Sacajawea Audubon

2015 Christmas Bird Count Schedule

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”

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.”

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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: (

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Nov. 9th Program – “The Bird of Yellowstone” with Doug Smith

Doug Smith releasing a golden eagle.

Doug Smith releasing a golden eagle.

Join Sacajawea Audubon for “The Birds of Yellowstone” presented by Doug Smith, YNP Senior Wildlife Biologist for the wolf, bird and elk programs. Doug’s talk will highlight two different projects and the issues facing YNP area songbirds, raptors, trumpeter swans, common loons and colonial nesting birds. The program is free and open to the public.  The social begins at 6:30 p.m. and the program starts at 7 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 West Graf (off of S. 19th).

Doug Smith PhD is a Senior Wildlife Biologist in Yellowstone National Park. He supervises the wolf, bird and elk programs – formerly three jobs now combined into one under Doug’s supervision. His original job was the Project Leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project which involved the reintroduction and restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. He helped establish this project and position. Doug received a B.S. degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Idaho in 1985. He has published a wide variety of journal articles and book chapters on beavers, wolves, and birds and co-authored two popular books on wolves (The Wolves of Yellowstone & Decade of the Wolf which won the 2005 Montana book award for best book published in Montana) as well as publishing numerous popular articles. A third book, Wolves on the Hunt, is due out in May 2015.  His professional interests include wolf population dynamics, wolf-prey relationships, restoration of ecological processes, raptor conservation, and beaver population dynamics.  He is a member of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team, the Re-Introduction Specialist Group, and Canid Specialist Group for the IUCN. Besides wolves, birds and beavers, he is an avid canoeist preferring to travel mostly in the remote regions of northern Canada with his wife Christine and their two sons Sawyer and Hawken.

Photo courtesy Yellowstone National Park

Photo courtesy Yellowstone National Park

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Skiing for the Raptors Raffle


Golden Eagle (photo by Lou Ann Harris)


Support the Bridger Mountains Raptor Count (now in it's 25th year), which records the largest concentration of autumnal migrant Golden Eagles known in the lower 48.  Help Sacajawea Audubon and Montana Audubon continue this important research project in our very own Bridger Mountains by purchasing a raffle ticket, and be one of two winners of a Bridger Bowl Season Ski Pass (2015-2016). Raffle tickets are $10 each or 6 for $50. Drawing Date: November 9, 2015 at the SAS November meeting, Hope Lutheran Church. To purchase a ticket, email or call Leo Freeman at (414)403-7943. Tickets will also be available at our October 12th and November 9th meetings.


Oct. 24th – Ennis Lake Fall Field Trip

Ennis Lake (L. Harris photo)

Ennis Lake (L. Harris photo)

Saturday, October 24th

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.  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.  Limit 16 people.  For more information and to make reservations, call John Parker at 586-5863 or email at

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Oct. 17th – Madison Valley IBA Bird Count

EnnisLakeFTMadison Valley IBA Bird Survey – October 17th

The birds are on the move again with Ennis Lake serving as an important stopover for large numbers of migrating waterfowl, loons and grebes.  Also, the first returning Rough-legged Hawks have been sighted and you never know what else we may find in the Madison Valley.  Last year's treat was a Harris Sparrow.   On October 17th (Saturday) we will conduct one last survey of the Madison Valley IBA and its always a fun time to put your bird watching skills to a good use.

If you can help, email Paulette at or call 580-6186.  We will meet at the Ennis Pharmacy Café in Ennis by 7:45 am.  Come early if you would like to eat breakfast there.  We should be finished by early afternoon.


October 12th Program – “Flights on the Wild Side – The Life & Times of a Wildlife Biologist/Pilot in Alaska”

Mike Husky Sheep

Join Sacajawea Audubon for our October program, “Flights on the Wild Side - The Life and Times of a Wildlife Biologist/Pilot in Alaska”, presented by SAS Board member, Mike Vivion.  Mike will discuss the areas where he worked and flew, as well as some of the changes that took place during his 34 year career with the Fish & Wildlife Refuge Division.

Mike Vivion is a retired Wildlife Biologist/Airplane Pilot who worked on several National Wildlife Refuges over the course of his career.  Twenty nine years of that career were spent in Alaska, where he was stationed on the Izembek, Kodiak and Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuges.  Aerial census and research projects took him to all the other refuges in Alaska.  He retired from the FWS in 2005 and taught at the University of Minnesota, Crookston for seven years.  He and his wife Gina, a retired elementary school teacher, moved to Bozeman in 2013 and are happily retired.

Sacajawea Audubon Society meets every 2nd Monday of the month, Sept. through May at Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 West Graf.  Social time starts at 6:30 p.m. with the meeting beginning at 7:00 p.m. Sacajawea Audubon programs are free and open to the public.


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Bridger Raptor Fest – Oct. 2-4, 2015

RaptorBannerLogoNoDateIt's time for the 19th Annual Bridger Raptor Festival, October 2nd, 3rd & 4th at Bridger Bowl!  Sacajawea Audubon is again co-hosting and will be offering several fun children's activities.

Friday night kicks off at the Museum of the Rockies with keynote speaker, Kate Davis, founder of Raptors of the Rockies. Kate's presentation will feature four live birds including a Golden Eagle named Nigel!  Saturday and Sunday's events begin at 10 a.m. at both Saddle Peak and Jim Bridger Lodge at Bridger Bowl.  There will be LOTS of family activities including: Build a Bird House, Binocular Target Blitz, Face Painting, Nature Journaling, Sketch a Bird, Raptor ID with Steve Hoffman, Wildlife Olympics, interpretive walks with MOSS, and live raptor presentations.   There will be an up-to-date raptor count board at the Montana Audubon/Sacajawea Audubon booth for you to see what birds are being seen up at the Bridger Hawk Count site. Bridger Raptor Fest is FREE and a great family-friendly, community event.  So grab the kids & grandkids, (but please no dogs) and come up to Bridger Raptor Fest!

For more information and festival schedule, go to:

Kids enjoy building their own nest box with help from Jeff Safford.

RaptorFestTalk2014 (1)


Sept. 14th Program – Tales From The Field: MT Bird Conservation and Citizen Science

We kick off our our new year of programs with a not-to-be-missed presentation by Dan Casey.

Montana bird conservation efforts have matured in many ways over the past three decades. Priorities have been established, partnerships formed, and opportunities for birders to engage in data collection and conservation action continue to increase. With new monitoring efforts, eBird, Montana Online Birders (MOB), and the upcoming “Birds of Montana” we have access to more information than ever before about our birds and their habitats. This presentation will provide examples of (and anecdotes from) this evolution, drawing from Dan’s experiences with joint ventures, Christmas Bird Counts, Jewel Basin Hawk Watch, eBird, and more. In addition to enjoying photos of Montana’s birds and habitats, the presentation is intended to inspire attendees to play a personal role in “citizen science” birding to help advance bird conservation.

imageDan Casey has been a fixture in Montana’s ornithological community for nearly 35 years. He was the primary author of the 2000 Montana Bird Conservation Plan, and received Montana Audubon’s Conservationist of the Year Award in 2006. He served 25 years as the regional editor for Montana CBCs, is a member and past Chair of the Montana Bird Records Committee, a moderator of the MOB Yahoo site, regional eBird reviewer, and co-author of the upcoming “Birds of Montana”. He has worked for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (16 yrs.), American Bird Conservancy (15 yrs.), and now for Ducks Unlimited as the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture Coordinator based in Billings.

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.

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