Sacajawea Audubon

Sept. 10th – Headwaters – Three Forks Field Trip

Headwaters-Three Forks

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Leader: Robin Wolcott, 406-581-5418

Meet at 7:45 am at the Museum of the Rockies. Carpool and leave at 8 am.

Early September is the peak of fall migration with an amazing diversity of birds passing through Montana. This field trip will take advantage of the many birding opportunities in the Headwaters State Park and Three Forks area. The trip will last until early afternoon but let’s be prepared for anything. Bring a lunch. Bring a scope if you have one. Bring your enthusiasm and your flexibility.

Participants limited to 14

To reserve a spot on the trip or for more information please contact the trip leader.


Ennis Raptor ID Workshop with Steve Hoffman – August 20th

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

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

WHAT: Raptor (hawks, eagles, falcons, harriers, etc.) Identification Workshop (for all skill levels).

WHEN: Saturday, August 20th (8:15 AM – 5:00 PM); includes 90-minute classroom instruction, followed by field excursion to the Gravelly Mountains (NO hiking involved; carpooling will be required to minimize the number of vehicles on this fairly narrow gravel road).

WHERE: We will meet at Pronghorn Meadows Clubhouse (3 miles SW of Ennis on the highway to Virginia City) @8:15 AM.  At the conclusion of the classroom session we will arrange carpooling and then drive to the crest of the Gravelly Range, where we will search for soaring raptors that use the abundant updrafts along this high ridgeline.

WHY: This exciting late-summer period is ideal for viewing a diversity and abundance of pre-migratory, staging raptors that often congregate atop the Gravellys to hunt ground squirrels, pocket gophers, voles, grasshoppers & crickets. (Species likely to be encountered: American Kestrels, Prairie Falcons, Red-tailed Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks, Ferruginous Hawks, Northern Harriers, Golden & Bald Eagles & Ospreys).

WHO: Steve Hoffman, Executive Director of Montana Audubon (since 2006), began his career as a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Arizona (1978-1980).  He later worked as an Endangered Species Specialist for the US Fish & Wildlife Service in Albuquerque (1980-1987). In 1986 Steve founded HawkWatch International (HWI), a not-for-profit working to monitor and protect raptors.  In 2000 Steve returned to his birth state of Pennsylvania to become Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Pennsylvania.  In 2004 Steve moved to Bozeman to serve as Director of Keystone Conservation.  Steve has authored more than 35 scientific papers on raptors and other wildlife-related topics, and has given hundreds of presentations on raptors to audiences across the U.S. & abroad. Steve has an M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from Utah State University (1979).

COST: $50 for each participant (tax-deductible donation; lunch & snacks will be provided). Make checks payable to:  Montana Audubon, PO Box 595, Helena, MT 59624, or pay online by going to: (designate “Ennis Raptor Workshop” in “Notes” section).

QUESTIONS: Call 443.3949, or email – space is limited and pre-registration is required – register TODAY!  (This field trip will be limited to 20 participants.)


Complete and clip this form, and mail to:  Montana Audubon, PO Box 595, Helena, MT 59624.

Name:  ___________________________________________ Phone:  _____________________________

Address (city/zip):  _____________________________________________________________________

Email:  __________________________________________ Are you a MT Audubon member?  ________

Are you willing to drive on the field trip? ____________   If so, how many total passengers can you accommodate? __________


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)


Madison Valley IBA Bird Survey – June 24th

Madison Valley IBA Bird Survey – June 24th (Wednesday)

The birds are all back now so its time to survey our IBAs and document the breeding birds in the area. The great numbers of waterfowl will be gone and instead we will be challenged to count up all the warblers, flycatchers, swallows, orioles, grosbeaks and Sandhill Cranes (101 seen on last year's June count). This count will take place on a Wednesday, June 24th, to avoid the weekend recreationists on Ennis Lake. Since daylight comes early now we will be meeting earlier too. We will meet at the Ennis Pharmacy Café in Ennis and be ready to head out for the survey at 7 am.

If you can help, email Paulette at or call 580-6186.


2014 Christmas Bird Count Schedule

Rusty Blackbird (L. Harris)

2013 Bozeman CBC Rusty Blackbird (L. Harris)

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.

