2017 Bird Festival Pre and Post Trip Update

As of May 30, 2017, the Missouri River post trip is full.  However, people may have to cancel, so please call Candace at 907 306-6320 to check availability for the June 12 float on the Missouri River.  The Bowdoin & American Prairie Reserve trip has a few slots still available.  the trip leaves Great Falls on Wednesday June 7, 2017.

Wings Across the Big Sky Bird Festival 2017

Do you read Central Montana’s Signature MT Magazine?  The 2017 Spring edition is just out.  Go check out an article about  the 2017 Wings Across the Big Sky Bird Festival on page 22.  Thanks to Signature MT and to writer Amy Joyner on a great article!

Raptor Workshop Last Call to Register

Would you like to improve your raptor id skills? On 4/21 & 22 you can! No matter your skill level.  The workshop is a 3 hour class on Friday and then an all day field trip on Saturday or Sunday.  Steve Hoffman iWould you like to improve your raptor id skills? On 4/21 & 22 you can! No matter your skill level.  The workshop is a 3 hour class on Friday and then an all day field trip on Saturday or Sunday.  Steve Hoffman is the teacher for the workshop.  He is the former Executive Director of MT Audubon and has authored over 30 papers on raptors.  To register for this weekend’s class go to www.umbaudubon.com and click on the link for the workshop. s the teacher for the workshop.  He is the former Executive Director of MT Audubon and has authored over 30 papers on raptors.  To register for this weekend’s class go to www.umbaudubon.com and click on the link for the workshop.

Raptor Scouting Field Trip 4/15/2017

In preparation for the Raptor Identification Class next week, 4 UMBA members went out on Saturday to scout for raptors in VERY windy conditions.  Despite the wind, we spotted 72 raptors!  Big highlights were spotting 31 Long-billed Curlews and 9 American Kestrels.  Based on Saturday’s trip, those of you who are taking the Raptor ID class with Steve Hoffman should have a varied and interesting class and field trip!
Below is the list of birds:
Great Horned Owl – 2 (both on nests)
American Kestrel – 9
Red-tailed Hawk – 25
Turkey Vulture – 3
Golden Eagle – 3
Northern Harrier – 12
Bald Eagle – 11
Osprey – 1
Ferruginous Hawk – 1
Falcon sp. -1
Accipter sp. – 1
Raptor unk. – 5
American Robin – 13
Mourning Dove – 1
Black-billed Magpie – 20 +
Nuthatch – 1 (heard)
European Starling – 1350+
Northern Flicker – 2
Black-capped Chickadee – 1+ (heard)
Western Meadowlark – 20+
Eurasian Collared Dove – 1
American Crow – 2
Ring-necked Pheasant – 7
Canada Geese – 82
Northern Shoveler – 4
Common Merganser – 9
Rock Pigeon – 7
Mallard Duck – 15 +
Gadwall – 2
Northern Pintail – 1
Common Goldeneye – 1
Red-winged Blackbird – 1 +
Turkey – 22
Long-billed Curlew – 31 !
Tree Swallow – 1
American White Pelican – 20
Common Raven – 1 +
Horned Lark – 20 +
Sandhill Crane – 4

Including the unknowns – 72 raptors.  Partly cloudy, 32-52 degrees, WINDY (official airport weather station had gusts over 45 mph most of the day).

Long Billed Curlew Surveys: You can help in 2017

On March 13, UMBA was pleased that Kristina Smucker, non-game wildlife biologist from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) made a presentation on central Montana curlew studies. In previous years the public has participated in curlew surveys and YOU can in 2017!

FWP is looking for citizen scientists like you to conduct surveys for Long-billed Curlews – a shorebird that breeds in prairie grasslands.  Volunteers would choose a route in either the Choteau or Cascade area and  survey the route twice between mid-April and the end of May.

Surveys are conducted in the morning by driving a route and stopping every half mile to spend 5-minutes looking and listening for curlews.  Routes will likely take ~ 2 hours to complete.  For more information email Kristina Smucker at ksmucker@mt.gov or call 454-5876 for more information.