Grasslands | Montana Audubon

Montana Audubon

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



grassland bird conservation in Montana

McCownsLongspur_MartinkaSome of the most extensive and intact grasslands in North America can be found in Montana. Across the US, grassland birds show the most declines of any type monitored by Breeding Bird Surveys; 70% of these species are decreasing. Native grasslands provide critical habitat for several bird species that are undergoing widespread population declines: Long-billed Curlew, Mountain Plover, Sprague’s Pipit, Golden Eagle, Burrowing Owl, Baird’s Sparrow, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Thick-billed Longspur (pictured right), and others.

See also our:

Long-billed Curlew Initiative

Montana is blessed with relatively healthy numbers of these species, and careful stewardship of our native grasslands will help to ensure that grassland species do not become endangered throughout their range.

Specific activities and policies that threaten grasslands include:

  • sodbusting of native grasslands to convert to agricultural production;
  • oil, gas, and mineral development;
  • certain wind farm development which fragments extensive grasslands;
  • unsustainable grazing regimes;
  • residential development;
  • unmanaged recreational use;
  • the introduction and establishment of invasive plants; and
  • agricultural practices not consistent with sustaining or enhancing bird populations.

In Montana, some of our best native grasslands are found in northeastern Montana within the North Valley Important Bird Area:

Learn more about our Important Bird Area Program.

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