Long-billed Curlews are starting to trickle into the southern states and work their way up the Pacific Coast as another breeding season approaches. In anticipation of their arrival in Montana, we’re gearing up our volunteer curlew surveyors in the Mission and Helena Valleys. During the past two survey years, efforts have grown up around the state to collect more information on this species, and considering Montana supports 20% of the global breeding population, the best time to learn about them is now while they are still common.
What have our 62 volunteers have contributed by surveying 35 routes and spending more than 175 hours in the field? They have submitted 200 curlew data points that will be used to identify priority areas for conservation. We are already starting to discover separate areas that are used for breeding and staging, and finding birds in new areas all together. So what can you do? If you live near the Helena or Mission Valleys, consider getting out for the day to survey. It’s easy; survey routes consist of early morning road-side stops repeated every half mile.
At each stop, you will leave the vehicle for five minutes and look and listen for curlews. Along the way, you will collect important data on the time, habitat, and presence or absence of curlews. And, the great thing is that you only need to look for one big beautiful bellowing bird. The best way to get involved is to contact Amy Seaman ([email protected]) and she can help you out. And, feel free to take a partner, a new birder, do a route more than once, or do more than one route. The Curlews are just waiting to be found.
Click here to brush up on your Curlew identification before heading into the field.
Also visit Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All about Birds: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Long-billed_Curlew/id.