Nestled between the plains and the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon, McKay Creek National Wildlife Refuge offers habitat for rare and endangered species and is a haven for breeding and migratory birds. The lack of other local wetland habitats elevates the importance of this refuge as a home to a variety of wildlife and plant species in an arid environment.
Aquatic habitats serve as resting and feeding areas for wintering waterfowl, while surrounding shrub-steppe and riparian corridors provide habitat for small mammals, mule deer, songbirds, and birds of prey.
Osprey nest in cottonwoods; and bald eagles are seen in the area in fall and winter. During late summer, exposed mud flats provide a source of food for migrating shorebirds. Situated only 5 miles south of the town of Pendleton, Oregon, the refuge receives almost 50,000 annual visitors, most during the summer months.
Upland bird hunting remains popular, with as many as 500 hunters each year pursuing pheasant and quail. Other visitors simply enjoy driving, walking, picnicking or observing the abundant wildlife and scenic beauty.