Sacajawea Audubon
30Jan/13Off

Feb. 11th Program – “Studying The Wolf Issue: What Science and Scientists Suggest”

Photo by Doug Smith

Photo by Doug Smith

Please join Sacajawea Audubon on Monday, February 11th for an interesting and fact-based program on the wolf issue, presented by Norm Bishop.

Norm, who has been interpreting wolves and their recovery in the Yellowstone area for 27 years, will briefly review a number of recent studies, many of which were enabled by wolf restoration, that may inform the issue of wolf management in the greater Yellowstone area.  He will be open to questions following the talk.

Norm Bishop was a national park ranger for 36 years.  He was the principal interpreter of wolves and their restoration at Yellowstone National Park 1985-1997.  For his educational work on wolves, he received a USDI citation for meritorious service. He also received the National Parks and Conservation Association's 1988 Stephen T. Mather Award, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition's 1991 Stewardship Award, and the Wolf Education and Research Center's 1997 Alpha Award.  He led many field courses on wolves for the Yellowstone Association Institute until 2005.  Norm volunteers as the greater Yellowstone region field representative for the International Wolf Center.  He serves on the boards of the Wolf Recovery Foundation, Wild Things Unlimited, and the Gallatin-Park County Chapter of Montana Conservation Voters.  He is also on the advisory board of Living with Wolves.

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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8Jan/13Off

January 14th Program

 

Juvenile Swainson's Hawk   (photo by J. Harris)

Juvenile Swainson's Hawk (photo by J. Harris)

2012 Bridger Raptor Count,  The Inside Story

Join Sacajawea Audubon January 14th for a presentation by Bret Davis on the inside story on the 2012 Bridger Ridge Raptor Count.  Bret Davis and Kalon Baughan camped on the Bridger Ridge from September 1 to November 5 this past fall and systematically counted all the raptors that migrated through.   Both hawkwatchers are avid birders and naturalists.  Bret is a physics student in the graduate school at MSU and Kalon is a wildlife illustrator and works on wolverine conservation.

During the study, they counted 2,822 birds of prey among 17 species, with the greatest numbers being Golden Eagles.   More Golden Eagles (over 1,400) were counted at Bridger Ridge this year than any other hawk-watch site in the US.  This season was also a record year for Peregrine Falcons and had high counts of Broad-winged Hawks and American Kestrels.

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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2Jan/13Off

2012 Bozeman Christmas Bird Count Report

   Simply, it was an amazing year statistically for the Bozeman count.  Previously the high total for species was 59, which had been reached four times in the past five years.  I was wondering when we might ever reach 60 species.  To increase the total species from 59 to 70 in a single count, with a 74 year data set, is incredible.

             New to the count this year were a single Pied-billed Grebe and a count week Ring-necked Duck.  Birds that were seen, that had only been recorded one time before included: Canvasback (count week), Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Northern Saw-whet Owl (last recorded in 1915), and a Spotted Towhee.

             The single biggest factor for the increased species total, has been the expansion of the gravel pits east of Belgrade, along Interstate 90.  Where the Bozeman circle typically had no open still water, the deepening of the pits has apparently reached the water table, which seems to be spring fed, allowing open water to persist into January.  Also the mining activity has moved further to the east, so the birds have a quiet place to linger that is not accessible to the public.

            Other factors in the high species total were the winter finch irruption, finding several rarities, good circle coverage, and of course, luck.

             Overall, there were record high counts for 23 species (including 6 species of raptors and both crossbill species), with several more species just missing new high counts.  Some of the notable increases in high counts were Bald Eagle (50 to 69), Rough-legged Hawk (77 to 106), Eurasian Collared-Dove ( 231 to 643), Brown Creeper (15 to 22), Red Crossbill ( 110 to 269), White-winged Crossbill (33 to 64).  The total of individual birds was also a new high total, with the redpoll invasion being a major contributor.  Perhaps again this year, the Bozeman circle will lead the way with the most magpies of all the counts.

            Thank you to all of the participants on the 74rd Bozeman Christmas Bird count!  Hopefully everyone had fun helping with the count and enjoyed seeing some terrific birds on a beautiful day.

Happy New Year.

John Parker