Bird Reports

Bird Sightings for January 2024

Jan. 25 – It’s a first for me to see a Merlin up close. He left without dinner. Our backyard – Jan Wilson

Jan. 23 – Raptor Survey, South. I drove the south route today.  The weather was nice and the roads were pretty dry with a few spots of snow/ice that were almost always in shade.  I only saw 11 roughies today, but there were 5 Golden Eagles including the pair flying together (attached).  There was another pair sitting together in a tree.  4 Red-tailed Hawks outnumbered the single Northern Harrier.  Each Red-tail was distinctly different.  The one attached was a beautiful white underneath with a barely visible belly band.  12 total Bald Eagles still seems a little slim.  A single Prairie Falcon gave me a better show than the one we saw Saturday. Next trip – probably Thursday. – Beth Hill

Jan. 21 – Took a short walk near Giant Springs  and a drive East along the Missouri River for a couple miles. saw the cygnet trumpeters, several bald eagles, some soaring and a few feeding on fish on the ice, coots, Canada geese, a sharp-shinned hawk, goldeneyes, and were trying to ID a duck when Beth came along, glassed it, and said it was a decoy! there were finches and juncos and chickadees and sparrows at the feeder at Giant Springs and a flock of meadowlarks at the overlook at crooked falls! also saw several dead Canada geese here and there on or in the ice – Bev Axelsen 

Jan. 20 – Birding on old Hwy 91. I started at the Ulm bridge and saw a Bald Eagle in a cottonwood overlooking the river. Headed back towards Ulm and spotted 5 Pine Grossbeaks in residential tree. Next, I headed towards Cascade on old Hwy 91 and saw: a Baldie on a nest, 2 Rough-legged hawks, a Kestrel on a phone line, a Red-tail sitting on the railroad tracks. I stopped to photo him and he flew off down the track and landed again. Must have been good food opportunities there! – Jan Wilson

Jan 20 – Raptor Survey Full Trip Report Sun River-Simms. The day was mostly cloudy.  The temperatures warmed overnight from a steady zero at midnight to 30 at sunrise. Temperatures today ranged from 33-45 degrees.  The roads started with a mix of snow, ice and dry pavement changing to slush on gravel roads and mostly dry pavement.  Winds were SW 10-15 mph.

We saw 6 Rough-legged Hawks on the short drive (5 miles) along Vaughn Frontage Rd before we were even at Vaughn and HWY 89.  Rough-legged Hawks certainly were abundant for the first time this winter.  What was more surprising was the huge number of Mallards in a grain field just north of the Sun River and in a spring fed creek.  Multiple thousands.  We saw large numbers take off several times when a raptor flew over the group.  It appeared they were feeding on rows of grain left behind.  There were geese as well, but they were far outnumbered by the mallards.  The Ferruginous Hawk and Western Meadowlark were two highlight birds. https://ebird.org/tripreport/196426  – Beth Hill

Jan. 20 – We had a couple nice surprise birds today, including this meadowlark.  A ferruginous hawk was another highlight, besides the 40 some odd “roughies” that we saw on today’s winter raptor survey route. – Beth Hill

Jan. 20 – my photog friend was at Giant Springs today as well as out here where he watched the Golden Eagles (that Jan Wilson also photographed today). Dave saw two swans out on the river near the trestle past Giant Springs. and 17 bald eagles feeding on fish. there was a cormorant on the edge of the river on the ice. I did not leave the house today so have to live vicariously via y’all that did brave the melting snow and mud! lots of pheasants out here along with the usual birds at the feeders. – Bev Axelsen

Jan. 20 – Golden Eagles at Gibson Flats. A pair of golden eagles were perched on the rock ridge that overlooks Gibson Flats. there’s a nest nearby that they’ve been using for the past few years. good to see them in the area again. – Jan Wilson

Jan 19 – the eagles are feeding on a new carcass along the county road east of us northern flickers are checking out the thistle, sunflower, and suet feeders with the little birds – Bev Axelsen 

Jan. 18 – Have three bald eagles out in the cottonwood and a golden eagle at first I thought it was an immature bald, but it is much larger than the baldies lots of pheasants around – Bev Axelsen 

Jan. 18 – We have about 20 GC Rosy Finches at the feeders this morning.  We have had 6 for the entire cold snap but a bunch more showed up today. – Kitty and Kris

