Sacajawea Audubon

Raptor Identification Workshop and Field Trip March 1 and 3

Juvenile Goshawk (Photo by Hobart Collins)

Presented by: Steve Hoffman, Founder of HawkWatch International

Have you ever wanted to sharpen your raptor identification skills? If so, this is the workshop for you! On

Thursday 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. This presentation will be especially valuable for “intermediate” and “advanced” raptor watching enthusiasts, although beginners will also find this workshop quite helpful. Participants will then go into the field on Saturday, with trip leaders Steve Hoffman and John Parker to practice their newly-developed skills.

Ferruginous Hawk (photo by Ed Harper)

The Thursday night presentation will start at 5:30 PM, and end by 7:30 PM in the Bozeman Public Library’s large conference room.

Saturday morning’s field trip will meet at the Museum of the Rockies at 8:15 AM, and leave no later than 8:30 AM. Be sure to dress for the weather and bring any necessary drinks or snacks for this 5-6 hour trip. If you have a spotting scope you can bring, that would be helpful.

There is a $40 fee for Sacajawea Audubon members, $15 for participants under age 25, or $65 for non-members (the $65 includes a $25 Sacajawea Audubon membership). There is a strict 20-person limit for the workshop and field trip. Advance reservation and payment is required. (Early registration is strongly advised!). For more information and to make reservations please call John Parker at 586-5863, or e-mail before February 11th. After this date please e-mail Steve Hoffman at or call him at 461-5714.



March 7th – SAS Book Group Discussion of “The Genius of Birds”

The Genius of Birds

In March the SAS book group will discuss The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman. The Wall Street Journal describes the book as  "a masterly survey of research. . . that has produced a revolution in our understanding of bird cognition." Rick Bass says it is "delightful, revolutionary" and "a book that demands a moral consideration of the world." The group will meet March 7th, 2018, at Hope Lutheran Church from 4:00-5:15 p.m.

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Central Park Pond Waterfowl Field Trip – March 17th

Photo by Ed Harper

Trip Leader: Mike Vivion - 406-210-8071 

Join us on this short field trip to the Central Park Pond (just west of Belgrade) for some great views of waterfowl in their pristine breeding plumage. We’ll see several species of waterfowl, including Mallard (of course), Goldeneye (with luck, both species), Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, and several other species, as well as both Trumpeter and Tundra Swans and Canada Geese. If you want to sharpen your waterfowl ID skills, this is a great opportunity to see lots of species in breeding plumage.

For the trip, meet at Museum of the Rockies at 8:30 AM to car pool, or if you live on the west side of town or Belgrade, meet us at Four Corners Exxon near Fins and Feathers, at 8:45 AM. Approximately four hours maximum.   12 person limit  

Please contact Mike to reserve a spot.


Sacajawea Audubon Society 2018 Montana Birding Tours

Download Tour Registration Form  HERE


Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 16-19, 2018

Participating in the GBBC is fun and easy!  To find out how, click HERE



Feb. 12th Program – Research on the Pacific Golden-Plover

Sacajawea Audubon's February 12th program features a talk on the Pacific Golden-Plover, one of the world’s longest distance migrant birds. They make remarkable nonstop transoceanic flights in spring and fall that cover thousands of miles. Oscar W. (Wally) Johnson, an affiliate research scientist in the Department of Ecology at Montana State University, is a plover expert having studied these birds for many years. He became fascinated with plovers in the ‘60s while conducting bird research at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands, and this fascination eventually led to his long-term research on the species, ongoing since 1979. Johnson’s research has involved fieldwork throughout the Pacific (the birds’ wintering grounds) and in Alaska (the breeding grounds). His talk will cover various features of plover ecology with an emphasis on new technology that enables the tracking of their amazing hemispheric travels.

Wally Johnson is a graduate of Washington State University (PhD Zoology), he taught for many years in the Minnesota State University system, and moved to Bozeman in 1990. Almost all his research has focused on birds, primarily their anatomy and ecology. He has published about 60 scientific papers (more than half involve plovers) along with two monographs (Pacific Golden-Plover and American Golden-Plover) for The Birds of North America series, and a recent popular book on Pacific Golden-Plovers. Johnson’s work has been funded by the National Geographic Society and numerous state and federal agencies.

Sacajawea Audubon meets every 2nd Monday of the month, September through May. Our meetings are held at Hope Lutheran Church (unless otherwise indicated), 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.

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2017 Christmas Bird Count Results

Stephanie Nelson, Beth Madden & Forrest Rowland scan the horizon for birds at Nelson's Spring Creek Ranch during the Livingston CBC. Photo courtesy Lou Ann Harris.

Sacajawea Audubon hosted Christmas Bird Counts in 7 different areas in four different counties: Bozeman, Ennis, Livingston, Gardiner, West Yellowstone, Three Forks & Ruby Valley (Sheridan).  As results are summarized, they will be posted here.  We hope you were able to participate in one of these counts.  You may think birding in December would be a little on the crazy side, but it's amazing what birds are seen!

2017 Livingston CBC

2017 Bozeman CBC

2017 Three Forks CBC


Jan. 17th – SAS Book Group Discussion of the Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival

Winter World by Bernd Heinrich wins much praise for good science, good writing and illustrations by the author. Heinrich is the author of many books about nature, including “Mind of the Raven.” Winter World explores “staggering evolutionary innovations” that allow animals to survive winter. The Book Group will discuss Winter World at Hope Lutheran Church on January 17, 2018, from 4:00 to 5:15 pm.  Note change in time.

Everyone is welcome. If you are attending for the first time please email Adele Pittendrigh. 


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Jan. 8th Program – “A Lost History of Arctic Grayling Found by Digitization”

Join Sacajawea Audubon on January 8th, 2018 at Hope Lutheran Church in Bozeman for a special evening with Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Manager Bill West. The program, “A Lost History of Arctic Grayling Found by Digitization”, is a fascinating story set in a remote Montana valley, once filled by homesteads. It is now mostly public land or large ranches.

Arctic grayling are a beautiful fish once abundant in the upper Missouri River in Southwest Montana. Today grayling are relatively rare in Montana and many think of the Big Hole River when discussing recovery. However, the grayling of the Centennial Valley have a fascinating history that has been rediscovered in recent years. This is the southernmost population of grayling in North America. They are normally found in the Arctic. The Bozeman Fish Hatchery was established in 1892 and one of its early missions was to help “save” the fast declining “Montana grayling”. The hatchery was run by the U.S. Fish Commission, a branch of the Department of Commerce. There was no US Forest Service then, no BLM, no National Park Service and no U.S Fish and Wildlife Service or National Wildlife Refuge System. The “Commission” came to the Centennial Valley in 1898 and harvested over 33 million eggs in eleven years in an attempt to save the fish. Grayling are still struggling, but we now have clues to how and why they declined and never recovered given significant efforts over the past 120 years.

Bill West is a wildlife professional employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the past 35 years to manage National Wildlife Refuges. Thirty years are on refuges in Montana. He is a MS graduate of the University of Missouri. His knowledge is land management for furred and feathered creatures such as Trumpeter swan and bison. Red Rock Lakes NWR introduced him to an amazing fish with a tough history, caused by human alterations to the landscape. Biologists/managers may be close to untangling issues that caused the decline. The Red Rock Lakes NWR home page is:

Sacajawea Audubon meets every 2nd Monday of the month, September through May. Our meetings are held at Hope Lutheran Church (unless otherwise indicated), 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.


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Happy New Year

Sacajawea Audubon Society wishes you the best birding in 2018

Sharp-shinned Hawk (Photo by Hobart Collins)

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