Sacajawea Audubon

Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 12-15th

Common Redpoll (Photo by Missy Mandel)

Common Redpoll (Photo by Missy Mandel)

February 12 - 15, 2016

HOW TO COUNT THE BIRDS:  Easy as 1–2–3!

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a 4 day event held every year in February.  Bird watchers from across the world are asked to count and report the birds they see to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are.  Everyone is welcome—from beginning bird watchers to experts.  You can count birds anywhere you find them --in your yard, your neighborhood, out on a walk, or at any of your favorite birding spots.   Take as little as 15 minutes on one day or make it a whole weekend of birding.  The steps are easy:

  1. Count birds anywhere you like for at LEAST 15 minutes or longer.  Keep track of the kinds of birds you see and how long you watched.
  1. Make your best estimate of how many birds you saw of each species.  For example, 4 Black-

capped Chickadees, 2 Northern Flickers.  Huge flocks may be a challenge, but your best guess is still valuable

  1. Enter your list(s) online at  You put in a new list for each time you count, whether it’s on the same day, a different day, at the same place, or at a new location.

Go to www.Bird to learn more about this valuable way you can contribute to bird science.  Look for the “Submit Observations” button on the Great Backyard Bird Count website (or eBird).  You can start entering bird lists after midnight local time on the first day of the count anywhere in the world.


Raptor ID Workshop & Field Trip with Steve Hoffman

Raptor Identification Workshop and Field Trip March 11th and 12th 

(Presented by: Steve Hoffman, Executive Director, MT Audubon and founder of HawkWatch International)

Have you ever wanted to sharpen your raptor identification skills?  If so, this is the workshop for you! On Friday evening Steve will provide a detailed discussion of the identification and natural history of all raptor (e.g., hawks, eagles, falcons, etc.) species wintering in the Gallatin Valley. Steve’s illustrated talk will include a description of the many plumage variations (including subspecies and color forms, as well as age and sex variations) of the more common and observable species. Helpful behavioral clues will also be incorporated. Eagles, falcons and the “buteo” hawks (such as Red-tailed Hawks) will be emphasized. Participants will then go into the field (north of Bozeman) on Saturday to practice their newly-developed skills. Steve’s presentation will be especially valuable for “intermediate” and “advanced” raptor watching enthusiasts, although beginners will also find this workshop quite helpful.

The Friday night presentation will start at 7 PM and last till 9 PM, in the Bozeman Public Library’s small conference room.

Saturday morning’s field trip will meet at the Museum of the Rockies at 8:30 am, and leave at 8:45.  Be sure to dress for the weather and bring any necessary drinks or snacks for this 4-5 hour trip.  If you have a spotting scope that you can bring, that would be helpful.

There is a $35 fee for Sacajawea Audubon members, $15 for participants under age 25, or $55 for non-members (the $55 includes a $20 Sacajawea Audubon membership).  There is a 20 person limit for the workshop and field trip.  Advance reservation and payment is required.  For more information and to make reservations please call John Parker at 586-5863 or e-mail

Northern Goshawk  (photo by Lou Ann Harris)

Northern Goshawk (photo by Lou Ann Harris)

Sharp-shinned Hawk  (photo by L. Harris)

Sharp-shinned Hawk (photo by L. Harris)


Sponsor A Bluebird Box!

Sacajawea Audubon is introducing a fun new way to support our chapter's conservation projects. We are giving members the opportunity to sponsor one of the bluebird boxes that we monitor.

Sponsorship costs $15 per year per box, and you can sponsor up to 3 boxes total. Once you have signed up, we will assign you a box number, and as the bluebird nesting season begins you will receive emailed updates and photos. At the end of the season, we will post a complete list of all the boxes including their sponsor's name and the nesting results in the newsletter & on the SAS website.

A bluebird box sponsorship makes a great gift or you can sponsor a box in memory of a loved one.  The money raised will fund the expenses of maintaining the bluebird trail, as well as Sacajawea Audubon's other conservation projects, such as the Kestrel Nest Box project and the Burdock Eradication Project.

