Join Sacajawea Audubon on Monday, December 9th at 7 p.m. for a presentation by Kevin Ellison of World Wildlife Fund.
Since their numbers were first estimated in the 1960’s, grassland birds have been in decline. Today, grassland birds are more imperiled than any other habitat-based group in North America. Obvious threats include large-scale changes in land use, including livestock production, crop production, oil and gas extraction, water use, fire suppression, and exurbanization. Kevin Ellison has worked on several of these issues and is now focused on working with ranchers to identify win-wins for sustainable ranching and ecosystem management. Kevin comes from a background of studying the evolution of cowbirds and their hosts in response to brood parasitism, the behavior of grassland birds and their potential nest predators near wooded tree rows and their removal, the relationships between birds and bison, grassland bird migration, and the application of key grassland bird species as indicators for grazing management that benefits other wildlife as well. Kevin will present an overview on these topics and looks forward to attempting to answer any related questions you may have.
Kevin is the Grasslands Ecologist for the Northern Great Plains Program. He has more than 20 years of experience conducting research in avian ecology. Kevin completed his Master’s thesis at the University of California, Riverside and his Ph.D. at the University of Manitoba. Originally from relatively Tallgrass remnant-rich northern Illinois, Kevin returned to the region in 2005 to conduct his post-doctoral research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Between 2008 and 2013, Kevin worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Bozeman studying the relationships between grassland birds and grazing management. Kevin has published 25 articles and book chapters in peer-reviewed publications. A majority of his research has focused on nesting ecology, nest predation, video monitoring of nests, cowbird ecology, bison ecology, climate adaptation and vulnerability in grasslands, bird migration, habitat management, and the development of livestock management practices that conserve habitats for wildlife. Kevin enjoys the outdoors around Bozeman with his wife and their 5-yr-old. Kevin has enjoyed participating in the Sacajawea CBC, surveying the Lindley Park to Sunset Hills section since 2008.
Come join the fun in one of our area’s Christmas Bird Counts. The Christmas counts, started in 1900, are an opportunity for beginning and expert birders to get together and enjoy this holiday tradition.
Bozeman Saturday, December 14th
Compiler: John Parker 586-5863
Meet at Perkins Restaurant, 2505 West Main,
Bozeman, between 7:00-7:30AM
West Yellowstone Sunday, December 15th
Compiler: John Heinie (w) 646-7001 (h) (406)640-0124
Meet at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
West Yellowstone at 8:30 AM
Livingston Sunday, December 15th
Compiler: Sally MacDonald 223-9167
or at email@example.com
Meet at the Best Western Inn 1515 W Park St (Copper John’s)
between 7:00-7:30 a.m.
Ennis Wednesday, December 18th
Compiler: Robin Wolcott 406-581-5418
Meet at Yesterday’s Café in the Ennis Pharmacy,
By 7:30 AM or sooner for breakfast
Three Forks Thursday, December 26th
Compiler: Dennis Flath 406-539-1145
Meet at Bair’s Truck Stop (Flying J at the
South side of the Belgrade Interchange)
at 7:00 AM
For more information, contact the count compilers. Please Contact the area compiler before the count, as this will give them the opportunity to plan and organize the count before the count day. Participation in all counts is free.
Some background on the Christmas Bird Count:
The first CBC was done on Christmas Day of 1900 as an alternative activity to an event called the “side hunt” where people chose sides, then went out and shot as many birds as they could. The group that came in with the largest number of dead birds won the event. Frank Chapman, a famed ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History and the editor of Bird-Lore (which became the publication of the National Association of Audubon Societies when that organization formed in 1905) recognized that declining bird populations could not withstand wanton over-hunting, and proposed to count birds on Christmas Day rather than shoot them.
Audubon's Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world. The CBC is an early-winter bird census, where volunteers count every bird they see or hear during one day in a designated 15-mile diameter circle. Count volunteers follow specified routes within the circle. It’s not just a species tally—all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. If observers live within a CBC circle, they may arrange in advance to count the birds at their feeders and submit those data to their compiler. All individual CBC’s are conducted in the period from December 14 to January 5 (inclusive dates) each season, and each count is conducted in one calendar day
These counts have proven incredibly valuable for what they tell scientists -- and all of us -- about our changing world.
Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with the set up and helped at the Booth at the Raptor Festival including:
Setting up: Loreene Reid, Jesse Devoe and Leo Freeman (and family)
Booth Volunteers: Roxanna McLaughlin, Peter Norlander, Jan Brooks, Vicki Backus, Lou Ann Harris and Martha Collins. We talked to lots of people, sold books, hats and had a great time with the Thayer Birding Guide and Quiz.