Jan 17 – I had a immature gray crown rosey finch hanging out under my thistle feeder this morning. First one for me. – Wendy Kamm

Jan 17 –  I had a immature gray crown rosey finch hanging out under my thistle feeder this morning. First one for me. – Wendy Kamm

Jan 16 – had to go take a look at Gt Springs today to see what it looks like at -25 or so. Lots of frosty geese & mallards.  Feeder was still pretty full and I was surprised there were just a few finches, a flicker, and a chickadee or two around it.  I thought it would be swarmed. Needless to say, I didn’t stay long.  Stay warm….   – Steve Leathe

Jan 12 – Mealworms are popular. With mealworms in hand I stepped outside and presented my hand with the mealworms and an in a matter of a couple seconds had both a mountain and a black capped chickadee eat out of my hand. This is the first time I’ve done this this winter. It can work with sunflower seeds as well but generally not quite so quickly. – Richard Mousel 

Jan 11 – Our Feeders. There has been 3 Downy Woodpeckers at our feeders today, unfortunately a male is extremely greedy, we also have been getting a Flicker coming to the suet, the other day it was feeding for 45 minutes, it feeds on the suet feeder I attached to the top of our hopper feeder. The Chickadees both Mountain and Black-capped love the meal worms I put out multiple times a day. Unfortunately I haven’t seen the White-breasted Nuthatch in a couple of weeks, have a couple of Red-breasted though. A few hours later: I now have a guest looking for a hot dinner. A Sharpie. – Rich Mousel

Jan 11 – Acciptiter Identification. Here is a blog that may help you out – https://hawkwatch.org/how-to-tell-accipiters-apart/ – Beth Hill

Jan 10 – River Freezing. I made a few stops to check out river conditions while out doing weekly shopping before it gets sub-zero.  The co-op section of river had a lot of “ice cubes” but still hundreds of goldeneye and mallards.  The river between Central Ave and 9th St bridges was 99% ice filled.  I could see a few mallards at the water treatment outlet. I went an extra few miles to check on the Giant Springs bird feeder (yes, it was empty).  I filled it with the rest of a 25 pound bag and put in 2 new suet blocks.  I noticed that safflower can fall through the bottom hardware wire.  Not much, but it did come out.  It will get eaten.  There were over 1000 mallards in the area of the spring.  Several hundred geese and a handful of goldeneye and buffleheads.  There was a fair amount of ice flowing in the river here as well.  (I didn’t go down to the dam). It doesn’t take long for a feeze-up to develop. – Beth Hill

Jan 8 – Snow Geese. Saw 200 to 250 Snow Geese flying south over our place about 10AM. – Kitty and Kris

Whoa – that’s a large number for this time of year. – Beth Hill

WOW  we have about 300 Canada geese in the adjacent wheat field and I thought that was a fantastic sight!  Hope they don’t pull up the green wheat. – Bev Axelsen

Jan 8 – We have 6 Gray Crowned Rosy-finches at the feeder this morning. – Kitty and Kris

Jan 3 – FOY Meadowlark this morning about1/8 mile north of the T intersection of 10 Mile and River Road. – Kitty Knapus

Jan 3 – I had the female red crossbill at my feeder again 2 days ago. I got a really close look at it, and there is no mistaking that beak. I saw it about a month before that, but nothing until Monday.  I don’t know what it is doing in a prairie river town. – Wendy Kamm

Bird Sightings for Nov 2023

Nov 28: We saw a flock of 40 Sandhill Cranes just west of our place yesterday. They were headed south. – Kitty Knaphus

Nov 22: Bev Axelsen sent a photo of 30 waxwings in her tree.