To sign up for a bluebird box sponsorship, please fill out the form below and send with a check to:

Lou Ann Harris                        **Please make check out to SACAJAWEA AUDUBON

PO Box 11341

Bozeman, MT 59719



NAME _____________________________________________________________

ADDRESS __________________________________________________________

EMAIL _____________________________________________________________

# OF BOXES SPONSORED _______________


IN WHOSE NAME? ___________________________________________________


Photo by Lou Ann Harris

Photo by Lou Ann Harris

Photo by John Harris

Photo by John Harris


February 8th Program – “Avian Roles, From Behaviors to Similarities”

GREY HERON (courtesy Carol Polich)

GREY HERON (courtesy Carol Polich)













Join Sacajawea Audubon for our February 8th program that will feature nature photographer, Carol Polich. Well published throughout the west, locally, & internationally with her photos and adventure travel stories, she will present an exciting, visual and musical lecture on bird behavior and similarities between birds spanning a variety of continents.

Polich’s photos are also exhibited in 2 published books: “Portrait of Paradise” which covers the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem took 14 years of film work and published  through Farcountry Press (Helena, 2007); with her many travels throughout southern Africa from 1987-2010, a mammal survival behaviour book idea was accepted by Random Struik Publishing, Capetown with the result being “Wildlife of Southern Africa” (2010). The photos cover 21 years of diligent photography.

Sacajawea Audubon meets every 2nd Monday of the month, September through May. Our meetings are held at Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 W. Graf (off of S. 19th). Come for the social beginning at 6:30 p.m. A short chapter meeting starts at 7 p.m. with the program following after.  Our programs are free and open to the public.

Which heron is this_MG_4451

Which heron is this? (courtesy Carol Polich)

Filed under: Program No Comments

SAS Book Group: Next Selection “”Of A Feather: A Brief History of American Birding”

Book Group's First Book of the New Year - Jan. 21st, 5:30 p.m.

The Sacajawea Audubon Book Group is reading Scott Weidensaul's Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding in January. It promises to be a fun and informative read by the author of Living on the Wind. The discussion begins at 5:30 in Hope Lutheran Church on January 21, 2016. All are welcome, but please let Adele Pittendrigh know if you are planning to attend for the first time. (

Filed under: Chapter News No Comments

January 11th Program – Visit To The Antarctic with Bob Martinka

Photo courtesy Bob Martinka

Photo Courtesy Bob Martinka

Sacajawea Audubon invites you to learn about one of the least visited places on Earth. The Antarctic Peninsula and associated islands are arguably the most remote, spectacular and wildlife diverse regions remaining on earth. Bob Martinka will highlight a 19-day cruise he and his wife Cathy took to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula in January 2014. They followed parts of a route that Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton and his men traversed on their disastrous 1914-1917 expedition. Bob's presentation will highlight the history, scenery and amazing wildlife of the region.

Bob obtained degrees in Wildlife Biology and Ecology from Colorado State University, Purdue University and a Ph.D. from Montana State University. He worked for almost 30 years with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. In his retirement years he has become an avid photographer, traveling to numerous locations around the globe to pursue his interest in most wild things, including birds, mammals, dragonflies and flowers.

Sacajawea Audubon programs are free and open to the public.  We meet every 2nd Monday, September through May, at Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 W. Graf (off of S. 19th). Come for the social at 6:30 and share cookies, coffee and conversation. The program starts following a brief chapter meeting at 7 p.m.

Photo courtesy Bob Martinka

Photo courtesy Bob Martinka

Filed under: Program No Comments

2015 Christmas Bird Count Schedule

ChristmasBirdCount_OnlineGraphic_2015-16 (1)



Come join the fun on 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.







