 N, Hamer, ID 83425.  Write Bird Project in the notes section. You can also contribute on line via the “Click to Donate” button in the upper right on any of our web pages.

More Birds:  Besides the exciting and ambitious migratory land bird monitoring project, May is the month of our 8th annual BIRD-A-THON.  Co-sponsored by Friends of Camas and the Snake River Audubon Society, this is the major fund-raiser for both groups.  This year’s BIRD-A-THON takes place from May 22 through May 29.  Here’s how it works.  Active participants solicit sponsorship from friends and family.  Sponsors can donate a set amount (e.g. $100) in the name of “their” birder, or pledge to donate $XX dollars for every bird species recorded by “their” birder at Camas NWR or other Us Fish and Wildlife National Wildlife Refuges and/or any of the F&G managed areas or nearby birding areas during any one day of the BIRD-A-THON period.  Passive participants can sponsor a birder or simply write a check to Friends of Camas BIRD-A-THON.  Awards are given to (1) the birder or team who records the most species, (2) the birder or team which brings in the most $$, and (3) the person who most closely guesses the total number of different species seen by all birders combined.  The Awards Ceremony will be during the BIRD-A-THON potluck dinner to be held at Tim Reynolds’ and Patty Isaeff’s house at 4276 E 300 N, Rigby, starting 6:00 PM, Thursday, June 8.  Bring a dish for eight eaters, lawn chair, plates and utensils, and the beverage of your choice.  Please notify Tim via email ( no later than June 5 if you plan to attend.  We hope to see you there. 

Refuge Manager's Notes

Brian Wehausen, 

Camas National Wildlife Refuge

What's New   

Annual Bird-a-thon

    May 22nd to May 29th.  One day of your choice.

The goal of a Bird-A-Thon is to see as many species of birds as possible in a set period of time and/or location. This particular Bird-A-Thon is fundraiser for FoC and SRAS.  Both organizations are 501(c)(3) nonprofits which support birds and their environment. They will split the net proceeds 50:50 to be used for environmental education, conservation, and scientific study. 

2023 Photo Contest

Don’t just sit there preening!  Get out there and take some amazing pictures and enter the contest!  

Photo by Jack Charter

The Friends of Camas National Wildlife Refuge is celebrating the natural wonders of Eastern Idaho wildlife refuges and wildlife management areas with its seventh and sadly, last photography contest.   Photographs of birds, other wildlife and flora, as well as scenic images may be submitted at  through July 31, 2023.

 THIS IS EARLY!   Jump on this contest fast! See complete rules and submission form at

Entrants may submit up to five photographs taken at the Southeast Idaho Refuge Management Complex (Camas NWR, Bear Lake NWR, Gray’s Lake NWR, Oxford Slough WPA) and Idaho Fish and Game-managed areas (Mud Lake WMA, Market Lake WMA and Deer Parks WMA [including Cartier Slough]). 

A Grand Prize of $50 will be awarded.

First prize will be a Friends of Camas NWR neck gaiter and a ‘camera lens’ mug.

Second prize will be a ‘camera lens’ mug.

Third place will be a Friends of Camas NWR neck gaiter.

All prize winners will receive ribbons.




Friends of Camas NWR Inc. 
2150 E 2350 N
Hamer, ID 83425