We use the best available science to ensure the survival of Montana's birds and other wildlife.
Five Valleys Audubon Society, Montana Audubon, and Five Valleys Land Trust 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.
Watch this 8 minute short feature with Five Valleys Audubon’s Jim Brown.
Bird Surveys Find Important Species
Beginning in 2002, Five Valleys Audubon volunteers have monitored breeding birds in this Important Bird Area. These data are essential for nomination of an area as an official IBA. Recent surveys, plus information collected informally by Five Valleys Audubon volunteers over the last 20 years, showed that the Missoula Valley is a special place for birds. Volunteers documented the occurrence of 230 species of birds in the area, more than half of the bird species recorded for the entire state of Montana! Thirteen of these are species of conservation priority nesting in the study area, including 6 pairs of Bald Eagles and high numbers of Lewis’s Woodpeckers, Red-naped Sapsuckers, Willow Flycatchers, and Red-eyed Vireos. They also documented that the settling ponds at the Smurfit-Stone Container mill are used by 27 species of migratory shorebirds and more than a thousand shorebirds can be found there on a good day during the peak of southward migration.
In 2009 this IBA was awarded status as “continentally significant” because of the numbers of nesting Lewis’s Woodpeckers (pictured above).