Sacajawea Audubon

Sacajawea Audubon 2017 Birdathon

W. Screech-Owl (Mike Vivion)

Saturday, May 13 – Sunday, June 25, 2017

Spring is here, which means it's time to call your favorite birders and register your birdathon team.

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 13 – June 25, 2017.  You collect pledges per bird species and the money raised benefits Southwestern Montana birds and other wildlife.

To add to the fun - by participating you could win prizes and awards. Check-out the Birdathon Rules and Prize & Award information links you can find under the Birdathon tab at the top of this page, or call Loreene at (406) 600-6666 or Lou Ann at (406) 600-3585.


2016 Christmas Bird Count Schedule

2014 Ennis CBC

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.


Wednesday, December 14th

Compiler: Robin Wolcott (406) 581-5418  email preferred

Meet at Yesterday’s Café in the Ennis Pharmacy, by 7:30 AM or sooner for breakfast


Saturday, December 17th

Compiler: John Parker (406) 586-5863

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

West Yellowstone

Sunday, December 18th

Compiler: Brad Barth (406) 640-2628

Meet at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, in West Yellowstone at 8:30 AM


Sunday, December 18th

Compiler: Sally MacDonald (406) 223-9167

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


Sunday, December 18th

Compiler: Woody Martyn (406) 224-1476

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


Three Forks

Monday, December 26th

Compiler: Tom Forwood (406) 570-6432  email preferred

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


Ruby Valley

Wednesday, January 4th

Compiler: Tom Forwood (406) 570-6432  email preferred

Meet at 8:30 location to be announced

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


Photos From the Bluebird Trail

Mtn Bluebird nestlings

Mtn Bluebird nestlings


Mountain Bluebird at box.


A couple of photos taken on the Rocky Mtn. Road bluebird trail, 7/7/15.

Top: One day old nestlings waiting to be fed.

Middle:  A male Mountain Bluebird celebrates a newly installed nest box.

Bottom: A male Mtn. Bluebird exits a box after feeding nestlings.

Photos by Lou Ann Harris.







Member Photo – Dusky Grouse

Nothing could be finer to a birder than a Dusky Grouse against a backdrop of fall color.  Paul Gore has been working on improving habitat on his property and says it's now paying off.  Yard visitors include a covey of Gray Partridge and this beautiful Dusky Grouse.  Enjoy!

Dusky Grouse (Paul Gore photo)

Dusky Grouse (Paul Gore photo)


75th Bozeman Christmas Bird Count – Summary

Virginia Rail (L. Harris)

Virginia Rail (L. Harris)

The Bozeman CBC was conducted on December 14th with no wind, and temperatures into the thirties, making for nearly ideal conditions on count day.  34 people participated in the count.  This year 65 species (the second highest total after last year’s 70) were seen, plus three count week species.

Amazingly, 4 new species were added to the all time species list!  The new species added to the count were Tundra Swan, Ring-necked Duck, Virginia Rail, and Chipping Sparrow.  A total of 122 species have been seen on the Bozeman count.

Overall, there were record high counts for 10 species.  12,617 individual birds were seen during the count.  For a total summary, please click on the link below.




Rusty Blackbird (L. Harris)

Rusty Blackbird (L. Harris)


Hummingbird Show

Sacajawea Audubon members John and Tamie Parker have been hosts to a number of hummingbirds at their Hyalite Canyon home recently.  Over the last ten days there have been 4-7 Calliope Hummingbirds, 2-5 Rufous Hummingbirds, and a single adult Broad-tailed Hummingbird. The single adult Rufous chases all of the other hummers, of course, but it especially has it in for the Broad-tailed, chasing it relentlessly.  John sent these photos of two Rufous hummers.

Female Rufous Hummingbird  (J. Parker)

Female Rufous Hummingbird (J. Parker)

Male Rufous Hummingbird (J. Parker)

Male Rufous Hummingbird (J. Parker)


Ennis Lake Field Trip Report

All fourteen of the participants on the October 20th Ennis Lake field trip had a great day at the lake, with many opportunities to study the different species of waterfowl.  The predicted snow or rain never materialized, and the wind was manageable.

The loon migration was near the peak, with over 70 Common Loons counted.  Along with the many nice views of the loons, we were also able to get plenty of close-up looks of Western, Eared, and Horned Grebes for comparison.  The numbers and variety of ducks did not disappoint, with 14 species spotted among the huge rafts of waterfowl spread across the lake.  Several Barrow’s Goldeneye were found along with Common Goldeneye.  On two occasions it was instructive to have Common and Red-breasted Mergansers side by side in a flock.

At the bridge in the northwest corner of the lake, many Bald and Golden Eagles of all ages put on a spectacular show.  What a thrill to watch them soar effortlessly on the wind.