The Attendance Count included: Saturday (AM 43 children, 68 Adults: PM 82 children at least 158 adults) and Sunday (AM 65 children, 105 Adults; PM 65 Children, 151 Adults). These numbers almost double the 2012 results.
Thanks to all of you for a Great Time.
Eyes on the Skies: Results of the 23rd Bridger Raptor Migration Count
presented by Hawkwatch International Founder, Steve Hoffman and field researchers, Bret Davis & Kalon Baughan.
Monday November 11th, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. Hope Lutheran Church 2152 W. Graf Street (off of South 19th) in Bozeman
The Bridger Ridge provides viewing of the largest Golden Eagle migration in the lower 48 states. Data obtained over the last 23 years has provided scientists with important information about trends in raptor populations. As well as providing the latest results and amazing photos of raptors, Bret and Kalon will share the experiences they had, living on top of Bridger Bowl for three months!
Thanks to the generous support of Sacajawea Audubon Society and other supporters, September 1st marked the start of the 23rd consecutive season of raptor migration research along the crest of the Bridger Mountains. These majestic birds use the energy-saving updrafts created by strong winds along the crest of the Bridgers to migrate south, often within close proximity to the viewing platform. The long-term data collected at the Bridger site helps scientists learn more about raptor migration patterns as well as regional and continental raptor population trends.
Funding for the 2013 count was provided by the USDA Forest Service (Gallatin National Forest), NaturEner USA (a wind power company with multiple projects in western Montana), Sacajawea Audubon Society (Bozeman-based Audubon chapter), and individual Montana Audubon donors.
The Sacajawea Audubon Society meets the second Monday of the month (September through May) at 7:00 p.m., at the Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 W. Graf Street (off of South 19th) in Bozeman. We invite the public to attend our meetings and participate in our field trips.
Please join us on October 26th (Saturday) as we conduct one last survey of the Madison Valley IBA. We are timing this survey to catch large numbers of migrating waterfowl, loons and grebes on Ennis Lake and of course we will be surveying the riparian of the Madison River Valley also. Join us and use your bird watching skills to add to our data base on this Important Bird Area. Please meet at the Ennis Pharmacy Café before 8am. Come early enough (7:15 am) for breakfast if you want, but plan to be ready to head out for birding at 8 am.
Please let Paulette Epple know if you are going to be able to help out with the count. Phone: 580-6186 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, October 19th
Meet at 7:45 am at the Museum of the Rockies
Carpool and depart at 8:00 am
This should be near the peak time for migrating waterfowl and loons. Ennis Lake is one of the premiere staging areas for migrating waterfowl in southwestern Montana. Thousands of ducks can be spread across the lake on any given day. As is typical with high concentrations of birds, there is always the possibility of a rarity being found. Bring a lunch as we’ll be out until at least mid-afternoon. Also, remember to bring plenty of warm clothes as it will likely be cold and windy. For more information and to make reservations, call John Parker at 586-5863.
BIRDING THE FOUR SEASONS OF MONTANA
October 14th, 7 pm, at Hope Lutheran Church
Join us October 14th at 7 pm as Ed Harper takes us through Montana’s varied seasons, sharing with us the great diversity of birds he has managed to photograph over many years of intensive coverage. Whether it is a majestic Gyrfalcon in winter or an Upland Sandpiper in summer, you will find a myriad of images that are not only pleasing to the eye but are also very informative.
Ed Harper's interest in birds goes back to his early childhood while growing up on a ranch south of Livingston, Montana. Following graduation from Montana State and subsequent graduate school at the University of Wyoming, Ed engaged in a career in education as a college math teacher. With his passion for birding, he also taught a variety of classes in field ornithology. An experienced world traveler, Ed Harper has traveled to all the continents in search of birds. Presently he serves on the board of Western Field Ornithologists.
An avid photographer, Ed has photographed over 2000 species of birds, with many of his photos found in books and periodicals. In North America alone, he has photographed over 750 species of birds. Starting out as a tour leader for the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1980, Ed now operates Sandpiper Journeys with his wife, Susan Scott. Together they have conducted many birding and natural history tours throughout the world.
Eyes to the Skies - Bridger Raptor Count in 23rd Season
Visitors are welcome!
Montana Audubon and HawkWatch International announce the 23rd season of raptor migration research along the crest of the Bridger Mountains, 15 miles NE of Bozeman, running now through November 5th. The best overall raptor viewing is mid-September to mid-October. Birders, hikers, and nature lovers are welcome at the observation station, where two expert observers are there daily, systematically counting all birds of prey on their annual southern migration. Bret Davis and Kalon Baughan are excited to return as our raptor count experts again this year.
