Sacajawea Audubon
5May/16Off

Important Bird Area Surveys Scheduled – Birders Needed

This past winter has just been declared the warmest winter on record for the United States. On March 5th volunteers conducted a survey of the Madison Valley IBA and noticed the effect. The warming trend had certainly played out in the Madison Valley with little snow remaining on the valley floor and Ennis Lake already one quarter open. In-spite of strong winds that kept many of the songbirds down and less visible we had the highest number of species (43) for any of our counts this early in the month. The number of individual birds seen for an early March count was also the highest ever due to the large number of waterfowl on Ennis Lake.

Some other highlights and observations: The number of Bald Eagles seen (64) was about double the average! They were concentrated on, and around, Ennis Lake, probably feeding on the waterfowl present. Only 1 Rough-legged Hawk was seen. It seems they left early due to the mild winter. Early migrants found included Tree Swallows (3), Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, Mountain Bluebirds, and an American Kestrel. The most unusual bird seen was a Green-tailed Towhee which wintered over at the El Western Motel and has been coming in to their feeders.

If you would like to put your birding skills to good use, join us on our next IBA surveys. We’d love your help!

 

June 18th – Headwaters IBA                Contact Martha Collins – marthacoll@msn.com (579-0506)

June 29th – Madison Valley IBA        Contact Paulette Epple – bigskyepples@msn.com (580-6186)

 

Ennis Lake (L. Harris photo)

Ennis Lake (L. Harris photo)

 

8Feb/16Off

Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 12-15th

Common Redpoll (Photo by Missy Mandel)

Common Redpoll (Photo by Missy Mandel)

February 12 - 15, 2016

HOW TO COUNT THE BIRDS:  Easy as 1–2–3!

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. Count birds anywhere you like for at LEAST 15 minutes or longer.  Keep track of the kinds of birds you see and how long you watched.
  1. Make your best estimate of how many birds you saw of each species.  For example, 4 Black-

capped Chickadees, 2 Northern Flickers.  Huge flocks may be a challenge, but your best guess is still valuable

  1. Enter your list(s) online at www.BirdCount.org.  You put in a new list for each time you count, whether it’s on the same day, a different day, at the same place, or at a new location.

Go to www.Bird Count.org to learn more about this valuable way you can contribute to bird science.  Look for the “Submit Observations” button on the Great Backyard Bird Count website (or eBird).  You can start entering bird lists after midnight local time on the first day of the count anywhere in the world.

14Dec/15Off

2015 Christmas Bird Count Schedule

ChristmasBirdCount_OnlineGraphic_2015-16 (1)

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Ennis

2014 Ennis CBC

Wednesday, December 16th

Compiler: Robin Wolcott (406) 581-5418  pajaros@wewocotts.com

Meet at Yesterday’s Café in the Ennis Pharmacy,

By 7:30 AM or sooner for breakfast

 

Bozeman

Saturday, December 19th

Compiler: John Parker (406) 586-5863   conundrumjp@gmail.com

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

 

West Yellowstone

Sunday, December 20th

Compiler: Brad Barth (406) 640-2628   barth.brad@gmail.com

Meet at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

West Yellowstone at 8:30 AM

 

Livingston

Sunday, December 20th

Compiler: Sally MacDonald (406) 223-9167   smacbirder@msn.com

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

 

Yellowstone

Sunday, December 20th

Compiler: Woody Martyn (406) 224-1476   woodymartyn@hotmail.com

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

 

Three Forks

Monday, December 28th

Compiler: Tom Forwood (406) 570-6432   tjfishing75@gmail.com

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

 

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 count day.  Participation in all counts is free.

30Sep/15Off

Oct. 17th – Madison Valley IBA Bird Count

EnnisLakeFTMadison Valley IBA Bird Survey – October 17th

The birds are on the move again with Ennis Lake serving as an important stopover for large numbers of migrating waterfowl, loons and grebes.  Also, the first returning Rough-legged Hawks have been sighted and you never know what else we may find in the Madison Valley.  Last year's treat was a Harris Sparrow.   On October 17th (Saturday) we will conduct one last survey of the Madison Valley IBA and its always a fun time to put your bird watching skills to a good use.

If you can help, email Paulette at bigskyepples@msn.com or call 580-6186.  We will meet at the Ennis Pharmacy Café in Ennis by 7:45 am.  Come early if you would like to eat breakfast there.  We should be finished by early afternoon.