West Yellowstone           Sunday, December 14th

Compiler: Brad Barth (406) 640-2628

Meet at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

West Yellowstone at 8:30 AM


Livingston                       Sunday, December 14th

Compiler: Sally MacDonald (406) 223-9167

Meet at The Other Café, in Livingston

between 7:00-7:30 AM


Ennis                                Wednesday, December 17th

2013 Bozeman CBC Virginia Rail (L. Harris)

2013 Bozeman CBC Virginia Rail (L. Harris)

Compiler: Robin Wolcott (406) 581-5418

Meet at Yesterday’s Café in the Ennis Pharmacy,

By 7:30 AM or sooner for breakfast


Bozeman                      Saturday, December 20th

Compiler: John Parker (406) 586-5863

Meet at Perkins Restaurant, 2505 West Main, in Bozeman,

between 7-7:30 AM


Yellowstone              Sunday, December 21st

Compiler: Woody Martyn  (406)224-1476

Meet at the Best Western in Gardiner at 7:00 a.m.


Three Forks              Friday, December 26th

Compiler: Tom Forwood (406) 570-6432

Meet at Wheat Montana at exit 274

at 8:00 AM or by 7:30 for breakfast

For more information, contact the 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.

Some background on the Christmas Bird Count:

The first CBC was done on Christmas Day of 1900 as an alternative activity to an event called the “side hunt” where people chose sides, then went out and shot as many birds as they could. The group that came in with the largest number of dead birds won the event. Frank Chapman, a famed ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History and the editor of Bird-Lore (which became the publication of the National Association of Audubon Societies when that organization formed in 1905) recognized that declining bird populations could not withstand wanton over-hunting, and proposed to count birds on Christmas Day rather than shoot them.

Audubon's Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world. The CBC is an early-winter bird census, where volunteers count every bird they see or hear during one day in a designated 15-mile diameter circle. Count volunteers follow specified routes within the circle. It’s not just a species tally—all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. If observers live within a CBC circle, they may arrange in advance to count the birds at their feeders and submit those data to their compiler. All individual CBC’s are conducted in the period from December 14 to January 5 (inclusive dates) each season, and each count is conducted in one calendar day

These counts have proven incredibly valuable for what they tell scientists -- and all of us -- about our changing world.


Thank You to our Local Festival Sponsors!

Calliope Hummingbird by Andrew Guttenburg

Calliope Hummingbird by Andrew Guttenburg

Sacajawea Audubon would like to give a big THANK YOU to all our local sponsors that supported the 2014 Wings Across The Big Sky bird festival, held June 6-8th:

Bozeman Tourist Business Improvement District

Owenhouse Ace Hardware


Bridger Bowl

Big Sky Resort

Lewis & Clark Motel

Mystery Ranch Backpacks

Northern Lights

Community Food Co-op

Jim Dolan

Carol Guzman

Nicklin Earth & Water

Gallatin National Forest

Western Cafe

Allegra Printing

GranTree Inn/Best Western



“Wings Across The Big Sky” Bird Festival – June 6, 7, 8

                  15th Annual Montana Audubon

Artwork by Andrew Guttenberg

Artwork by Andrew Guttenberg

               Wings Across The Big Sky Festival

June 6-8, 2014

Bozeman, Montana

Our 2014 Bird Festival is coming to the spectacular Gallatin Valley! Get ready to register and plan for this highly anticipated annual event, co-hosted by Montana Audubon and Sacajawea Audubon Society, our partner in Bozeman.  Online registration is now available at 

The festival is sure to please as Sacajawea Audubon kicks off Friday with light hors d'oeuvres and a evening program starting at 4:30pm. The rest of the weekend is filled with a diversity of expertly guided field tripsSaturday's Keynote Address by John Marzluff, Ph.D (co-hosted by the Gallatin National Forest), Saturday's dynamic presentations, and other activities for all of you actively engaged bird enthusiasts out there!J Marzluff

John Marzluff will give the Keynote Address, Gifts of the Crow, a foray into what he describes as millions of years of cultural co-evolution between humans and crows. Join us as Dr. Marzluff describes humans' ongoing connection with these mischievous, playful, social and passionate birds! If that isn't enough to bring you over, his crow research was used in the documentary "A Murder of Crows" and his Raven research was featured in PBS's NATURE, "Ravens"! Further, Dr. Marzluff's research has been highlighted in the New York TimesNational GeographicAudubon, and National Wildlife. He is currently a Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington, has authored over 120 scientific papers, and leads the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Recovery Team for the endangered Mariana Crow.

