Message from the Board

January 2021

                                     Sue Braastad

Hello friends,

Friends of Camas is sad to announce that due to the Covid-19 virus and possible risk of transmission we will not be hosting the "Come to the Roost" event that we normally have every year. This is the event where participants can watch eagles fly in by the dozens from the surrounding area and roost in the trees at Camas National Wildlife Refuge.  But the good news is that the eagles will still be there even if we won't be there with coffee and cookies.  Please come out any day in the last half of February, just before sunset (4:30 - 6:30 or so) to see eagles fly in from all directions to meet up in the big cottonwood trees.  This annual congregation is precipitated by the calving season at the local farms.  The parking area by the maintenance building along the road before you enter the refuge will be plowed.  From the road, look to the row of trees to the north to see the eagles roosting. (see attached map pdf) Watch the sky in every direction to see them flying in.  And listen for their chatter as they land in the trees. Please practice safe social distancing if you are not the only ones at the observation parking lot.  If you come early, drive around the refuge and check out the winter wildlife!  We hope to be able to host this event next year after the Covid outbreak subsides.

Come To Roost Map pdf

Refuge Manager's Notes

Brian Wehausen, 

Camas National Wildlife Refuge February 17, 2021

February has been a cold one as far as the Refuge and Hamer community is concerned.  There have been many nights that have dropped well below zero.  The Refuge remains snow-covered but not with a lot of snow.  So far the February storms have stayed to the south of the Refuge and we have had very little snowfall this month.  The same thing can be said for the upper part of our watershed, very little snow this month. 

Bald eagles are using the roost trees near the headquarters site and numbers have slightly increased in the last week or so with the cold overnight temperatures.  During this recent cold snap, we have seen the number of eagles jump from 10 to 20 to now seeing 20 to 30.  The next couple of weeks should be a really good time to come and see this event if you have not already.  In talking with others sounds like more eagles in the southern part of the state than they have seen in the past.  Especially Hagerman and maybe other areas along the Snake River and the winter had been milder down in those areas and birds are finding warmer temperatures and ample food supplies.

Other than our winter mainstay of eagles other notable wildlife on the Refuge are the usual suspects, coyotes are breeding this time of year and very active and vocal, same with Great horned owls.  We have had more sightings of large ungulates recently than we have seen in the past.   Two moose are being seen on a regular basis near the south end of the auto tour route.  We have also been seeing mule deer and antelope along with the elk and white-tailed deer.

To date, the water outlook is looking poor for abundant spring runoff.  As of 2/17/2021, the Crab Creek snotel site is reporting 34 inches of snow depth, 8.0 inches of water equivalent which is about 78% of average.  We are currently about 2 inches of water equivalent behind what was being reported at the same time last year and about 5 inches behind 2019.  Hoping the weather patterns change and we get some good snowfall at least along the continental divide.

Even though Refuge staff is keeping the auto-tour route plowed, conditions are still icy and please use caution while driving on the tour route.  Please keep in mind that only the main auto-tour route is maintained in the winter and with the amount of snow we now have driving off areas that are not plowed may get you stuck at some point.  Opportunities do exist for snowshoeing and cross country skiing but snow depth is not great at this time.

What's New 

Honoring Mary Dolven

  It is with heavy heart, Friends of Camas honors Mary Dolven.  Mary was an active member of the Friends of Camas organization and served on its board for many years. Mary's dedication and work on behalf of the Camas National Wildlife Refuge helped to bring about many improvements.  Donations in Mary's name can be made to Friends of Camas through the PayPal link above.  On the line "add special instructions" you can enter Mary Dolven's name and Friends of Camas will notify the family of your donation.  

MOTUS Tower is Transmitting!

Hi everyone,

Thanks to a team effort with Brian Wehausen, Camas NWR refuge manager, and David La Puma from CTT, we were finally able to connect Camas Motus station and upload data to the server!  It turns out Camas NWR Motus station detected two Swainson’s Thrush from British Columbia, Canada:

  • Thrush #35 was tagged by the Heath Lab in BC on Aug. 31. It was detected again close to the border near Othello BC, on September 15 and detected five days later on September 20 at Camas NWR (see map below)
  • Thrush #18 was detected at Camas on October 1st but I don’t have any more info at the moment. I will let you know of any updates.

Many birds appear to migrate in a southeast trajectory from our tagging sites in the West. Due to lack of current Motus stations to the southeast of MPG Ranch, many of our Intermountain West Collaborative Motus Project tagged birds still go undetected once they leave the Bitterroot Valley, MT. We plan to expand our Motus network next year to the northeast of Camas NWR along I-15 across Monida Pass and up into Montana. 

 I'm hoping we will learn a lot more this year on how intermountain birds tagged at MPG Ranch cross the Northern Rockies prior to migrating to the southern latitudes. 

Thanks,  William




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