Nov 21: I was out this morning for a sunrise shoot on the road to Widow Coulee. 8 swans flew by low, but not close enough for photo. Light was low so I couldn’t tell if they were Tundra or Trumpeter. – Jan Wilson

Nov 21: saw two northern flickers as I left our place this a.m. songbirds weren’t awake/at the feeders, yet! took a drive to Armington and East looking for the turkeys we saw last week saw about 14 of them but I think more where in front of the barn away from the highway and/or in with the equipment parked by the barns. saw three bald eagles – the first one was in a tree near a big nest at Memke’s East of Great Falls. did see a flock of Cedar Waxwings near Monarch and a couple of Clark’s Nutcrackers and several mountain chickadees near Neihart. lots of ravens and magpies everywhere and lots of deer. – Bev Axelsen 

Nov 20: Cranes by sound. – Kitty Knaphus

Nov 18:  Winter raptor survey report from the Fairfield bench: https://ebird.org/tripreport/172619 – Beth Hill

Nov 15: Michelle and I visited Benton Lake not too long after sunrise this morning.  It may have been 30 degrees but the wind was 0 mph at first – the lake surface was like a mirror.  By 9 am it was picking up and warming.  It was wonderful listening to the 60 plus Tundra Swans whooping (recall that they were once named Whooping Swans).  They were next to over 120 Snow Geese.  Mallards outnumbered everything else (put together).  A smattering of other ducks included Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Canvasback, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, just 10 Coots.  There were 2 or more Northern Harriers always in sight flying low over the marsh and grassland.  What a nice way to spend the morning. – Beth Hill

Nov 13 There were 4 of us in the car Saturday.  The temperatures ranged from 40-50 degrees.  It was mostly cloudy all day.  The wind started out SW 15-18 mph then increased to gusts past 30 mph after 11:15 am.  Whether fewer birds after that was due to the wind or time of day is impossible to determine.  We saw one large group of antelope laying down in a field (it was very windy at that time) – there were over 55 counted.  It was surprising to see a Pied-billed Grebe in a channel of the Smith River just before we got to Eden Bridge.  The water was about 6 inches deep right where it was holding.  There were nice looks at several of the Red-tail Hawks and the single Rough-legged Hawk.  A first year Red-tail landed on a fence post with a ‘gopher’ and proceeded to do some eating while we watched.  After a few bites it took off.  The eBird report here: https://ebird.org/tripreport/171151  – Beth Hill

Nov 12:  1 Red Crossbill, 1 Redpoll, 1 A. Goldfinch, 1 Pine Siskin, 27 House Finches.  /// 19 Tundra Swans, lots of Canada Geese and about 300 Sandhill Cranes.  The cranes were all lifting off in small groups and flying south.  This was in a stubble field about 7 miles from our house. /// Still have some swans in the field, along with lots of Canada Geese.  Also 2 adult Bald Eagles on the Osprey nest at the Ulm FAS. – Kitty Knaphus

Nov 12: just returned from a nice drive today with friend, Suzette. saw a vulture soaring above Riceville Road near where we could see Tiger Butte; saw two dozen turkeys under the trees near the Sluice Box that walked right up to the vehicle; saw 50 turkeys a few miles from Armington Junction; and was surprised to see a small flock (about a dozen) cedar waxwings in the trees along the road where we turned to drive into Belt!  – Bev Axelsen 

Nov 7: With the addition of suet, peanut and seed blocks have had an increasing variety of visitors, in addition to House Finch and Sparrow we’ve had numerous Black-capped Chickadees several Mountain Chickadees and  both Red-breasted and a White-breasted Nuthatch and today 3 Downey Woodpeckers. – Richard Mousel

Nov 5: This has been an interesting fall in Fort Benton.  At my feeder, besides the usual house finches, house sparrows, downy wood peckers, black capped chickadees and flickers, this week saw a mountain chickadee, red and white breasted nuthatches and a female red crossbill. – Wendy Kamm

Nov 4: Velda and I drove the Sun River-Simms WRS route this morning.  The weather really wasn’t bad, a little breeze.  A misty rain for about an hour.  We were able to find a number of raptors.  A surprise was a late Western Meadowlark.  We watched a Golden Eagle get harassed by a pair of magpies over the rim of one of the benches, then it came up with what looked like a 8-10 inch long stick about 1- 1.5 inch diameter.  Then it dipped below the rim and we didn’t see it again.  Nest building?  A little later we watched a non-adult Bald Eagle flapping wildly on a tree top.  It flipped upside down, flapping and hanging on (or stuck?) on the branch.  Then it took off.  It landed on the top of another tree and flopped around again and this time it flew off with a branch.  That explained it.  It was gathering nest materials.  Or maybe just practicing because it then dropped it.  It was, after all, not an adult (traces of white in head and tail). There were several Rough-legged Hawks.  Several Northern Harriers. One nice Harlan’s Red-tail (it was really dark, no red, no bars or belly, but we could clearly see yellow legs (not feathered).  We were surprised to see as many kestrels as we did.  The route is about 65 miles long and it took 4 hours to complete (we did take a 30 minute detour mid-route to visit with a friend, that time was not included). Trip report here: https://ebird.org/tripreport/169503 – Beth Hill

