Each year around “Winter Wednesday,” the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, days get a little longer and chickadees a little louder. It also means that the return of spring and our citizen science projects are just around the corner. First up…our Long-billed Curlew surveys!
An iconic species of Montana and the intermountain grassland basins of North America, Long-billed Curlews have been declining across their range. Therefore more research on the breeding populations of Montana is critical to the long-term health of the species.
Because Long-billed Curlews only stay in Montana for about four months, we survey them in April and May as they are arriving and setting up nesting territories. Spring 2023 marks Montana Audubon’s 10th year supporting and advocating for citizen curlew surveys. During that time we have witnessed the expansion of subdivisions west of Canyon Ferry, an increased traffic in Helena’s North Valley and Flathead Valley, but also a few curlew broods, all from your steadfast volunteer support. Changes in the landscape increase the importance of monitoring curlew numbers, range and timing of their presence here in Montana.
With their flamboyant “curleee” and distinguished strut, this grassland bird makes a wonderful subject to discover! We hope you will join our project in 2023!
Survey dates: April 8 – May 7 & May 8 – May 31.