Montana Audubon

Montana Audubon works at the local, state and national policy levels to protect our natural heritage.

Adopt a Quarter-Quarter Latilong (QQLL) Program

In our quest for better information on bird distribution in Montana, we are looking for people to “adopt” specific areas in the state, called “quarter-quarter latilongs” (QQLL), in order to have a more complete picture of the bird species found in specific areas. What is a quarter-quarter latilong? The state of Montana is divided into a grid-like pattern of units called latilongs, quarter-latilongs, and, smaller yet, quarter-quarter latilongs. The word “latilong” is a combination of the words “latitude” and “longitude” and represents the area of land formed by the intersection of these imaginary mapping lines. Montana is divided into 49 latilongs, 185 quarter-latilongs, and over 700 quarter-quarter latilongs.

QQLL Maps with Description


How to choose a QQLL to adopt

Quarter-quarter latilongs cover an area roughly 11 miles by 17 miles. If you would like to “adopt” one or more QQLLs, we would like to know what area(s) you would like to adopt. QQLLs can be determined by:

  • Sending us a description of the area you are interested in adopting—so we can determine the correct QQLL for that location. If you are interested in adopting the QQLL in which you live, or one that contains a place you like to visit and bird watch (e.g., Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge), give us the name of that site. You can also send us Township, Section and Range information of the site; or
  • Sending us a map with the location marked on it; or
  • Looking up QQLLs on the following portion of the Montana Natural Heritage website. All maps on this page are printable as 8-1/2″ X 11″ pdf maps. There are two types of maps available:
    • Individual QQLL Reference Maps. Detailed individual maps of each QQLL are available. From a map of the state of Montana, this interactive map lets you select any QQLL map you want. You can look at maps on your computer or print them to take into the field.
    • Travel Maps. Travel maps show QQLL boundaries for large sections of Montana, with the entire state divided into 7 regions. These maps allow you to roughly determine which QQLL you are in as you travel. Print a complete set and keep them in your car!

You can adopt the QQLLs where you frequently birdwatch, even when someone else has signed up. However, we also encourage people to adopt QQLLs not spoken for! A list of currently adopted QQLLs appears HERE.

Please send information on which QQLL(s) you would like to adopt to Janet Ellis, Policy Director, Montana Audubon, P.O. Box 595, Helena, MT 59624; or email: [email protected]


Instructions for the adopt a QQL program

Once you decide to adopt a QQLL, you will need the following information, which you can get by (1) downloading the information from this site, or (2) we will email you the information, or (3) we can mail you a packet of information. Specific information that is available includes:

  • Adopt QQLL Instructions. This sheet explains the process to record your bird sightings, including how to submit the records. Download Instruction Sheet HERE.
    Lee Metcalf Map
  • Adopt QQLL Bird Spreadsheet. This is a simplified Excel spreadsheet that you can use to enter all pertinent bird observation information by QQLL. Although we prefer to have you fill this spreadsheet out on your computer, we will also take the information if you fill it out by hand. Download the QQLL Spreadsheet HERE.
  • Maps of QQLLs or “Popular Birding” Areas. If you want an 8-1/2″ X 11″ map of a specific QQLL, (1) we can send you the map, or (2) you can download and print the maps yourself. Additionally, we have created special maps for “popular birding” areas such as Freezout Lake, wildlife refuges, and cities occupying several QQLLs (e.g. Billings, Great Falls, Helena, Missoula, etc.). Download QQLL maps or Popular Birding Area maps HERE. If you don’t see the map you need, contact us and we’ll get it for you!
  • List of Montana Birds. Because we need you to record bird names accurately in the QQLL spreadsheet, we want you to have an official bird list (so you can check the official spelling easily). We have two lists you can look at: one has Montana birds listed taxonomically and the other has the list alphabetically. Additional information is requested for some species that are of conservation concern or considered rare; these birds that are highlighted on the list (orange in color, and italicized). Download the state Bird List HERE.

Thank you for submitting your records!


Other Useful Information for Bird Records:

In order to help you collect bird observations for a specific area, we offer the following tools:

List of Montana Birds for Your Area. A list of bird observations already seen in a specific LL, QLL, or QQLL can be developed by:

  • Click on the application link mtnhp.org/SpeciesSnapshot.
    In the upper left corner there is a filter that is defaulted to “Statewide.” Click on the down arrow on that filter and select the LL, QLL, or QQLL of interest.
  • If you only want a list of birds, click on the down arrow on the adjacent “All Species” filter and click on “Birds.” Similarly, you can filter out species of a particular status with the filter that is currently defaulted to “All Status.”
  • To see your list, click on the “+” next to the birds link at the bottom of the report to expand/see the list of birds. The total number of species is reported in the header of the report.
  • To print or download the information: below the animal/plant summary table, click “Print Species List” link or export a PDF Field Guide by clicking on the “Download PDF FieldGuide” link above the report. The Field
  • Guide provides one page of information for each species.
  • To download these instructions, click here.

Simple Animal Observations. A simple web-based data entry tool – that is similar to the Adopt QQLL Bird Spreadsheet decribed above – is available for general entry of bird sightings. This form can be used from any web browser, computer platform, or connection speed. To use this form (or check it out), click HERE.

Rare Bird Report Form. If you see one of the birds indicated as a species of conservation concern or considered rare, you will need to submit a rare bird report form.


For More Information on this Project

Contact Janet Ellis, Program Director at 406-443-3949 or [email protected]

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