Wings Across The Big Sky | Montana Audubon


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Wings Across The Big Sky

Our annual celebration!


Great Falls Festival is Scheduled for June 2023!

Mark your calendars for the Wings Across the Big Sky 2023. This traditional Montana Audubon event is scheduled to take place in Great Falls, June 9th – 11th, 2023, at the Heritage Inn.

Mail-in registration is open. Online registration will open soon.

Registration Flyer

Registration Form and Waiver



Dear Friends, 

Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon Society (UMBA)

For the 22nd year, Montana Audubon is pleased to present Wings Across the Big Sky, Montana’s premier birding festival, June 9-11. This year’s event is based in Great Falls along the “Mighty Mo” or the “Big Muddy,” also officially known as the Missouri River. This year’s local co-host is the Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon.

New to the festival, our theme is Flock to the Falls with Your Family! We hope that more families will join us this year so that the legacy of birding and outdoor recreation continues well into the future, thereby fostering the next generation of conservation-minded citizens in Montana and beyond. 

Festival headquarters is the Heritage Inn on the western side of Great Falls. Registration starts at 3 pm on Friday, followed by dinner and a keynote address. 

Water pours over Ryan Dam and the Great Falls of Missouri during spring runoff. A rainbow appears in the resulting mist.

Numerous field trips will explore the wildlife-rich landscapes of this historic and adventure-filled part of the state. Read on for more information, including festival highlights, field trip schedule, and local points of interest in and near the Electric City. We hope you have a great time birding with us!

Yours in Conservation,

Larry Berrin

Executive Director

Montana Audubon



3:00 pm Registration Opens

4:00 pm Social with Cash Bar

5:00 pm Welcome Buffet Dinner

A Father-Son Decade of Birding: Keynote Presentation by Sneed Collard III

Montana Audubon Conservation Awards


5:30 am Buffet Breakfast

6:30 am A Field Trips Depart

7:15 am B Field Trips Depart

8:00 am C Field Trips Depart

2:00 pm Field Trips Return (approximate)

Take Your Pick:

      • Bird Counts! 
      • Snacks and Refreshments
      • Bird Activities with Your Brood
      • Visit and Support Our Local Sponsors!

4:00 pm Social with Cash Bar

5:00 pm Buffet Dinner

State of the Birds Address by Larry Berrin

Cakes for Conservation – A Dessert Auction for the Birds


5:30 am Buffet Breakfast

6:30 am A Field Trips Depart

7:15 am B Field Trips Depart

8:00 am C Field Trips Depart

      • Field trips do NOT return to the hotel.


Friday Evening, June 9

Keynote Presentation: A Father-Son Decade of Birding

Sneed B. Collard III

Author and Speaker

Acclaimed author, Sneed has written more than ninety books for young people including Beaks!; Fire Birds – Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests; Woodpeckers – Drilling Holes and Bagging Bugs; Waiting for a Warbler; and his newest picture book, Border Crossings. His first book for adults, Warblers and Woodpeckers: A Father-Son Big Year of Birding, recounts the adventures of he and his son Braden during their 2016 Big Year – including epic trips to Arizona, Texas, and Galápagos. Sneed is a popular, award-winning speaker, and has spoken at numerous birding festivals and events. Sneed lives in Missoula, Montana. 

About the Program…

Sneed recounts the entertaining adventures behind his humorous, award-winning memoir Warblers and Woodpeckers: A Father-Son Big Year of Birding (Mountaineers, 2018) and other bird books and articles. Along the way, participants will travel to some of America’s best birding hotspots as well as South America, the Galápagos, the Middle East, and, COVID-willing, Japan. Sneed will share highlights of his son and his “accidental Big Years” of 2022 starring Pinky, America’s most famous flamingo. 

To learn more about Sneed, visit his websites and

Festival Headquarters and Lodging

Shannon Newth, Great Falls Sunrise from Tourism Office October 2022

The Heritage Inn is located on the west side of Great Falls and is easily accessible off of I-15, exit 278, and by Highway 87. The hotel is near many food and shopping locations and has an onsite restaurant, sports bar, and casino. Amenities include a heated pool, hot tub, sauna, fitness center, cable TV, WiFi, and more.  


Heritage Inn

1700 Fox Farm Road

Great Falls, Montana 59404


Locally owned and operated!


Book your room by May 25, 2023, for a special festival rate of $124 per night plus tax.

Not Just a Festival – It’s Also a Birdathon!

Photo of a White-faced Ibis taken by Bob Martinka

We count birds because birds count on us!

Did you know that since the 1970s, our country has lost 3 billion birds? This is an alarming trend, but hope is still alive. Did you know that YOU are part of the solution this weekend? How, you ask? Simply by birding with us. No donation is required. Pretty great, right? 

Here’s how it works…For each unique bird species, you identify here at the festival, between Friday at 6 pm and Saturday at 6 pm, you not only have lots of fun and get the kids but money is raised for Montana Audubon’s critical bird and wildlife habitat work. Birdathon is our biggest fundraising event of the year, so we hope you will join our loyal donors by pledging an amount per bird species found during the 24 hours. Thank you for spotting those birds and helping us raise money for our vital conservation work. Every bird counts!

Flock to the Falls with Your Family!

Looking for a fun, healthy activity for your family? Look no further. Flock to the Falls with your family for Wings Across the Big Sky and bird with your brood! 

Second only to golf, birding is the fastest-growing outdoor activity in America. Why? Because it combines the best of human experiences – time outdoors, ease of sharing with others, discovery, learning, a spiritual connection to our environment, and physical activity, all culminating in a healthier participant and an enhanced conservation ethic.

Families – Join us at Wings Across the Big Sky to discover your passion for birds and conservation in Montana!

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