25Jun/15Off

Rocky Mountain Rd. Bluebird Trail Field Trip – June 28th & 29th

Mt Bluebird pair  (L. Harris)

Mt Bluebird pair (L. Harris)

➢June 28 and 29: Rocky Mountain Road Bluebird Trail

Leaders: Janne Hayward 587-6124 jannehayward@juno.com , and Lou Ann Harris 600-3585 montlou311@gmail.com
(1/2 day)

Get up close and personal with Mountain Bluebirds. Join bluebirders Janne Hayward and Lou Ann Harris, as they check bluebird nest boxes and band adults and nestlings along Rocky Mountain Road. This is a rare opportunity to get an inside look at the lives of these amazing birds, including nest building, egg laying and raising young. Due to the sensitive nature of the work, we are limiting these field trips to 8 participants.

Participants in all trips will meet at the front parking lot of the Museum of the Rockies at 6:45 AM and depart at 7:00 AM unless otherwise noted. Car pools will be arranged at the museum; an offer to help with gas to the person driving is always appreciated but not mandatory. Dress for the weather; good footwear is a must as field trip conditions are not always dry. Turn off your cell phones and keep unnecessary conversations to a minimum. Some field trips are limited to a certain number of participants. Contact the trip leader for more details about any trip, and to sign up for the trip. We encourage beginning birders to participate. Come have a good time and learn something new.

6Jun/15Off

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 bigskyepples@msn.com or call 580-6186.

16Mar/15Off

Kestrel Nest Box Reminder

Kestrel Nest Box  (P. Epple photo)

Kestrel Nest Box (P. Epple photo)

TIME TO CLEAN THAT KESTREL BOX!

American Kestrels will be winging their way back soon, looking for nest sites and beginning to use the boxes we have put up around the valley.   If you have a kestrel nest box out now is the time to check it and clean it before the birds are back.  Remove any old dirty nesting materials.  Often boxes are used by house wrens, tree swallows, and other species, even if a kestrel hasn’t  taken advantage of the box.  Throw out old nests and scrape out debris and whitewash.  Then add 2 inches of clean softwood shavings for bedding (pine or aspen are good).  Avoid cedar shavings as they are too strongly aromatic.   Sacajawea Audubon will have bags of clean wood shavings available for free at the March 9th program.  We will also have a few kestrel boxes available for sale if you are interested in installing one.

18Feb/15Off

Madison Valley IBA Bird Survey – March 15th

Ennis Lake

Ennis Lake

March 15th (Sunday) we will conduct our first IBA survey of the year in the Madison Valley.  This has been a most unusual winter and during the extended warm spell in the middle of February Ennis Lake opened up and became almost ice free.  It will be interesting to see how the mild open winter affects our bird counts.  Raptors should be present in good numbers, Ennis Lake should be attracting many swans as well as a variety of ducks, and there should be some early songbird migrants back in the valley.

If you can help, email Paulette at bigskyepples@msn.com or call 580-6186.  We will meet at the Ennis Pharmacy Café in Ennis by 7:45 am.  Come early if you would like to eat breakfast there.  We should be finished by noon or 1 pm.

FYI:  Other IBA survey dates for the year will include:

  • Madison Valley IBA survey - April 25
  • Headwaters IBA survey - May 2
  • Headwaters IBA survey - June 17
  • Madison Valley IBA survey - June 24
10Jan/15Off

eBird Workshop – Jan. 22nd

eBird logoDo you need some help getting started with eBird?  Are you wondering what eBird is all about?  Join Sacajawea Audubon to learn about this valuable citizen-science database and start entering your bird observations online!  eBirders Lou Ann Harris and Paulette Epple will answer questions and get you started. This workshop will be held Jan. 22nd, 6:30 p.m. at Bozeman Public Library - Small Conference Room.

Bring a wi-fi capable laptop computer or tablet (or use one of ours) and a couple of bird sighting lists that you want to enter.  Go birding and write down all the birds you see at a certain place - your backyard, a favorite birding spot, or on a short walk.  Record the time you started birding, the ending time, and of course the location.  We will help you learn to post your sightings, keep life lists, and explore the data on eBird.  This is a free class but a reservation is required.  Contact Paulette Epple to register at sec@sacajaweaaudubon.org or call 580-6186.

 

eBird logo

10Dec/14Off

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

barth.brad@gmail.com

Meet at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

West Yellowstone at 8:30 AM

 

Livingston                       Sunday, December 14th

Compiler: Sally MacDonald (406) 223-9167

smacbirder@msn.com

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

pajaros@wewocotts.com

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

conundrumjp@gmail.com

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

between 7-7:30 AM

 

Yellowstone              Sunday, December 21st

Compiler: Woody Martyn  (406)224-1476

woodymartyn@hotmail.com

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

 

Three Forks              Friday, December 26th

Compiler: Tom Forwood (406) 570-6432

tjfishing75@gmail.com

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.