Montana is home to over 400 bird species across an astonishing diversity of habitats.
Birding is one of the fastest growing recreational activities in the United States. Ask any birder and they will be able to tell you why: the enjoyment that comes from being outdoors, the satisfaction of learning about the natural world, and the pleasure of seeing an unexpected flash of color in the trees. Here we provide statewide information on where to see birds, how to find out what other birders are seeing, birding trips led by Montana Audubon, and more.
You don’t need to be a professional biologist to contribute valuable observations to science and have a great time doing it. Consider joining one of these citizen efforts and help provide valuable information about the birds, wildlife, and natural systems of Montana and beyond. Each project provides a unique opportunity to engage with the communities we serve, in the habitat’s and Important Bird Areas we’re working to protect. As we enter 2020, Montana Audubon is in a position to leverage our volunteer network to continue promoting the conservation of species of concern through citizen science. There is a project for everyone, and a project almost every month of the year.
A great way to keep year-round track of your bird lists and contribute bird data for science! As one of our ongoing citizen science projects, Montana Audubon is managing Montana eBird, a web portal directly linked to the popular and global eBird platform. On this site you can access a great deal of Montana-specific bird information about species, recent checklists, local hotspots and links to data collected by thousands of other eBirders across the state. In addition, photos from local birders, sightings of uncommon birds and Montana Audubon’s news feed can easily be found there. Montana eBird is seamlessly integrated into the popular and global eBird database. This site also has articles posted from the University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab, UMBEL, and Montana WILD.
The site provides state-specific bird occurrence data, photos and lists from around Montana as well as information about our state’s growing numbers of eBirders!
Our annual gathering and bird celebration!
Montana Audubon will host its 21st annual Wings Across the Big Sky bird festival at the Yogo Inn, in Lewistown, Montana on June 5th – 7th 2020! This year, the Festival features local field trips with numerous birding outings planned to the surrounding diverse Northern Great Plains grasslands region surrounding Lewistown, including nearby Judith and Big Snowy Mountains, and cottonwood strongholds like the Missouri River’s James Kipp Recreation Area and nearby Cottonwood Creek, and more distant locations like Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge, American Prairie Reserve, and more.
Birds of Montana by Marks, Hendricks & Casey. Birds of Montana (purchase here) is the first comprehensive reference on the state’s birds since Saunders published A Distributional List of the Birds of Montana in 1921, and it is the only work that provides a thorough review of the status, distribution, relative abundance, ecology, and conservation of the 433 bird species that have been found in the state since Montana entered the Union. Buteo Books, Hardcover, 672 pp, 2016.
Montana Birds by Caleb Putnam and Gregory Kennedy. This compact guide profiles 150 of Montana’s most abundant or notable bird species, illustrated in color. You’ll also find range maps, a quick reference guide that is organized into color-coded family groupings and a map of the state’s best birding sites. Lone Pine Publishing, Paperback, 176 pp, 2005.
Birds of Montana Field Guide by Stan Tekiela. Organized by color with state-specific range map, this is a field guide. Adventure Publications (MN), Paperback, 353pp, 2004.
Birding Montana (Paperback) by Terry McEneaney. Written by Terry McEneaney, the staff ornithologist for Yellowstone National Park, this book takes you on a tour of the best birding sites from the west slope of the Rock Mountains to the eastern prairies, including Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. Globe Pequot Press, Paperback, 316pp, 1998.