Nov 2: About noon we were coming home from a trip to town.  We had seen 19 Swans along with about 300 Canada Geese feeding in a stubble field on our way into town so we stopped there to look again.  The swans and geese were still there but we also spotted a group of 20 Sandhill Cranes.  We got out to watch them and over the next 15 minutes we watched group after group of cranes lift off from further back in the field, where we couldn’t see them on the ground.  We counted 302 cranes.  It was a nice show.  Could be our last cranes of the season. – Kitty Knaphus

Nov 2: Liz Larcom & I saw 270 Sandhill Cranes past Ulm on Saturday afternoon along with 4 swans flying overhead. The cranes were in a field with cows, Canada geese & mallards. – Nora Gray

Nov 1: We’ve been visiting Giant Springs this week since county roads are extremely mucky right now. /// I’ve found a group of 6 or more Pine Grosbeaks each day feeding on ash tree seeds.  They were in the main park but seemed to prefer the area below the interpretive center.  They call to each other quite a bit.  It’s interesting to watch them.  ///  Lots of birds moving through.  There are a lot of juncos and tree sparrows once it warms up.  Not huge numbers of ducks (outside of the coots) but a little bit of everything.  The first goldeneyes showed up today. ///  We located a Surf Scoter (white patch on back of the head) hanging out loosely with the rafts (200 plus) of Bufflehead.  We watched him a good while today until a duck boat came screaming downstream and every bird took off.  The Buffleheads came back but we lost track of the scoter.  –  Beth Hill

Nov 1: Yesterday’s Redpoll count was 26.  Also had a couple of Pine Siskins. /// There are still some swans at Ulm.  Four on the water at noon today and at least four more out feeding in the fields with the Canada Geese.  – Kitty Knaphus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird Sightings for Oct 2023

Oct 21 Walked thru the pasture to the river just before dawn looking for Sandhill Cranes. There were about 50 feeding in the pasture the day before. But today they just flew over and never landed. Counted between 50 – 75 in small groups for about 30 minutes. Attached is a photo with an adult flying with a juvenile. – Jan Wilson

Oct 20 White-Breasted Nuthatch It’s still sticking around. – Richard Mousel

Oct 16 I received one more route to check out.  Tuesday looks to be too windy.  I was hoping to explore another winter raptor survey route Wednesday or Thursday this week.  Maybe Saturday.  The routes vary between 65 – 85 miles in length.  They all involve driving transects in an area that might host over wintering raptors.  The surveys are done in the months of December, January and February, once each month. – Beth Hill

If anyone is interested in exploring another route this week, let me know, and which day works best.  We’d be heading out about 8 am.  Where we meet up depends on which route is driven.  Expect to finish early in the afternoon.  Last week we finished an 80 mile trip at about 1:30 pm. – Beth Hill

Oct 16 there are about two dozen pheasants in the wheatfield adjacent to my pasture this a.m.  roosters, hens, and young I hope they don’t tear up the sprouting wheat – Bev Axelsen

Oct 14 We were totally surprised by the sudden dense fog as we got within 1/4 mile of Valier.  The fog lasted well past 11 am but made viewing the eclipse a weird experience.  We could see it easily because we didn’t have to fight the sun glare.  It also made viewing birds on the lake difficult at best until after 11 am.  Even so, there were quite a few loons.  We stopped at the lighthouse area first then visited it last when we could see better.  A couple of late birds – like the juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron and a pair of female Yellow Headed Blackbirds were a bit of a surprise.  The Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans were a nice addition.  The numbers of waterfowl on the water seemed low.  (Eureka Reservoir water level was extremely low).  We saw some cool birds and had a good time. Take a look at our trip report. https://ebird.org/tripreport/164468

Oct 11 I had 3 mountain chickadees bouncing around when I took a neighborhood walk this morning.  A new neighborhood bird.  And some Canadian Snowbirds, oh wait, those are jets. – Beth Hill

