Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you do the following:

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Face masks are required in all federal buildings and on all federal lands.
  • Maintain a safe distance between yourself and other groups.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick


Features

  • Burrowing Owl Promo

    Burrowing Owls

    Looking for all the world like a child's cute stuffed toy, burrowing owls are beloved residents of the shrub-steppe.

    Burrowing Owls

  • Badger Promo

    Badgers

    Tough, grizzled, occasionally grouchy, the badger is the curmudgeon next door—gruff but a good guy with an interesting life story to tell.

    Badgers

  • Mule Deer Promo

    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

The Seasons

Spring Is Here

Long-billed Curlew

As the days start to get warm and longer, be on the lookout for Umatilla's many spring-time visitors. The long-billed curlews arrive in March and begin 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.

Duck Hanky Panky

Crazy Duck

See a duck behaving oddly between December and April? 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.

Enjoy

Watching Wildlife

Watching Wildlife

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

Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Read more about the complex
About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System

NWRS Logo

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