According to Kalon, “Bret and I are stoked to be back on the mountain. At 8600 feet we have a spectacular 360 view to enjoy. We both love the birds and the challenge of identifying hawks and eagles in flight. We also take great pride in conducting this important population monitoring project in a rigorous, scientific manner.”
The long-term data collected at the Bridger Mountains site helps scientists learn more about raptor migration patterns as well as regional and continental population trends. Most importantly, the Bridger project is designed to monitor environmental changes, using these apex predators as valuable barometers of ecological health. The Bridger site consistently records the largest concentration of autumnal migrant Golden Eagles known in the lower 48 states. Recent Golden Eagle count totals have varied from 1,000 to 1,400 eagles per season, and up to 200 individuals on a peak migration day (usually during the first two weeks of October).
Steve Hoffman, Executive Director of Montana Audubon and Founder of HawkWatch International, emphasizes: “The Bridger Project is the most important migration site in the western United States for monitoring the health and trends of Golden Eagle populations. The Bridger data are especially important now because there is credible scientific evidence for long-term declines in Golden Eagle numbers across much of the West.”
Visitors should drive to the parking area above the Bridger Bowl Ski Area facilities for an approximate two-hour hike to the observation point (2200’ elevation gain). For further information, including more specific directions for visiting the site as well as annual project reports, visit: www.mtaudubon.org/birds/raptor.html.
Montana Audubon, in partnership with HawkWatch International (HWI), has coordinated this scientific project for the past 5 years. HWI initiated these annual counts in 1991. Eagles, hawks, and falcons use the energy-saving updrafts created by strong winds along the crest of the Bridgers to migrate south, sometimes within close proximity to the viewing platform. Migrant raptors originate from breeding locales in northern Montana, western Canada, and Alaska, and their destinations include a wide range of latitudes (varying by species and populations), from the American Southwest & Mexico all the way to Central and South America.
Funding for the 2013 count is being provided by NaturEner USA (a wind power company with multiple projects in north-central Montana, including the recently commissioned 189 MW Rim Rock Wind Farm), USDA Forest Service (Gallatin National Forest), Sacajawea Audubon Society (Bozeman-based Audubon chapter), and several individual Montana Audubon donors.
The mission of Montana Audubon is to promote appreciation, knowledge, and conservation of native birds, other wildlife, and natural ecosystems to safeguard biological diversity for current and future generations. Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1982, Montana Audubon uses public policy, education, science, and habitat protection to fulfill its conservation mission. For more information please go to: www.mtaudubon.org.
HawkWatch International, a nonprofit organization operating eight raptor migration research sites in western North America and the Texas Gulf Coast, collaborates with many organizations to maintain scientific, long-term raptor monitoring programs across western North America. HawkWatch International’s mission is to conserve the natural environment through education, long-term monitoring, and scientific research, using raptors as indicators of ecosystem health.
Join Sacajawea Audubon September 9th at 7 p.m. for an interesting program that looks into the future of songbird habitat diversity in Montana. This presentation by Richard Keigley describes how ungulate browsing is causing declines in songbird habitat diversity, and outlines a role that citizen science can play in habitat conservation. It begins with a simple method of interpreting habitat trend based on the relationship between plant height and plant age. The method is used to describe how wild and domestic ungulates are affecting habitat across a broad swath of Montana. Richard Keigley is a retired Research Ecologist with the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. For the past 20 years, he has focused on the development of methods to document changes in habitat due to ungulate browsing.
The Sacajawea Audubon Society meets the second Monday of the month (September through May) at 7:00 p.m., at the Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 W. Graf Street (off of South 19th) in Bozeman. We invite the public to attend our meetings and participate in our field trips, listed here on the chapter's website.
Introduction to eBird Class
October 2, 2013 6:30 pm
Bozeman Public Library, Small Community Room
You've probably been hearing about eBird and wondering how this new online birding tool works. Join Sacajawea Audubon for a 2 hour class to learn how you can add your bird observations to this valuable citizen-science data base. Forrest Rowland, international tour guide with Rockjumper - Worldwide Birding Adventures, is passionate about eBird and will be presenting an Introduction to eBird class. Come learn to enter and track your bird records online and share them with the birding community while making them available for science and conservation efforts. eBird allows birders to post sightings, keep life lists, and manage their personal records. eBird is also a remarkable tool to learn more about birds and birding.
This is a free class but a reservation is required. Contact Paulette Epple to register at email@example.com or call 580-6186.