Field trips are already filling up, so plan to register right away! Each field trip will generally be leaving the GranTree at 6:00am.  Saturday trips will return at noon, in time to see our great presentations and keynote. Sunday trip end times are generally more variable so be sure to read the descriptions closely. Participants should come prepared with their binoculars, rain gear, comfortable shoes/boots, camera, a two-way radio if possible, water and personal items. Sack lunches are available as part of your registration fee for both days. Please note that some field trips are offered both Saturday and Sunday, while others are offered only one day.

Festival Online Registration

Our Saturday presentations will get you fired up to conserve birds and their habitats as we learn from a variety highly regarded researchers, conservationists, and bird aficionados!

2014 PresentationTopics
Montana's Osprey and Toxins
Sage-Grouse conservation
Bird migration in the Middle East
A new "Field Guide to Birds in a Changing Climate"
Bridger Raptors
Birds, Beetles, and Burns

This year there is an exciting new Special Raffle for a chance to win a Texas Coast Birding Extravaganza trip! It is a premium package (valued at over $4,000) for four adults, that includes two full days of birding with local experts and three days of luxury accommodations near downtown Houston! The dates are set for April 14- 17, 2015, so get excited! This package was generously donated by John Whitmire and Susie Maclin.

In addition, there will be a Bucket Raffle, a Dessert auction, and opportunities to camp or explore Bozeman.

Finally, we know our festival travels are not without an impact! Montana Audubon is striving to become carbon neutral, and as part of a close to home solution to help offset our carbon footprint, we are starting a seed fund for solar panels at our sunny Education Center in Billings. Donate any amount, note "solar" on the donation, and we promise to turn those dollars into clean energy!

The festival headquarters and lodging will be at the Best Western Plus GranTree InnBozeman. Rooms are $99 per night and can be reserved by calling 406-587-5261. Mention that you are with Montana Audubon to get this special rate, and take time to thank them for being a supporter of our local Audubon Society!

Mark your calendars, stay tuned for details, and a big THANK YOU to our many sponsers!



Raptor ID Workshop & Field Trip – March 7th & 8th


Northern Goshawk (imm.) - photo by L. Harris

Northern Goshawk (imm.) - photo by L. Harris

Raptor ID Workshop & Field Trip   Presented by: Steve Hoffman, Executive Director, MT Audubon and founder of HawkWatch International

Have you ever wanted to sharpen your raptor identification skills?  If so, this is the workshop for you! On Friday evening Steve Hoffman will provide a detailed discussion of the identification and natural history of all raptor 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. Participants will then go into the field on Saturday to practice their newly-developed skills. Steve’s presentation will be especially valuable for “intermediate” and “advanced” raptor watching enthusiasts, although beginners will also find this workshop quite helpful.

The Friday night presentation will start at 7 PM and last till 9 PM, in the Bozeman Public Library’s small conference room. 

Saturday morning’s field trip will meet at the Museum of the Rockies at 8:30 am, and leave at 8:45.  Be sure to dress for the weather and bring any necessary drinks or snacks for this 4-5 hour trip.  If you have a spotting scope that you can bring, that would be helpful.

There is a $30 fee and 20 person limit for the workshop and field trip.  Advance reservation and payment is required.  For more information and to make reservations please call John Parker at 586-5863 or email him at


2014 Great Backyard Bird Count – Feb. 14-17th

Red-breasted Nuthatch  (Christine Haines)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Christine Haines)

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a 4 day event held every year in February.  Bird watchers from across the world are asked to count and report the birds they see to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are.  Everyone is welcome—from beginning bird watchers to experts.  You can count birds anywhere you find them --in your yard, your neighborhood, out on a walk, or at any of your favorite birding spots.   Take as little as 15 minutes on one day or make it a whole weekend of birding.  The steps are easy:

  1. Create a GBBC account.  This applies to anyone who has never participated in a GBBC or has does not have an eBird accountTwo ways to set up a GBBC account: Do it now through eBird or wait until Feb. 14 and create your account on the GBBC website. You can use the same login name and password for both projects.
  2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the GBBC.  Create a separate list for each day, for each location, or for the same location at different times.
  3. Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking "Submit Your Bird Checklist" on the home page.  If you already use eBird, please continue using eBird to submit your sightings but be sure to enter at least one checklist during the GBBC weekend!

Scientists will use the information, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientist understand the complex distribution and movements of many species.

Go to  to learn more.  You will be able to enter checklists there starting on February 14th.



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)