Oct 14 Just had a new Yardbird, a White breasted Nuthatch. – Richard Mousel

Oct 09  It was a very good year with 421 Mountain Bluebirds fledged, the Tree Swallows were down a bit this year with 111 fledged. It was also a great year for Mountain Chickadees with a tally of 40 fledged and lastly we had 31 House Wrens fledge. Sure missed Dan Bennett driving, I hope his health improves, Thank you Dan for all the years you’ve driven, it sure helps. Another Thank you to Beth who drove me a couple times this summer. The total Birds fledged was 603 and the Mountain Bluebirds was 421. An excellent tally. – Richard Mousel

Oct 08 Just had a Mountain Chickadee visit our fountain for a drink. I’m very surprised to see one this early.  – Richard Mousel

Oct 07 This morning Velda and I took a practice run on a proposed winter raptors survey route on the Fairfield Bench.   We drove about 90 miles on the route itself.  It covered a good portion of the bench because of the back and forth nature of the route.  We made notes about roads that might be poor in wet conditions (quite a few).  We saw a few unexpected birds – a group of pipits on a power line, 29 killdeer in one pot hole that was drying up, a belted kingfisher, more starlings and house sparrows than you can shake a stick at and one flock of “black birds” that was actually more Brewer’s and Red-winged blackbirds than starlings.  Oh – and there were raptors, red-tailed hawk and northern harriers with a possible merlin (5 and 6 respectively).  One field had 3 harriers, the male was almost courtship flying with one of the two females.  2 more routes to check out before the snow flies.- Beth Hill and Velda Baltrusch

Oct 07 Great Egret second night seen at West Bank.  Probably could see from east river drive as well.  May be there other times.  I’ve just been there in the evenings. – Beth Hill

Oct 04 We have had numerous Pine Siskins, White-crowned Sparrows, Juncos and one lone RW Blackbird working on the sunflowers that I hung from the feeder poles in the yard.  Also had a flock of several hundred blackbirds swirling around a couple of days ago.  All we could observe of those were Brewers. – Beth Hill

Oct 03 I walked through a cow pasture that was on the Riverdale Ranch Conservation easement and flushed about 20 American pipits. I was headed towards the Missouri looking for Sandhill cranes when 5 flew over me. Did not see any on my side of the river but heard their sounds on the other side. Spotted a Bald eagle fishing. – Jan Wilson

Bird Sightings for Sept 2023

Sept. 29 We traveled on the raptor route and first thing we saw were several groups of Sandhill Cranes on left side of road (traveling towards Cascade) near the Lil Valley Ranch. Total numbers were about 50. By the time we got to Cascade we had seen 5 red-tailed hawks, 1 female harrier, 6 ravens, 1 golden eagle, 1 immature bald eagle, and a small kettle of Turkey Vultures up very high. – Jan Wilson

Sept. 28 Friend Suz and I stopped at West Bank Park. I have never seen so many starlings and blackbirds hundreds, maybe even a thousand or more!!! the power lines were sagging under the weight of so many birds. the roofs of buildings were covered with birds. the trees were full of birds. then they began forming murmurations! – Bev Axelson

Sept. 24 Neighbor said there were at least 500 yellow headed blackbirds yesterday. I just visited with her in person to make sure that is what she was describing. I just got home to  hundreds of starlings in the horse pasture and on fences, a couple dozen northern flickers, a few yellow headed blackbirds, and hundreds of sparrows some of which are white crowned. – Bev Axelson

Sept. 23 drove out to the Stockett Road hoping to see the Swainson’s, arriving there about 7:00 p.m. tonight saw one atop a utility pole, then another, then one in a tree and then when we looked closer at the tree there were dozens in it. so friend Suzette and I watched and photographed and then a cat came skulking across the road and jumped up on the cottonwood tree trunk which set at least two dozen Swainson’s flying out of the tree!  we watched them fly over the fields back and forth to the utility poles and then we noticed activity in the second cottonwood tree on the E side of the road. Suzette thinks there were about 50 between both trees; I’m guesstimating at least three dozen. – Bev Axelson