Along with numerous Ring-billed Gulls, there were two California Gulls and an immature Herring Gull.  Best of all were the half dozen or so Bonaparte’s Gulls.  The buoyant tern-like flight of these small gulls was a joy to watch.

-John Parker


Update from the Bridger Ridge Hawk Watchers

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

Greetings fans of Hawk Watch,

It feels like fall has come and passed already!  Since our last report the weather has cleared and the raptors have continued their southerly journey.   It has been beautiful up here on the Bridger Ridge, albeit a little cold.
Latest news is a mountain lion trail spotted behind our cabin, mountain goats on the east side of Tilly, and LOTS of golden eagles.  This past week the golden has been consistently over half the total migrants on a daily basis.  We expect this to continue till the end of the season.  Besides the Golden Eagles, we have seen increasing numbers of Prairie Falcons and Merlins; two very exciting birds to see (flying sharks is our nick-name).  The Sharp-shinned Hawks have stayed pretty steady, but the Cooper's have dropped off, making our lives somewhat easier.  Our first Rough Legged Hawk was spotted during the previous weekend.  These arctic birds bring sign of the coming winter.
Raptor Fest weekend was a huge success.  We had a record turnout of 4200 visitors down at the lodge.  There was an elite 50 that made it up to the ridge out of that group.  Good work guys!  The weather was great and we saw lots of birds, including the very rare Ferruginous Hawk, only our 4th one of the season.  We hope that everyone enjoyed the show that Bridger Bowl put on and all the excellent demonstrations and learning experiences that the event had to offer.
If you want to see more raptors, come on up!  The season is still quite exciting.  A Hawk Watch site in Alberta counted 427 golden eagles today and we expect those birds to arrive Friday.  Hold on to your seats!  The local weather at the helipad can be seen at if you want to check it out.
We would like to thank all of you once again for coming up and seeing us!  The birds are awesome, but we really appreciate the human company and all the great gifts you have bestowed on us.  Our happiness for this is beyond words.
Check out the attached image of a beautiful adult female Northern Harrier (note the tawny underside with heavy steaking - the tell-tale field-mark) giving our owl decoy a hard time (as usual).  Thanks to Kalon for these awesome pictures.
Here is the count as of October 10, 2012 (No counts on October 3 and 4 due to weather).
2 Turkey Vultures
9 Ospreys
58 Harriers
377 Sharp-shinned Hawks
177 Cooper's
17 Goshawks
52 Unknown Accipiters
37 Broad Wingeds
8 Swainson's
220 Red Taileds
4 Ferruginous
2 Rough Legged
11 Unknown Buteos
613 Golden Eagles
42 Bald Eagles
6 Unknown Eagles
146 Kestrels
14 Merlins
10 Prairie Falcons
34 Peregrine Falcons
12 Unknown Falcons
66 Unknown Raptors (maybe some Ravens in there too).
Cheers and happy birding,
Kalon and Bret from Bridger Ridge.

Recent Bird Sightings – Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl - photo by L. Harris

This small, ground-dwelling, diurnal owl with it's long legs is nearly unmistakable when seen in the field.  Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) most often use burrows for nesting dug by other animals, such as badgers, marmots, prairie dogs, skunks and ground squirrels.  They will often line the burrow entrance and nest cavity with dried livestock manure which serves as bedding for their eggs and chicks.  This is known to attract insect prey and signal occupancy to other owls.   They primarily feed on insects and small mammals.  They hunt insects by walking, running or hopping along the ground, or by fly-catching from a perch.  Prey is caught by the feet, then transferred to their beak for carrying.  Burrowing Owls will migrate south beginning in late August, and primarily winter in the southwestern United States.


May 26th Field Trip Report – E. Gallatin Recreation Area

John Parker, Doug Smith & Tim Preso scan for warblers.

Not to be deterred by cold, wet weather, three birders joined John Parker on his Saturday morning field trip  on May 26th. The original destination of Mount Ellis was changed to the East Gallatin Recreation Area due to snow and windy conditions. It was definitely the right decision. Despite temperatures ranging from 31 - 37 degrees, a total of 53 species were found, including a breeding male Chestnut-sided Warbler.  But the bird of the day was a male Black-throated Gray Warbler, only the 11th record for the state. The Black-throated Gray eluded the group for some time, hearing it sing for over an hour, hidden deep in thick vegetation, then finally getting a couple of short diagnostic looks.  Among the other bird species seen were: Western Grebe, Wilson's Snipe, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Least Flycatcher, Gray Catbird, Swainson's Thrush & Evening Grosbeak. There were also four swallow species feeding over the water at Glen Lake, including Violet-green, Tree, Northern Rough-winged, and Bank Swallows.