Interior Snowy Plover Survey (Malheur)

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge |  June 19-22, 2024

Join Bird Alliance of Oregon and USFWS staff in surveying for Snowy Plovers and other shorebirds on
the playas of the Double O unit of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. These areas are typically closed to
the public so this is a great opportunity to see parts of the Refuge that not many people get to see while also giving back to Malheur and the birds who breed and stopover here. We are welcoming to all BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled individuals interested in participating. Camping will be provided.

Camping gear is available for participants to use during this event. All routes for this survey require
hiking more than 5 miles roundtrip, many require hiking up to 10 miles roundtrip. There will be no
bathrooms during this survey.

Findings will be used to help manage shorebird species on the Refuge as well as contribute to USFWS to track regional Pacific Northwest and Pacific Flyway shorebird trends. 

Partners: Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

A Snowy Plover stands on the sand, its feathers puffed up.

About the Survey

  • Survey Instructions: Basic survey instructions are available including maps of survey areas.
  • When: June 19-22, 2024
  • Where: Survey sites are all in closed areas of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. These sites include Stinking Lake, Harney Lake, and Mud Lake. Surveys may also happen at adjacent playa and spring habitat on BLM land depending on capacity.
  • Time Commitment: Four days, 1-2 for travel and 1-2 for surveys
  • Reporting: Completed shorebird datasheets will be provided after surveys are finalized. Datasheets will be collected from Team Leaders and submitted to the Malheur NWR wildlife and Bird Alliance of Oregon biologists.


Volunteer Requirements

  • Trainings:  Orientation to the protocol and shorebird ID will be provided prior to surveying. Volunteers will work on a team.
  • Bird ID Skills: Must be able to identify Snowy Plovers and other shorebirds, including peeps. Team Leaders will be experienced with shorebird ID and will be familiar with survey sites and protocol.
  • Equipment: Must have own binoculars (some may be available from Malheur NWR with notice ahead of time). Some scopes will be provided. You are welcome to bring your own scope.
  • Field Conditions: All surveys occur in areas that do not have driving access. Because of this, most surveys have a hike-in/out in addition to the walking survey covering up to 10 miles on uneven, often sandy, terrain (although less than 5 miles is possible). Please indicate what distances you’re comfortable with walking on the survey (click on the “view more” button in the sign-up above).
  • Transportation: Transportation to Malheur NWR will be your responsibility. Refuge vehicles will be available for Team Leaders to drive participants to survey sites.



For questions contact Teresa Wicks, Eastern Oregon Biologist, at