2017 Wings Across the Big Sky Bird Festival

Nice article in the Great Falls Tribune about the Bird Festival.

Birders to flock to Great Falls
Karl Puckett , kpuckett@greatfallstribune.com 2:25 p.m. MT May 30, 2017
Montana Audubon’s 18th annual bird festival, planned in Great Falls, will highlight protecting birds on the northern Great Plains and also the conservation organization’s 40 years of conservation work.

A few hundred birders from across Montana and even the country are expected, said Nora Gray of the Upper Missouri Breaks Aububon chapter, which is co-hosting the three-day event with the state chapter in Helena.
“It’s an eclectic group, but the common denominator is we really like to look at birds,” Gray said.
The festival is scheduled June 9-11 at the Best Western Plus Heritage Inn in Great Falls.
The statewide event was held last in Great Falls in 2009.
Wings Across the Big Sky celebrates Montana’s 400-plus bird species, and nearly 30 field trips into the prairies and mountains of northcentral Montana are planned over the weekend.
Some people will be attending specifically to see the area’s grassland birds such as McCown’s Longspur, Chestnut-collared Longspur,  Marbeled Godwit and long-billed curlews, Gray said.

Birders also will get the opportunity to see American pelicans nesting at Lake Arod.
The public is invited.
“People are really excited to show new birders what the birds are,” Gray said. “When you go on a field trip you go with an experienced birder. Usually that person will have a spotting scope. It’s a good time. You don’t have to be a good birder to go.”
A bird-calling contest is planned, and custom bird-watching tours are planned Saturday and Sunday.
People can sign up to go on those tours at www.mtaudubon.org and click on the “Outreach” section to sign up for the events.
Guided excursions to the Rocky Mountain Front, Little Belt Mountains and local hotspots like the Missouri River and Giant Spring State Park are planned.
The keynote speaker is David Ringer, chief network officer with National Audubon, who will talk Friday evening about protecting birds.
That address will touch on conservation issues related to birds and habitat in the Northern Great Plains and northern Rocky Mountains region.
Additional presentations are planned on the public policy and conservation work of Montana Audubon, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary of conserving birds and other wildlife.
A 40th birthday party barbecue is planned Friday evening.

For more information
There are many activities to chose from at Wings Across the Big Sky, according to Montana Audubon. For a full schedule and registration information, visit the “Outreach” section of www.mtaudubon.org or call Montana Audubon at 406-443-3949.

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