Montana is home to over 400 bird species across an astonishing diversity of habitats.
During the winter months, many birders find themselves dreaming of long summer days chasing our feathered friends across beautiful Montana landscapes. Remember, it’s not too early to begin planning your summer birding adventures! Come join us in Kalispell for Montana Audubon’s 19th Annual Bird Festival, this year co-hosted by Flathead Audubon, June 8 – 10 at the Red Lion Inn. Our keynote speaker is noted conservationist Dr. Stuart Strahl, who will present his address, Birds, People & Communities- Charting the Future of Conservation on Friday evening. Our usual assortment of informative speakers, silent auctions, stunning field trips and camaraderie are on tap for 2018 in Kalispell!
We have over 20 field trips planned! — guided by knowledgeable birders and naturalists familiar with the species and their habitats in the Flathead area. Here is a brief sampling:
Swan River Nature Trail – Birds and Native Plants
This is an easy, half-mile to one-mile walk along the beautiful reservoir on the Swan River. Our trip begins at the east end of this family-friendly nature trail. It is home to nesting Goldeneyes, Osprey, Western Tanager, three species of Chickadee, and many other passerines fill the forested shoreline with lively song. A member of the Montana Native Plant Society will be along to answer questions about local plants.
Glacier National Park – East to West
(Two trips on both days from opposite starting points.) Glacier National Park is one of the jewels of the National Park system, and the birding here can be rewarding. On the west side of GNP, we will explore everything from lush riparian areas to dense ancient forest, from meadows to rushing streams. Walking along the McDonald Creek oxbow we will search for riparian birds, flycatchers, warblers, and river waterfowl. We will take several walks, up to a mile in length. Upper McDonald Creek and the Avalanche Creek area promise good chances at Harlequins, Dippers, Pacific Wrens, and Varied and other thrushes.
Flathead Lake Biological Station & Boat Ride
This trip affords a rare opportunity to learn about one of the oldest active biological field research stations in the U.S. Students and researchers from around the world come to the Flathead Lake Biological Station (FLBS) to learn about ecology and limnology (freshwater ecology) from experts. For over 100 years their year-round research has helped people live in a healthier, more sustainable environment as well as assisting policy makers make informed decisions. In addition to a tour of the facility, participants will be treated to a ride around Bird Island and Finely point in the FLBS research boat (weather permitting) to view Bald Eagle and Osprey nests.
Flathead River to Lake Birding
Thousands of acres of Flathead Valley wetlands, farmlands, and river bottom habitat have been conserved through the Flathead River to Lake Partnership. As we tour some of the best birding habitat in the lower Flathead Valley, we should spot spring songbirds, nesting waterfowl, bald eagles, and many other raptors. We will give you insights into how this conservation initiative began, what has been accomplished, and what is on the horizon. The route will take us to conserved and restored lands with wet meadows, agricultural areas, riparian forests, pothole lakes, and back water sloughs. The trip will also include a visit to a new, Flathead Audubon- constructed waterfowl blind on Wylie Slough.
Check back in early March: Festival Registration Brochures with all field trip information, speakers and schedules will be in the mail, and the online system for registration will be active.
For more information please contact Montana Audubon Bird Festival Coordinator, Cathie Erickson, [email protected], or call (406) 443-3949.