Are you ready to hear the ‘currlleeee’ of the Long-billed Curlew? Well, grab your binoculars and get ready, because it’s almost curlew season! These charismatic shorebirds will be trickling back into the state in less than two months and we need your help finding as many as possible in and around the Mission and Helena Valley!
Since 2013 volunteers have recorded curlews sightings in these two Montana valleys and these data are helping inform statewide habitat models as well as highlighting important tracts of intact grassland that in need of conservation.
We have known that the Mission and the Helena Valley harbor the very important grassland and wetland habitat that curlews rely on during breeding and migration. It was determined that this species offered the perfect opportunity to involve citizen scientists, like you, to collect more details on local curlew “hotspots” with focused surveys. Now you have the opportunity to help advance conservation of curlews and their habitats by choosing an available survey route and getting out into the field!
It’s easy: survey routes consist of early morning road-side stops repeated every half mile. At each stop, you will get out of the car for five minutes and look and listen for curlews. Along the way you will collect important data on the time, habitat, and presence or absence of curlews. And, the great thing is that you only need to look for one big beautiful bellowing bird. All you have to do is choose a route and catch up on Curlew identification and you are all set to go!
The best way to get involved right now is to contact Amy Seaman directly (see information below). Surveys will start on April 15th and go until the end of May. You will be instructed in survey details such as the protocol, data sheets, and map reading. Feel free to bring a partner, a new birder, do a route more than once, or do more than one route.
To brush up on your Curlew identification before heading into the field visit Montana Audubon’s webpage for a link to the Curlew’s call and much more. Also visit Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All about Birds page.
For more information or for any questions, contact Amy Seaman: [email protected] or 406.210.9449.