Birds & Science

We use the best available science to ensure the survival of Montana's birds and other wildlife.

Christmas Bird Count

NOTE: TWO CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS HAVE BEEN RESCHEDULED: CLARK CANYON DAM, HELENA. THE MUSSELSHELL COUNT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. See the new dates below.

Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an annual tradition for families, communities, and the conservation movement. The CBC is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world. The count began in 1900 and is an important and well-respected program of National Audubon.

Erick Greene, Missoula's CBC

Erick Greene, Missoula’s CBC

During this early-winter bird census, participants count every bird they see or hear during one day in a designated 15-mile diameter circle. Some volunteers even do this from their kitchen window, watching nearby feeders.

The upcoming CBC runs from December 14, 2016 and January 5, 2017. All Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) are open to the public. Here’s how to participate this year:

  • To locate the CBC nearest you, refer to the map above (these locations are anticipated in 2016-17).
  • Updated count dates, leaders, and other information can be found BELOW (and we will keep it updated as we receive information).
  • A table of Montana CBC info (dates, leaders, etc.) by location can be downloaded HERE: (mt_compiler_cbc_current).
  • Here’s the account of montanas-2015-16-cbc (last year’s CBC). Thanks to Rose Leach of Five Valleys Audubon for compiling statewide results!

Christmas Bird Counts have proven incredibly valuable for what they tell scientists — and all of us — about our changing world.

1 - Eureka - December 17, 2016

For information contact count leaders Lewis or Lynda Young at 406-889-3492 or [email protected].

2 - Troy - December 31, 2016

For more information contact: count leader Don Jones at 406-295-4291, [email protected].

3 - Libby - December 17, 2016

For more information contact Gene Reckin, [email protected], cell: 406-291-8482, home: 406-293-9344.

4 - Glacier National Park - December 18, 2016

For more information contact: Lisa Bate, at [email protected] or (406) 888-7833.

5 - Kalispell - January 1, 2017

Meet for a group breakfast at 7 AM at Finnegan’s Restaurant (660 E Idaho St.) in Kalispell. For more information contact count leader Pete Fisher: [email protected], 406-250-9624.

6 - Bigfork - December 17, 2016

Groups are assigned the week before the count. If you want to participate, contact Craig Hohenberger: [email protected] or  406-890-1629 OR attend the Dec. 12 Flathead Audubon meeting. We will also gather at the end of the day at a site TBA.

7 - Upper Swan Valley - December 17, 2016

If you want to participate, contact Adam at 406-754-3185 or [email protected].

8 - Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge - December 18, 2016

For more information contact Brian Williams: 406-721-1467 (home) or by email at [email protected].

9 - Missoula - December 17, 2016

Groups are assigned the week before the count. If you want to participate in the field count, contact Larry Weeks at [email protected] or 406-540-3064. If you are interested in being a feeder watcher, contact Rose Leach at 406-370-1999 or [email protected]. The Count day will end with a potluck dinner at the home of Larry Weeks, 2428 West Kent, which is near Rosauers. Potluck guests are welcome to arrive at 6:00 PM. Dinner will commence at 6:30 PM. Please bring your favorite potluck offering, or A-L, bring a salad or dessert, and M-Z, a hot dish.

10 - Stevensville - December 31, 2016

If you want to participate, meet in the conference room of the Stevensville Ranger Station (88 Main Street, Stevensville) between 7:30 and 8:00 AM. For more details call Dave Lockman at 406-381-7679.

11 - Hamilton - December 17, 2016

Meet at 7:30 AM at Teller Wildlife Refuge’s Education Room on Chaffin Lane (one mile north of Corvallis).  Questions?  Contact John at  360-9530 or [email protected].

12 - Grant Kohrs Nat'l. Historic Site - Deer Lodge - December 20, 2016

Meet at 8 AM at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site Headquarters in Deer Lodge if you want to participate. Lunch will be served at Park Headquarters after the count. For more information contact Gary Swant at [email protected].

13 - Warm Springs - January 1, 2017

If you want to participate, contact Gary Swant at [email protected]. Meet at 8:00 AM at the Warm Springs store/bar parking lot (Warm Springs Exit 201 off I-90). Lunch is planned after the event.

14 - Big Hole - January 2, 2017

We don’t know the compiler for the 2016-17 CBC yet. If you want to know about the 2015-16 count, contact Kate by email ([email protected]) or phone (406-381-1115).

15 - Clark Canyon Dam - December 23, 2016

NEW DATE: December 23, 2016:  Meet at 8:00 AM at the south parking lot of UM-Western located at the south end of Dillon. For more information contact Jack at [email protected] or 406-683-7321. Anyone can participate without notifying Jack ahead of time.

