The sedges were full of birds, the waters were full of birds: avocets, stilts, willets, killdeers, coots, phalaropes, rails, tule wrens, yellow-headed blackbirds, black terns, Forster’s terns, Caspian terns, pintail, mallard, cinnamon teal, canvasback, redhead and ruddy ducks. Canada geese, night herons, great blue herons, Farallon cormorants, great white pelicans, great glossy ibises, California gulls, eared grebes, Western grebes—clouds of them, acres of them, square miles—one hundred and forty-three square miles of them!

- Dallas Lore Sharp (1914) remarked on Lake Malheur Bird Reservation
Plan Your Visit


Let our staff and volunteers at the Visitor Center help you plan your visit! The Visitor Center is located at the Refuge headquarters and is a great starting point for you to become more familiar with the Refuge and the wildlife that live here. Visitors can obtain Refuge brochures and maps, see the most recent bird sightings and about birding “hot spots”, browse nature and wildlife interpretive panels and exhibits, and learn more about other recreational opportunities such as wildlife watching, photography, the auto tour route, trails, fishing, and hunting. 

While at Refuge headquarters, visit the Nature Store for field guides, t-shirts, and other educational items, and the Museum that houses interpretive exhibits with nearly 200 mounted wildlife specimens. The great variety of trees and shrubs at the Refuge headquarters attracts many birds, making it one of the best places in Oregon to see migrating songbirds. Marshall Pond is an excellent spot to see wildlife. Take a short hike and view Malheur Lake from the overlook just above the headquarters.

The Refuge and Museum are open daily from sunrise to sunset. 

Visit Us

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located in southeastern Oregon’s high desert, at the northern end of the Great Basin. It is adjacent to Steens Mountain, from which the Wild and Scenic Donner und Blitzen River flow into the Refuge’s southern boundary. The Refuge is famous for spectacular concentrations of wildlife, which are attracted to the Refuge’s habitats and abundant water resources in an otherwise arid landscape. Visitors are drawn to Malheur’s abundant wildlife and natural resources, and the variety of recreational opportunities the Refuge provides for visitors to enjoy.


Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      For thousands of years, people have been drawn to Malheur's abundant wildlife and natural resources. The story begins with the earliest evidence of people to the establishment of the Refuge. Malheur is committed to protecting these resources of plants, animals, and human interactions with each other, and the landscape over time. Learn more about the geology and geomorphology of the area, Native American uses, the era of the fur trappers, settling the land and setting aside land for wildlife, the profound effect of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) at Malheur, and the establishment of the Refuge.

      What We Do

      The National Wildlife Refuge System is a series of lands and waters owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the Refuge System. It drives everything we do from the purpose a refuge is established, to the recreational activities offered there, to the resource management tools we use. Selecting the right tools helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

      Our Species

      Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1908 to protect migratory waterfowl, with an emphasis on colonial nesting species. Today, the Refuge encompasses over 187,000 acres that are disproportionately important as a stop along the Pacific Flyway, and as a resting, breeding, and nesting area for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds and other wildlife. Many of the species migrating through or breeding at Malheur are highlighted as priority species in national bird conservation plans. 

      Get Involved

      Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature, or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities for you to help your community by doing what you love. National wildlife refuges partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners, neighbors, and residents of urban and coastal communities to make a lasting difference. Find out how you can help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while doing something personally satisfying.