Sacajawea Audubon
24Sep/16Off

Explore Limestone Creek – Public Hike Oct. 23rd

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22Sep/16Off

Middle Madison Valley Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project

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The goal of this project, started in 2011, is to establish 5 nesting pairs of Trumpeter Swans in the restoration area within a 5 -10 year time frame. On occasion 30 to 50 swans (marked and unmarked) have been observed near O'Dell Creek in the Madison Valley during winter and approximately 10 in early summer; no nesting to date, but birds have been seen in pairs in the spring. On August 1st, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks  released 5 cygnets on O'Dell Creek.  Sacajawea Audubon has been a partner in this restoration project for a number of years.

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Photos courtesy John Parker

27Jul/16Off

Volunteers needed to “Knock out Burdock”!

A Chickadee killed by Burdock

Join Sacajawea Audubon as we continue to work this summer to eradicate burdock from some of our favorite trails.  This nasty introduced plant has Velcro-like seed heads that entrap songbirds, slowly causing their deaths.  You may know burdock from brushing against it and getting the burs caught in your hair, your clothes, or your dog's fur.  Lucky for us this plant is a short-lived biennial. If we can keep a stand of burdock from setting seed by clipping off the seed heads early, it will eventually die out.

Audubon volunteers will be leading work groups to clip the seed heads throughout the summer and WE NEED HELP!  Join us if you can at any of these dates and locations:

  • July 28 - The “M” Trailhead
  • July 30 -   East Gallatin Recreation Area (meet at the beach)
  • August 3 - Drinking Horse Mountain Trailhead
  • August 10 - Story Mill Community Park  (park along Story Mill Road just south of the Story Mill)
  • August 13 -  Sypes Canyon Trailhead
  • August 16 - Gallagator Trail (meet on Garfield Street where it intersects the Gallagator Trail)
  • August 25 - Sourdough Trail in Bozeman **Evening Meeting time: 6 pm ** (meet at Gardner Park trailhead on Gardner Park Drive)

We will meet each morning at 7:30 am. (EXCEPT Sourdough Trail which is a 6 pm evening event!) Bring pruning clippers if you have them and wear gloves, long sleeves and long pants, all of fabrics that burs won’t adhere to.  Plan to work for an hour or two.  Whatever time you can afford.  With your help, we will "Knock out Burdock"!

Contact Paulette Epple at  bigskyepples@msn.com    or   580-6186  for more information.Or contact Janne Hayward at 587-6124 to help her remove burdock from other smaller sites, dates negotiable.

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3Jul/16Off

SAS American Kestrel Project Update

Kestrel nestlings (L. Harris)

Kestrel nestlings (L. Harris)

Paulette Epple checking a nest box.

Paulette Epple checking a nest box.

Paulette holding a female kestrel after banding.

Paulette holding a female kestrel after banding.

Back of a female kestrel wing.

Back of a female kestrel wing.

Female American Kestrel

Female American Kestrel

Lou Ann Harris holding a recently banded female kestrel.

Lou Ann Harris holding a recently banded female kestrel.

In 2013, Sacajawea Audubon began installing kestrel nest boxes around Gallatin Valley with the help of the American Kestrel Partnership (AKP).  This international project was in response to long-term population declines of kestrels in North America.

No boxes were used by kestrels in the first two years of the project.  Then in 2014, SAS Project Leader Paulette Epple found 3 active boxes.  Success!  In 2015, there were 2 active nests.

This year there are 8 active nests. The AKP also requested that we band the nestlings/adults and collect body feather samples as part of the American Kestrel Genoscape Project.  The genetic data from the feathers will be analyzed to understand the migratory connectivity of kestrel populations and how the connectivity changes with climate.

Lou Ann Harris, who is a licensed bander, received the necessary permit modifications to band kestrels and collect feathers.  On June 27th, Paulette and Lou Ann checked 6 boxes with the hope of catching an incubating female.  They did indeed catch 3 females in the box and banded them.  Once the nestlings reach the age of about 18 days, the team will band them and collect the feathers.

This has become a very exciting conservation project for Sacajawea Audubon!  It's so rewarding to know that our efforts are making a difference.

 

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)

 

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.

17Jul/15Off

Reel In & Recycle – Monofilament Recycling Program Event, July 26th

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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.

19Oct/14Off

Bridger Raptor Festival Raffle!

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

Be one of 2 winners of a 2014/2015 Bridger Bowl Season Pass (value of $699).  Sacajawea Audubon and Montana Audubon are raffling off two Bridger Bowl ski passes.  The proceeds support the Bridger Mountains Raptor Count, which features the largest known concentration of fall migrating Golden Eagles in the lower 48.

Raffle tickets are $10 each or 6 for $50.  The drawing will be held Nov. 10, 2014 at the Sacajawea Audubon monthly program, which begins at 7 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church.

To purchase a raffle ticket and help support this important research project in our own backyard, email: raptorraffle@sacajaweaaudubon.org.

4Aug/14Off

SAS Declares War on Burdock – Volunteers Needed!

A Chickadee killed by BurdockVolunteers needed to help in the "War on Burdock!"

Sacajawea Audubon is working in August to eradicate burdock from some of our favorite trails.  This nasty introduced plant has Velcro-like seed heads that entrap songbirds, slowly causing their deaths .  You may know burdock from brushing against it and getting the burs caught in your hair, your clothes, or your dog's fur.  Lucky for us this plant is a biennial and so it is possible to gain control of it without the use of chemicals.  If we can keep a stand of burdock from setting seed by clipping off the seed heads early, it will eventually die out.

Hard working, determined Sacajawea Audubon volunteers have been removing burdock from East Gallatin Recreation Area, the 'M' Trailhead, Drinking Horse Mountain Trail, Sourdough Trail, Gallagator Trail, and other areas around Bozeman. So far we have hauled out over 25 thirty gallon bags of nasty burs filled with seeds! Two new work days have been set. Join us if you can at any of these dates and locations:

Aug. 26th - Bozeman Fish Technology Center (drive in and park at the bottom of the hill)

Aug. 27th -  The "M" Trailhead (another patch has been found)

We will meet each morning at 7:30 am.  Bring pruning clippers if you have them and wear gloves, long sleeves and long pants, all of fabrics that burs won't adhere to.  Plan to work for an hour or two.  Whatever time you can afford.  With your help, we will win this war!

Contact Paulette Epple  at  bigskyepples@msn.com    or   580-6186  for more information.

 

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