Sacajawea Audubon
16Nov/16Off

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.


Ennis

Wednesday, December 14th

Compiler: Robin Wolcott (406) 581-5418

pajaros@wewolcotts.com  email preferred

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

Bozeman

Saturday, December 17th

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 18th

Compiler: Brad Barth (406) 640-2628

barth.brad@gmail.com

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

Livingston

Sunday, December 18th

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 18th

Compiler: Woody Martyn (406) 224-1476

woodymartyn@hotmail.com

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

 

Three Forks

Monday, December 26th

Compiler: Tom Forwood (406) 570-6432

tforwood@mt.gov  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

tforwood@mt.gov  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

12Nov/16Off

December 12th Program

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Conservation Easements:

The Work of the Montana Land Reliance

Monday December 12th, 2016 at 7pm
Hope Lutheran Church
2152 W. Graf Street in Bozeman

Conservation easements are one of the most powerful tools to accomplish habitat protection for birds and other wildlife. Join Sacajawea Audubon in welcoming Kathryn Kelly of The Montana Land Reliance and learn about the basic process and benefits of creating conservation easements, the work of The Montana Land Reliance (MLR), and projects that are protecting various habitats for raptors, sage grouse and other birds.

We’ll explore the many intersections between the missions and work of Sacajawea Audubon and The Montana Land Reliance and discuss ways in which we can work together to increase conservation and protect more bird habitat lands.

Sacajawea Audubon members have already had connections with MLR through field trips to the Woodson Ranch/Ruby Habitat Foundation in the Ruby Valley and the Granger Ranches in the Madison Valley; both MLR protected properties.

Kathryn Kelly is the Greater Yellowstone Manager with The Montana Land Reliance (MLR), Montana’s statewide land trust. She works with landowners to create conservation easements on private lands in the Greater Yellowstone region of Montana. Her additional duties include education and outreach

programs, building support for the organization and private land conservation, donor development and fundraising. Kathryn was raised on a ranch on the banks of the Gallatin River outside Bozeman. She lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for several years and is an alumni of the University of Alaska where she majored in biology. Kathryn had a successful career in real estate, title insurance, escrow administration, management, and teaching in California’s Bay Area before returning home to Montana. She’s been a longtime activist addressing the increasing development pressure in the Gallatin Valley, protecting the Gallatin River system and agricultural water rights. Before joining the Reliance in 2014, Kathryn was involved with MLR for many years as a supporter and education and outreach volunteer. She and her parents donated conservation easements on the family ranch to MLR in 2001 and 2007. The Kelly Ranch has been the site of two Sacajawea Audubon field trips in 2015 and 2016.

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Sacajawea Audubon meets every 2nd Monday of the month, September through May. Our meetings are held at Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 W. Graf (off of S. 19th). Come for the social, beginning at 6:30 p.m. A short chapter meeting starts at 7 p.m. with the program following after. Our programs are free and open to the public.
11Nov/16Off

2016 SAS Mountain Bluebird Trail Summary

Photo courtesy Lou Ann Harris

Photos courtesy Lou Ann Harris

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Sacajawea Audubon 2016 Bluebird Trail Summary

Overall, 2016 was a productive year for Mountain Bluebirds.  A total of 676 bluebirds fledged from nest boxes on our 6 monitored trails.  181 boxes were used out of 272 available.  The remainder were used by tree swallows and house wrens.

Because of a relatively mild spring, the bluebirds began laying eggs over a week earlier than usual.  Even a mid-May snowstorm didn’t slow them down.  The Rocky Mountain Road trail had it’s earliest-ever nestling, found on May 4th.

On the Pass Creek Rd./Rocky Mountain Rd. trails, we banded a total of 310 birds, 268 nestlings and 42 adult females.  We also recaptured 8 females, a couple of which had been banded as nestlings the previous year.  It’s nice to know they are coming back to nest in their natal area.

Predation of nests was up from previous years.  The Rocky Mountain Rd. trail had a total of 24 predated nests (up from 18 last year).  The Pass Creek trail had 34 nests predated (up from 32 last year).  The causes were varied: snakes, raccoons, weasels, kestrels & house sparrows.  In fact one box was found to have a complete house sparrow nest built on top of a dead female bluebird.

One of the most interesting events of the nesting season was an epic battle between a resident male bluebird (whose mate and nestlings had died), and another bluebird pair for the occupancy of Box 70 on Rocky Mountain Road.  The three birds were so engrossed in their fight that they were oblivious to our presence and even slammed into my car on two occasions.  In the end, the new pair won out and successfully raised six fledglings.  And we thought bluebirds were such gentle creatures!

We took a total of 22 people out on the bluebird trails this summer, including 10 on the June 12th field trip.  Everyone loves to see those little bluebird nestlings and hold one in their hands.

The bluebird nest box sponsorship program was a great success, and we plan to do it again for 2017.  Following is a complete report of the success (or failure) of each box, along with its sponsor.  Please click on the link below for the full report.

Lou Ann Harris

2016 SAS Bluebird Trail Report

24Sep/16Off

Explore Limestone Creek – Public Hike Oct. 23rd

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Filed under: Conservation No Comments
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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