Montana Audubon

Montana Audubon works at the local, state and national policy levels to protect our natural heritage.

Celebrate Earth Day With Us!

Montana Audubon is celebrating Earth Day by raising awareness and support for our Bird Conservation & Science programs, specifically our Black Swift program. For years, we’ve been surveying nests of the elusive Black Swift, which is seriously threatened by climate change. Blacks Swifts nest near or behind glacial waterfalls, and as glaciers shrink, so does the nesting habitat for Black Swifts.

During Earth Week (April 18th through April 24th) all donations $20 and more made towards our Bird Conservation & Science work will be entered to win this original “Black Swifts in Flight” woodcarving, hand-carved by our very own Bo Crees. The birdseye maple wall mount is about 13″ long and the wingspan of the large Black Swift carving is about 17″, which is roughly actual size! Both swifts are hand-carved out of black walnut.

To participate, donate here from now until April 24th. Under “Gift Designation” use the drop down menu to select Bird Conservation & Science. Make a gift of $20 or more and you’ll be entered to win this one-of-a-kind wood carving. Gifts of $50 and more gets you entered to win the carving and automatically gets you a black swift t-shirt (pictured left). Indicate t-shirt size in the “notes” section. Contact Angela with questions.

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More About Our Black Swift Program

Your donation to this campaign will support Montana Audubon’s ongoing efforts to track the elusive Black Swift. For more than six years, Montana Audubon has led a Black Swift project in Western Montana, which includes several partnerships with agencies and nonprofit organizations across the Rocky Mountain West. The project focuses on defining the Black Swift’s nesting territories, estimating its world-wide population, characterizing its habitat, and developing a long-term monitoring program. 

Black Swifts exist on the brink. They are a species seriously threatened by our changing climate, mostly due to the fact that they nest near or under glacial waterfalls. As summers get hotter and drier, their habitat shrinks. Like many aerial alpine species, we are already seeing Black Swift populations steadily declining, leading to designations like Partners in Flight Continental Watch List, Northern Rockies Bird Conservation Priority Species, and United States Fish & Wildlife Service and Montana Species of Conservation Concern. Not only at risk in the US, breeding bird surveys from Canada, where 80% of the world’s population nests, indicates a localized 6.5% annual drop. In 2015, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, listed Black Swifts as endangered due to climate change, citing a 50% population decline from 1973 to 2012. This prediction is corroborated by evidence of habitat loss in Glacier National Park, where the park’s 36 known nesting locations, are at risk

Black Swifts are exceptionally difficult to observe due to the rugged terrain in which they nest. Our work surveying Black Swifts is time and

Black Swift Volunteers in 2019

labor intensive. Each year, our team treks through the backcountry of Glacier National Park in July and August to observe and survey nesting sites. However, this work has resulted in significant achievements, having helped to increase the number of known nesting sites in Montana from only 6 to 47!

We have also honed and developed new techniques for the species’ detection, trained and organized volunteer and professional researchers, and spearheaded the growth of a new international collaborative. As one of the most difficult avian species to observe, Black Swift study requires special planning, preparation, safety precautions and execution. Your donation will directly support the continuation of this work in 2021 and beyond. For more information about our Black Swift conservation program, please contact Amy Seaman at [email protected]. Thank you!

Montana Audubon depends on your financial support

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