Looking for all the world like a child's cute stuffed toy, burrowing owls are beloved residents of the shrub-steppe.
Tough, grizzled, occasionally grouchy, the badger is the curmudgeon next door—gruff but a good guy with an interesting life story to tell.
Mule Deer Photo Gallery
You'll see a lot of mule deer here. There's a good reason for that—Umatilla has one of the most impressive mule deer herds found anywhere.
Mule Deer Photo Gallery
Want to see more animals on your trip to Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge? Here are some tips from the "experts."Watching Wildlife
About the Complex
The Mid-Columbia River Refuges are eight refuges within the Columbia Basin.
Umatilla is managed as part of the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Learn more about the complex
About the NWRS
The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
Learn more about the NWRS
Of Special Interest
See a duck behaving oddly between December and March? You’re likely catching ducks in the act of courtship! Mallards rapidly pumping their heads up and down? How about males raising their bodies out of the water, pulling their heads up and whistling, then grunting? Often a bunch of males do this together to show off to females. Common goldeneye males throw their heads violently backwards to bounce of their backs while giving a little kick. Northern shovelers engage in exciting aerial displays as they erratically twist, dip and circle. In the water, shoveler drakes bill-jerk and neck-stretch to impress the girls. These elaborate courtship rituals encourage cooperation in choosing to pair.
As the days start to get warm and longer, be on the lookout for Umatilla's many spring-time visitors. The long-billed curlews arrived on March 13th and are preparing to nest; look for them foraging in the farm fields and in the flat grassy areas of the refuge. While curlews may be the star of the show, many other spring-time birds can be found, including western meadowlarks and Say's phoebes. The colorful birds of spring may be what catches your eye, but don't forget to look down! Wildflowers are starting to bloom, as well, and dot the ground with beautiful bursts of color. Oregon sunshine are a small yellow flower blooming now and long-leafed phlox in a light purple will soon follow. Whatever spring-time beacon you are in search of, you can find it on your visit to Umatilla NWR.
Majestic. Regal. Striking. Beautiful. Graceful. Fearsome. All words used to describe the symbol of America, the bald eagle. While the truth sometimes paints a different picture, unless you live in Alaska, there's little doubt that the mere sighting of an eagle invokes some of these images. Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge is fortunate to host several eagles each winter, and their return is always eagerly anticipated.
Page Photo Credits Mule Deer At Sunset - Chuck & Grace Bartlett, Burrowing Owl - Jane Abel, Badger - James Perdue, Mule Deer Buck - Chuck and Grace Bartlett
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2015