January 2017

2016 Christmas Bird Count

The Great Falls Tribune’s Outdoor section published a nice follow up article for the 2016 Christmas Bird Count on 1/5/2017. Beth Hill and Kristina Smucker spotted a western screech owl during the count!   Here is the link: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/life/2017/01/04/elusive-western-screech-owl-spotted-great-falls/96161590/

January 09th, 2017

Did you know that you can create your own unique bird guide? Perhaps you are going to the Sweet Grass Hills and wonder what kinds of birds could be found there.

A bird list can be generated from the Montana Natural Heritage Program website via the “Species Snapshot” link.  You can go to the site and generate a field guide for any number of landownership boundaries.

Here is a link to a 2016 guide specific to Cascade County.

​You can also generate a list for a particular town, Important Bird Area,  national park, national forest, watershed, and so on.  You can use also build a field guide that includes other types of critters (mammals, reptiles, etc.)

It’s a pretty nifty tool that  the Montana Heritage Program have developed! Kristina Smucker, nongame wildlife biologist for MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Great Falls provided the link so you can create your own list.

Here is the link if you’d like to play around with it:

Cut Bank, MT Christmas Bird Count

Glad to go up and participate in Cut Bank’s Christmas Bird Count December 31, 2016. (Cut Bank’s Second count).  It’s fun to go out with the local bird scientists.  We learned that the local Albertsons grocery store parking lot is the best place in town to spot migrating raptors!
28 species
3702 individual birds
39 hours, 545.5 miles by car, 1.95 miles by foot for 1.75 hours (too bad about that wind!), 1.1 feeder hours and 3.75 owling hours.

The count tracks with  general impression that there are fewer individual birds around this winter.