This adult Sandhill Crane was seen recently near Bozeman, sitting on its nest. Sandhill Cranes usually lay 2 variably colored, subelliptical eggs. Both parents will incubate the eggs during the day, with the female only at night. Hatching takes place after 28-36 days. The chicks are precocial, mobile, and covered with down at hatching. They leave the nest within hours of hatching and follow their parents on foot. Both the male and female feed their young, which fledge at around 50 days to 18 weeks. The young cranes will stay with their parents in a family group until the end of their first spring, and rely on them to teach them the route to their wintering grounds.
Sandhills are monogamous and pairs mate for life. During courtship, they perform "dancing" displays.
Saturday, May 14 – Sunday, June 19, 2011
Spring is (finally) here, which means it's time to call your favorite birders and register your birdathon team. The Sacajawea Audubon Birdathon Committee would like to announce our 2011 Birdathon.
How does a Birdathon Work?
A Birdathon is similar to a walk-a-thon, but instead of collecting pledges per mile walked, you spend a great spring day outdoors with fellow birders, scanning skies, trees, shrubs, fields and water - even your backyard feeder - for birds. The challenge is to identify as many bird species as possible within a 24 hour period from May 14 – June 19, 2011. You collect pledges per bird species and the money raised benefits Southwestern Montana birds and other wildlife.
Audubon Adventures Begins Its 22nd Season!
As over 30 classroom teachers in Gallatin and Madison Counties already know, Audubon Adventures is a great nature program for elementary schools. This year our chapter is looking for more teachers to help celebrate this anniversary season. If you would like to enhance the curriculum of your 4th, 5th, or 6th graders, you should know about this free award-winning program (our local Audubon Sacajawea chapter generously picks up the entire tab for 34 kits, at over $40 a classroom kit--and they would be happy to pay for more!).
Over the last two decades more than 400 Audubon chapters, 150,000 classroom teachers, and 7 million students have become involved in this educational adventure. Not surprisingly, the Audubon Adventures program was recently named one of the top ten most popular environmental projects in K-12 schools and is always right up there in garnering awards for excellence in educational publishing.
It's easy to see why. A typical classroom kit provides individual quarterly nature newsletters for 32 students, a classroom resource guide for teachers, a free one-year membership in Audubon for teachers that includes its excellent magazine, and an organizer handbook with information on new materials, topics, and teaching ideas. It is important to note, too, that you need not be teaching science to use the program. English teachers, for example, find lots of good reading and writing topics for the kids in the newspapers. And if you have larger classes, you may register for two kits, or, as some do, share with your colleagues' classes.
The "Nature News" newspapers are fun to read, even for adults. They have pleasing color graphics, short quizzes on the material, even a brief "career" column called "People Working for the Earth." This year their theme is "Sharing the Earth." The topics include: "The Secret Lives of Plants," "Birds of Prey," "Butterflies," and "People and Wildlife Sharing the Earth." As an extra dividend each classroom receives an "awesome" poster, "Healthy Habitat." The classroom resource manual is also a gem: it includes detailed lesson plans, lots of hands-on activities, duplicating masters, assessment questions, answer keys, and much more.
If any of you want to be part of this worthy project in promoting conservation and environmental stewardship, I would be pleased to hear from you. I can supply teacher contacts for you from the many teachers who were in the program last year, from fourteen schools ranging from Bozeman to Manhattan, from Three Forks to Ennis. A typical response from the teachers in May goes like this: "Thank you, thank you for everything. The kids and I enjoyed every bit of this wonderful program."
Please feel free to email or call me, Mike Becker, or write me at P.O. Box 268, Harrison, Montana 59735. I would be happy to elaborate on the adventure called "Audubon Adventures"!