2014 Ennis CBC

Wednesday, December 16th

Compiler: Robin Wolcott (406) 581-5418

Meet at Yesterday’s Café in the Ennis Pharmacy,

By 7:30 AM or sooner for breakfast



Saturday, December 19th

Compiler: John Parker (406) 586-5863

Meet at Perkins Restaurant, 2505 West Main, in Bozeman, between 7-7:30 AM


West Yellowstone

Sunday, December 20th

Compiler: Brad Barth (406) 640-2628

Meet at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

West Yellowstone at 8:30 AM



Sunday, December 20th

Compiler: Sally MacDonald (406) 223-9167

Meet at the Northern Pacific Beanery, in Livingston, between 7:00-7:30 AM



Sunday, December 20th

Compiler: Woody Martyn (406) 224-1476

Meet at the Yellowstone Grill, in Gardiner, at 7:00 AM


Three Forks

Monday, December 28th

Compiler: Tom Forwood (406) 570-6432

Meet at Wheat Montana at exit 274 at 8:30 AM, or by 8:00 for breakfast


For more information, contact the area 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.


Dec. 14th Program – “Eyes On The Skies – Results of the 25th Bridger Raptor Count”

Andrew Eberly & Bridget Bradshaw

Andrew Eberly & Bridget Bradshaw

Presented by: 

Hawkwatch International Founder, Steve Hoffman

Monday December 14th, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. (Social begins at 6:30 p.m.)

Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 W. Graf Street (off of South 19th) in Bozeman

The Bridger Ridge provides viewing one of the largest Golden Eagle migrations known in the lower 48 states. Recent Golden Eagle count totals have varied from 1,000 to 1,400 eagles per season, with up to 200 individuals tallied on peak migration days (usually during the first two weeks of October). Data obtained over the last 25 years has provided scientists with valuable information about trends in Golden Eagles and other raptor populations.

Thanks to the generous support of Sacajawea Audubon Society and others, September 1st marked the start of the 25th consecutive season of raptor migration research along the crest of the Bridger Mountains. Montana Audubon, in partnership with HawkWatch International (HWI), has coordinated this scientific project for the past 7 seasons. HWI initiated these annual counts in 1991.

These majestic birds use the energy-saving updrafts created by strong winds along the crest of the Bridgers to migrate south. The long-term data collected at the Bridger site helps scientists learn about regional and continental raptor population trends. Most importantly, the Bridger project is designed to monitor widespread environmental changes, using these apex predators as valuable barometers of ecological health.

Steve Hoffman, Executive Director of Montana Audubon, 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 scientific evidence for long-term declines in Golden Eagle numbers across much of western North America. As a result, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other wildlife conservation agencies are intensifying research efforts to learn more about Golden Eagles and what might be causing this downward trend.”

Owl decoy on the Bridger Ridge

Owl decoy on the Bridger Ridge

Filed under: Program No Comments

Audubon Bird Guide App – Now available for FREE


The Audubon Bird Guide is the must-have app for anyone interested in birds. This award-winning app instantly turns your mobile device into the most trusted field guide in North America.

  • 821 in-depth species profiles
  • More than 3,200 bird photos
  • Quick bird IDs with filters by shape, region and color
  • Thousands of bird calls, differentiated by region and season
  • Seasonal and migratory range maps
  • Recent local bird sightings through eBird
  • Sightings posted by Audubon NatureShare friends and followers

So what are you waiting for? Download the Audubon Bird Guide and get birding!

Five easy tips for getting the most out of your Audubon Bird Guide app

1. What birds are in your area?

Traditional field guides can help you find birds based on habitat, but the Audubon Bird Guide finds them through real-time reports from thousands of people. Simply select your location in the “Find Birds with eBird” section. The most recent species observations in your area will be at your fingertips.

2. How can I figure out what that bird outside my window is?

Under “Explore Birds,” the Advanced Search option is the best way to identify a completely unknown bird. And it sure beats flipping through every page of a paper field guide. Select your location and month, then fill in whatever other details you have on size, shape, color, habitat, etc.. The app will present you with a list of the most likely birds matching your description.

3. Want to dive deep into your favorite species?

Apps manage to pack more information into every part of the field guide experience. The species description section in the Audubon Bird Guide app is no exception. Explore detailed information on habitat, behavior, and nesting that can not only help you find birds more easily, but also better appreciate them and understand their behavior.

4. What's that sound?

Bird songs and calls vary regionally and the Audubon Bird Guide provides recordings to show you the regional and individual variations of bird vocalizations. With thousands to listen to, you can become an expert in the nuanced bird calls all around you.