Sept 23 I led a group of about 12 neophytes, including a 4 and 6/ year old, on a walk around Giant Springs this morning.  It wasn’t supposed to rain.  Or even be 100% clouds, but it is what it is.  We saw the Great Horned Owl, thanks to Jeri’s sharp eyes.  He/she was hidden high, very high, up in a leafy tree.  We even got the 4 year old on it.  It was no more than a grey blob without binoculars.  Songbirds were pretty much inactive although we had one tree full of kinglets and 2 downy woodpeckers.  We managed to find several Wilson’s Warblers.  Down on the river we had 3 Great Blue Herons on the far side.  Everyone got a good look at a Belted Kingfisher as she flew about the fishing pond.  We may have seen 20 species altogether. – Beth Hill

Sept 23 we saw 2 fences lines full of Swainson’s, the first had only 8; the second had about 20. located on the Stockett road just off the hwy 87. About a mile on right. – Jan Wilson

Sept 23 The trees and shrubs have been busy with small songbirds this week.  We have had Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black Capped Chickadees, White Crowned Sparrows, Juncos, Ruby Crowned Kinglets and a Down Woodpecker.  We’ve seen good sized flocks of Brewer’s Blackbirds and separate flocks of Meadowlarks.  Yesterday there was a rather wet and bedraggled looking Kestral. – Kitty and Kris

Sept 20 Driving through Sun River about 6PM we saw at least 15 Turkey vultures roosting in one tree. After gawping at them a few minutes we moved on only to notice half a dozen more in another tree about 1/4 mile away. – Elaina Graham

Sept 19 Well, there are still Burrowing Owls at the jump.  I saw 5 or 6 for sure.  Bev A. had 6 to 8. Also seen, Turkey Vulture, eagle (non-adult, leaning towards Golden – it was a silhouette),lots of Horned Larks, Western Meadowlarks, American Robins, White-crowned Sparrows, a couple of Savannah Sparrows and a single Spotted Towhee. There was a pair of buteos with light chests we just couldn’t place (distant and lighting worked against us). – Beth Hill

Sept 16 American Pipits and Spotted Towhees on the rocky cliffs at Buffalo Jump this morning. – Elaina Graham

Sept 13 Our garden is beginning to get busy migration visitors. We counted 5 Wilson’s Warblers, 2 Juncos, 1 juvy White-crowned sparrow and a Lincoln sparrow. – Jan Wilson

Sept 5 Here is the Merlin bird list from my place this morning. The Chickadees is my phone receiving an email. 🙂 Merlin missed the Magpies. The Hummingbird is still around this morning at Maria’s, they frequently have a Bed & Breakfast. Eurasian Collared Dove, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Black-capped Chickadee. Happy to say we have another Hummingbird this morning. Not sure if it’s the same one as yesterday, this one seems chubby so maybe a Rufous. – Richard Mousel

Sept 4 I headed to Giant Sprigs this morning.  I parked at the Steamboat parking rea and walked up to the dam and back.  I started in the rain but the little birds were all over.  I probably heard 10 times what I could see.  Chipping Sparrows were all over.  In fact it seemed like there were several flocks moving round.  I might have seen over 100.  If they stopped where I could inspect individuals I could we that it’s. Mixed flock of mostly chippies.  I also saw White-crowned Sparrows in the mix. A few Clay-colored Sprrows, Rubycrowned Kinglets, Lincoln’s Sparrows, even a Swainson’s Thrush.  I didn’t overlook the river and spotted a Hooded Merganser sitting between a row of Common Mergansers on a log.  It was an interesting morning with a bunch of other bird seen and by walking on the trail I managed to stay dry. – Beth Hill

Sept 4 Just had another Hummingbird. A Calliope again I believe. Over the last couple of days we had a couple Wilson’s Warblers and at least 3 Juncos. – Richard Mousel

Sept 4 the caragana bushes are alive with the happy sounds of dozens of Wilson’s Warblers. a few showed up when it was raining this a.m. but they have been joined by many more all afternoon. they must be finding insects on the leaves because they are not feeding on the ground. occasionally they’ll come to the bird bath for water but I see them drinking out of rain cups that the chickadees like to drink from, also. – Bev Axelsen