16 - Ennis - December 14, 2016

If you want to participate, contact Robin: 406-581-5418 or [email protected]. Meet at Yesterday’s Café in the Ennis Pharmacy at 7:30 AM (124 Main Street in Ennis). Come sooner if you want to eat breakfast (they open at 6 AM).

17 - West Yellowstone - December 18, 2016

Meet at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone at 8:30 AM. Teams will be organized at this time to travel by car, foot, skis, and snowmobile. For more information contact Brad Barth at [email protected] or (406) 640-2628.

18 - Yellowstone National Park - Gardiner - December 18, 2016

Meet at the Yellowstone Grill (404 Scott St) at 7:00 AM in Gardiner. Bring lunch, drinks, snacks, fluids, and warm clothes. For more information, contact Woody Martyn at [email protected] or (406) 224-1476.

19 - Livingston/ Park County - December 18, 2016

Meet at the Northern Pacific Beanery in Livingston (108 W Park St) between 7:00-7:30 AM. For more information, contact Sally at 406-223-9167 or [email protected].

20 - Bozeman - December 17, 2016

Meet at Perkins Restaurant, 2505 West Main, Bozeman, between 7:00 – 7:30 AM.  Contact John Parker (406-586-5863) or [email protected] for more information.

21 - Three Forks - December 26, 2016

Meet at Wheat Montana at exit 274 at 8:30 AM (or by 8:00 for breakfast) . For more information contact Tom Forwood (406) 570-6432 or [email protected] (EMAIL PREFERRED).

22 - Helena - January 2, 2017

NEW DATE: JANUARY 2, 2017:  Meet at Jorgenson’s Restaurant (11th Ave. and Lamborn) at 6:30 AM if you want breakfast at the restaurant and 7:15 AM if you don’t. At 5:30 PM, there will be a potluck at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Additional information can be found on the Last Chance Audubon website at lastchanceaudubon.org.

23 - Great Falls - December 17, 2016

Alternative date (if weather does not cooperate): Sunday, December 18, 2016.

If you are interested in participating, contact Nora Gray: [email protected] or 406-781-4153. Participants, please let Nora know by Wednesday, December 14 if you will be attending Saturday’s post- CBC pizza and salad dinner at FWP headquarters (the dinner is paid for by Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon).

24 - Chester

We don’t know the compiler for the 2016-17 CBC yet. If you want to know about the 2015-16 count, contact Chuck or Janet Saxton at 406-456-3260.

25 - Little Rocky Mountains - December 21, 2016

NOTE: this count will take place on the best day between December 21-23, depending on roads and weather. To participate, contact Fritz  at 406-654-1381 or [email protected].

26 - Malta/Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge - December 17, 2016

To participate, contact Fritz  at 406-654-1381 or [email protected].

27 - McNeil's Slough - December 27, 2016

NOTE: this count will take place as early as possible between December 27-30, 2016, depending on roads and weather. If you want to join the count, contact Fritz  at 406-654-1381 or [email protected].

28 - Fort Peck - December 17, 2016

Please contact Chuck Carlson (526-3245 or [email protected]) before the Count so we have some idea of how many will be participating. We will meet at Carlson’s home in Ft. Peck (1125 N. Platte – behind the old school) at about 7:30 AM. Lunch and a home cooked soup supper with home made rye bread are provided!

29 - Lewistown

We don’t know the compiler for the 2016-17 CBC yet. If you want to know about the 2015-16 count, contact Carla at 406-538-2252 or [email protected].

30 - Musselshell Valley/ Roundup-area - January 5, 2017

NEW DATE: JANUARY 5, 2017:  If you are interested in participating, contact Rose Emily, 406-323-3544, [email protected].

31 - Billings - December 18, 2016

To participate, please call Jim Court (406-259-5099 or [email protected]) before Dec. 13 (alternate contacts: Gail Speck (406-461-1997) or Will Crain (406-697-9156). Meet at Denny’s Restaurant, 501 North  27th St., at 7 AM. At the end of count day, meet at the Audubon Center (7026 South Billings Blvd, Billings) for pizza and drinks. Everyone is welcome!

32 - Miles City - December 17, 2016

For more information contact Jennifer Muscha:   406-951-2799 or email: [email protected].

33 - Cut Bank - December 31, 2016

Alternative weather date: Sunday, January 1, 2017.

Meet at the Big Sky Cafe in Cut Bank between 6:30 and 8:00 for breakfast / to assign routes/regions. Tally location TBD. For more information contact Kate Atkins: 215-601-4330 or email: [email protected].

34 - Ruby Valley - January 4, 2017

Meet at 8:30 at a location to be announced. For more information contact Tom Forwood (406) 570-6432 or [email protected] (EMAIL PREFERRED).

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