Message from the Board

Raising Falcons  

Mark Delwiche   

Peregrine falcons have been raising young on the hack tower at the Refuge since 1985.  We have had a webcam on the tower since 2017.  In 2017 a stable pair bond never materialized.  In 2018, one nestling was fledged.  This year, the falcons had returned by the time we turned the camera on in late March.  We witnessed the process of pair formation and preparation for laying eggs.  We were hopeful. 

But something went wrong, and the nest was abandoned in mid-May.  Falcons are hard to figure.  There was alarmingly severe weather in the first week of May.  Then on May 6, a strange young male falcon showed up—maybe last year’s fledgling.  The female was hostile to him and drove him off.  But he persisted, and she came to ignore him. 

But some time between the onset of the severe weather and arrival of the youngster the mature male disappeared.  The last sighting we have of him is from April 30.  We speculated the two males had sparred, and the youngster won.  But we have no evidence.  There were 6 days between one going and the other coming.  On May 16, we saw the female deflate (or so it seemed), she looked around (so it seemed), and left.  We have not seen her since.  The young male stayed.  He was there every day, though less and less visible as days went by.  The last record of him we have is June 8. 

What happened?  The simplest explanation seems to be that the older male perished in the foul weather of late April.  But our perspective is limited to our webcam’s narrow view.  It is a hard life being a falcon.  The camera will be back on late in March next year.  What will we see?

Refuge Manager's Notes

September 16, 2019

So far the weather in September has stayed reasonably warm in the area and I do not believe we have seen a frost yet on the Refuge.  Many signs of fall in the air with the harvest season kicking in and many of the waterfowl species taking advantage of the food source.  Flocks of geese and ducks can be seen and heard lifting off the Refuge in the mornings to go feed in harvested grain fields.

Signs of fall migration getting stronger as we have seen shorebirds pushing through the area in the last month and songbirds being seen at the Refuge in the trees.  Sandhill cranes are starting to stage as numbers have definitely increased in the last week.  Good numbers of waterfowl can be viewed especially in the evening hours as these birds are night roosting on Refuge wetlands. 

Despite the warm and mostly dry conditions on the Refuge we are still holding water in many of our wetlands.  Big Pond, Redhead, Toomey, and Two-Way Ponds all still have good water with a variety of waterbirds using them.

As far as big game animals, white-tailed deer can be seen (especially does with fawns) around the auto-tour route and near the headquarters.  Elk started their fall ritual of bugling last week during the short-lived rain we had.  They still can be heard early in the morning and late in the evening, but if you do come out to listen, hurry because it usually does not last long.  Camas also has had some moose hanging around the Refuge for a good part of the summer.  There is one cow with two calves and a cow with a single calf.  One has been spending quite a bit of time around the headquarters area but has not been consistently seen at given times or locations.

Brian Wehausen, Refuge Manager

What's New - 2019

Birds, Bugles, and Brunch

The Annual Celebration of the Wonders of Camas National Wildlife Refuge.  September 21, 2019. 8:00 AM - Noon.   Fun, Free and Family Friendly.  Brunch RSVP 

Photo Contest

Winning photos will be announced at the Birds, Bugles, and Brunch event this Saturday.  Watch for the coming posts.




Friends of Camas NWR Inc. 
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Hamer, ID 83425