Last year we partnered with the University of Montana’s Bird Ecology Lab (UMBEL) on a new project to survey birds and cottonwood regrowth by paddling 70 miles of the Missouri River. This section is classified as an Important Bird Area (IBA), as well as a Wild and Scenic river, and received heavy run-off in 2011 that lead to natural cottonwood regeneration. This year we teamed up again, to ground-truth 2015 data, survey for all birds, and search for cuckoos in habitats managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
However, our main focus was tracking the comeback of a tree that provides habitat for over half of Montana’s breeding birds. In addition to supporting breeding birds, cottonwoods provide habitat for migratory species (hundreds of thousands of individuals), amphibians, as well as mammals like elk, white-tailed deer, and pronghorn.
Click here for the entire account: Missouri River Survey 2016