Birds & Science

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

Featured Montana IBAs

Kevin Rim important bird area & Rim Rock Wind Farm:

Kevin (pronounced Key’ – vin) Rim Important Bird Area (IBA) is known for having lots of nesting raptors. This IBA is located ~ 20 miles northwest of Shelby, Montana. This area has been designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and as a Key Raptor Area by the Bureau of Land Management.

Greater Sage-Grouse Important Bird Areas:

We have five Important Bird Areas that focus on Greater Sage-Grouse and sagebrush-shrub steppe lands. These are large landscape-level IBAs encompassing over 6 million acres of public and private lands across Montana. These sights were selected for the high densities of male sage grouse at breeding leks in the state.

North Shore Flathead Lake IBA:

The North Shore IBA is one of Montana’s newer IBAs, added to our system in 2010. It encompasses more than 3600 acres of public and private lands, including 7 miles of high quality shoreline, wetlands, and adjoining uplands that support a high number and wide diversity of resident, migratory, and wintering birds. Over 220 bird species have been observed. A list can be viewed HERE.

Riverine IBAs:

Important Bird Areas along key waterways in Montana feature prominently in our IBA Program. We have identified IBAs along the Bitterroot, Clark Fork, Flathead, Madison, Missouri and Tongue, and we are working to delineate one or more IBAs along the middle or lower Yellowstone River in 2012.

Bitterroot River Important Bird Area:

Montana Audubon and the Bitterroot Audubon Chapter have teamed up to better understand and protect the Bitterroot River from just south of Lolo to just north of Hamilton! This cottonwood bottomland and riparian habitat is great for Lewis’ Woodpecker, Red-naped Sapsuckers, Willow Flycatchers, and many more bird species. In fact the diversity of breeding birds along this river is another reason for its inclusion in the IBA program.

Clark Fork River - Grass Valley IBA:

Five Valleys Audubon Society, Montana Audubon, and Five Valleys Land Trust have teamed up to protect lands west of Missoula by focusing attention on birds that use riparian cottonwoods and associated wetlands and grasslands along the Clark Fork River. The Clark Fork River-Grass Valley Important Bird Area encompasses city, state, federal, and private lands including lands protected by conservation easements.

Madison Valley Important Bird Area:

Montana Audubon, Sacajawea Audubon, and the Madison Valley Ranchlands Group have teamed up to protect Ennis Lake and the rich riparian cottonwoods and shrublands and associated wetlands along the Madison River. The Madison Valley Important Bird Area encompasses city, state, federal, and private lands including lands protected by conservation easements.

Owen Sowerwine Natural Area:

Owen Sowerwine Natural Area is a designated Important Bird Area for the State of Montana. Montana Audubon has a license on this 442-acre parcel of school trust land located at the confluence of the Flathead and Stillwater Rivers. Cottonwood trees and other riparian vegetation dominate the parcel. It is the first—and only—state natural area designated on school trust land in Montana. Flathead Audubon and Montana Audubon fought a two-year battle with the state to be able to continue a license on this property.

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