Sept 1 Sat in my van to check out the burrowing owls again at the lower trail of the jump again. Got there around 530, at about 6 things got interesting as the owls were moving around and in some cases hunting. I think there may be 13 to 14 of them. Then saw Beth on the trail she had one fly right behind her. Then there were about 4 just below her and one on the hillside in back of her.After that the activity slowed down. Not the good show I had seen the other night. they were sitting on the mounds and some were hunting but not flying back and forth and visiting each other. still nice to see this many of them. Also saw deer, one pronghorn (antelope) one magpie, horned larks, meadow lark, and one Northern Harrier and lots of dogs. – Arla Eckert

Sept 1 Indeed.  They were all over just this one area.  It happens to be the area where they had their nest burrow this year.  I have to wonder if they are all one family. I also saw several Savannah Sparrows and one Vesper Sparrow. – Beth Hill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird Sightings for May 2023

May 1 We got our FOY White-crowned Sparrows under the feeder this morning. On 4/28 at about 11 AM we stopped for about 15 minutes at the Ulm bridge. There must have been a fantastic thermal because we saw 3 Bald Eagles, 3 Red-tailed Hawks and 2 Turkey Vultures all riding it at once. And they all looked like they were having a good time! Also at that stop and on the way home were 1 more eagle on the nest, 2 Osprey on the Ulm FAS nest, 1 on the middle nest and 2 on the upper nest, 2 Kestrel, numerous Meadowlarks and a Robin. –Kitty and Kris

May 1 I saw my first White-crowned Sparrow at Giant Springs this morning. In addition to the 3 white- crowned sparrows, I found 20-30 or more Bonaparte’s Gulls mixed in with the Franklins Gulls at the Rainbow dam pullout of Giant Springs. They were smaller and had that little faint black dot behind the eye. Only one was getting its black head. It could be distinguished from the Franklins because of the tinier bill which was black (opposed to the orange of the Franklins) and they have no white broken eye ring. They are just passing through. –Beth Hill

May 2 I saw a proud Canadian Goose pair with tiny little yellow goslings on the Missouri today about half way between Giant Springs and the wide gravel parking/fishing spot before you get to the railroad trestle. We had our first Red-breasted Nuthatch on the old cottonwood tree in the front yard this afternoon. –Bev Axelsen

May 8 I knew I had to walk up to Garden Home Park this morning. When I got within sight I saw that the goose on the platform had extra “stuff” around her that looked yellow. Sure enough as I got closer I could see they were goslings. Mom stood up and looked around. I thought she wouldn’t be staying long – the kids had to eat. She sat back down when a pair of helicopters circled around over the river for several minutes. I took my time walking around the park. (The Osprey is still standing – no eggs there yet). Then she stood back up. This time she took tentative steps to the edge of the nest. She looked at the cross bar, back at the goslings, back at the cross bar, down to the ground. Another step. Then she was on the ground. It took about 30 seconds for the first two to follow her to the ground. Just a step/leap. Another 30 seconds and the third hopped off. The last two had to ponder awhile. Finally, #4 took a dive and #5 followed soon after. Be- tween 11:25 and 11:28 am the nest went from full to empty. Timing is everything. I could head back home. –Beth Hill

May 11 Swainson’s Hawks used to nest in the cottonwood trees at the corner near the stone pillars (where I live). That nest disappeared and I haven’t found another nest in the area. Last evening I saw two Swainson’s soaring over the house. They flew down and I walked out front where I saw them perching on the utility pole. One flew off before I got the camera up. I’m hoping they’ll nest nearby again! — Bev Axels

May 11 FOY Western Kingbird this morning. — Kitty & Kris

May 11 Have our first Lincoln’s Sparrow of the year. Our Chickadees have 7 eggs in the birdhouse. — Richard Mousel

May 12 Had a Ruby-crowned Kinglet visit our fountain for a bath. — Richard Mousel

May 13 Don’t know if it’s the same one but we had a Ruby-crowned Kinglet come get a bath again tonight, it sings to announce his presence first. –Richard Mousel

May 13 Both Swainson Hawks were out front feeding this morning; I hope that means they’ll nest nearby. We saw our first House Wren yesterday – it came right up on the deck where my husband and I were sitting. Lots of bits of robin egg shells on the ground – know where a few nests are but there must be more than I can’t see. — Bev Axelsen

May 13 I stepped out my car at Garden Home Park about noon and heard my first Yellow Warblers of the year. How sweet it is. Beth Hill