5. Who else spotted that amazing bird? 

Audubon’s NatureShare feature allows you to share your wildlife observations with others straight from the Audubon Bird Guide. Select a location, upload a photo, and add your comments to share with your friends. Also browse their posts to enjoy the natural world from the comfort of your home, or to get ideas where to explore next.

Share Your Love of Birds

Now that you have discovered the many awesome features that the Audubon Bird Guide has to offer, there is no better time to share your love of birds by telling others about the app.

The must-have field guide for FREE? Your friends will thank you, trust us.

Share the Audubon Bird Guide: Facebook or Twitter

Birding from home with your Audubon app [can link to other articles on your website]
We’re sure your birdwatching experiences have been improved by your new Audubon Bird Guide app. But why stop there? Here are more tips and activities for the bird lover in you.

Attract more birds to your home

Sometimes the easiest way to see birds is the best way. Your home has the potential to welcome all kinds of feathered friends and with these simple steps, it can.

  • Hang a bird feeder, or many, with a diverse mix of seeds to attract the greatest variety of birds. Placement is key; table-like feeders can attract ground-feeding birds, while tube and suet feeders are best for shrub and tree eaters. Locating feeders within three feet of windows can protect birds from collisions and set you up for up-close viewing.
  • Grow a few bird-friendly plants—plants that naturally grow in your area are great for birds and other wildlife. Even one native tree can create a more attractive and healthy sanctuary for birds, both resident and migratory.
  • Add water to your backyard habitat so that birds can drink, bathe, and preen to their hearts’ content. The sound of moving water is a bird magnet so try to incorporate some kind of fountain or drip.

Take easy and beautiful bird photos

Whether it soars into your bird-friendly yard or perches high atop a tree in your favorite birding spot, spotting a beautiful bird is a remarkable feeling. Photography is the perfect way to capture this moment. You already have your phone out and, with these tips, you can snap some great bird shots straight from your device.

  • First and foremost, clean your lens. Phones are sometimes put through the ringer, particularly on outdoor birding trips. A quick swipe with a lens cleaner or even your t-shirt can eliminate dreaded photo blemishes.
  • Prepare for action. Birds in flight are difficult but worthwhile photo opportunities. Capture the action using burst mode by holding down the shutter.
  • Don’t forget to check exposure. Whether due to outdoor lighting or birds moving from light to dark backgrounds, testing exposure regularly is key to your shot. On the iPhone, tapping on the screen and adjusting the slider to brighten or darken is an easy fix.

Joining Citizen Science Programs

With the Audubon Bird Guide app, you’re already finding birds, and maybe even sharing your sightings through Audubon's NatureShare. It doesn’t take much more than that to join in Audubon’s crowdsourced science projects.

For more than a century, we have relied upon tens of thousands of passionate birders such as yourself to participate in our annual bird counting programs. By simply adding your bird sightings to eBird, you can be a part of shaping our conservation efforts.

Join Audubon’s crowdsourced science projects.

Filed under: Education No Comments

SAS Book Group: Next Selection – “Rosalie Edge: Hawk of Mercy”

41jg1BNNH-LSAS Book Group’s Next Book: Rosalie Edge: Hawk of Mercy, the Activist Who Saved Conservation from the Conservationists

It’s time to start thinking about our next book, a biography of Rosalie Edge, described as “the first American woman to achieve national renown as a conservationist.”  Among her other accomplishments, she established the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, the first preserve for birds of prey, and the Emergency Conservation Committee, described by the author Dyana Z. Furmansky, as the “most militant nature advocacy organization of its time.” I had not heard about Rosalie Edge before a Montana birder suggested her biography as a “must read” book.  I am looking forward to reading and discussing the story of her life, times, and influence.

We will discuss Rosalie Edge, Hawk of Mercy, on December 3, so it’s not too early to plan your reading. If you want to attend the book group discussion and are not yet on the book group mailing list, please let me know.

Adele Pittendrigh: (

Filed under: Chapter News No Comments