2016 Christmas Bird Counts
On Saturday 17 December, Bozeman conducted its Christmas Bird Count. It was cold, with a temperature range of -27 to -5; the good news was that it was a sunny and calm day. 32 people took part in the count, with another 8 feeder watchers.
Amazingly after 78 CBC’s in Bozeman, three new species were added to the cumulative species total. New to the count this year were Northern Shoveler, Eared Grebe, and Long-eared Owl. Other notable birds were Lesser Scaup seen for only the fifth time and American Coot seen for the seventh time. During count week Virginia Rail and Pacific Wren were seen, which have only been seen on count day once and twice, respectively. The big miss of the count was Brown Creeper, which could be chalked-up to everyone keeping their ears warm.
New high counts included Ruffed Grouse-10, Red-tailed Hawk-81, Northern Pygmy Owl-2, Black-billed Magpie-1184, Common Raven-194, and Bohemian Waxwing-5578.
The Ennis Christmas Bird Count took place on December 14th. The conditions for the Ennis count were considerably milder then the Bozeman count, with temperatures ranging from 6 to 25 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. 21 people participated on the count, plus 3 feeder watchers.
The 54 species seen on the count was somewhat lower than has been seen in recent years. We had new high counts for Canada Goose-2050, Great Blue Heron-5, Eurasian Collard-Dove-159 and 2 Mourning Doves which tied a previous record. This was the fifth sighting of Rusty Blackbird and Virginia Rail. Five goldeneyes remained undifferentiated. Mallard, Common Goldeneye, Bald Eagle, Black-billed Magpie, Black-capped Chickadee and House Sparrow are the only species that have been observed on all 57 counts.
20 people spotted 56 species and over 15,000 individual birds on the Three Forks count, during a day with temperatures ranging from -8 to 28 degrees.
Two species, Cackling Goose and Hooded Merganser, were seen for the first time on the Ennis count. Remarkably, new high counts were achieved for 15 species of birds on the count. Some of the notable new high counts were Northern Harrier-22, Rough-legged Hawk-86, and Canyon Wren-5. It was only the sixth time Short-eared Owls have been observed on the Three Forks count.
Central Park Pond Waterfowl
Field Trip - March 18
Leader: Mike Vivion
Join us on these short field trips to the Central Park Pond (just west of Belgrade) for some great views of waterfowl in their pristine breeding plumage. We’ll see several species of waterfowl, including Mallard (of course), Goldeneye (with luck, both species), Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, and several other species, as well as both Trumpeter and Tundra Swans and Canada Geese. If you want to sharpen your waterfowl ID skills, this is a great opportunity to see lots of species in breeding plumage.
For the March 18 trip, meet at Museum of the Rockies at 8:30 AM to car pool, or if you live on the west side of town or Belgrade, meet us at Four Corners at 8:45 AM. Approximately four hours maximum. 12 person limit Please contact Mike to reserve a spot.
The snow may still be lying deep in Gallatin Valley, but spring will be making an appearance before we know it. It will soon be time for our first Madison Valley IBA survey, this time on a Wednesday, March 8th. Raptors should be out in abundance and depending on the what the weather brings in the next three weeks, it will be interesting to see what early migrants are back in the valley. Hope you can join us for a morning out counting birds in the Madison Valley.
If you can help, email Paulette at email@example.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.
A sure cure for spring fever is lots of early spring birds! The primary focus of this trip will be the migrating waterfowl at Ennis Lake. At this time of year the ducks will be at their dazzling best in full breeding plumage, and usually in great abundance. Along with the waterfowl, this trip will provide a good opportunity for finding other early migrants such as Sandhill Cranes, Tree Swallows, and Mountain Bluebirds. It is spring in Montana so be sure to be prepared for the weather, with plenty of warm layers of clothing for a day out in the elements. We will return to the museum mid afternoon, so bring a lunch and snacks. This trip will meet at the Museum of the Rockies parking lot at 8 AM Saturday April 1st. After arranging for carpooling, we will head for Ennis Lake at 8:15. There is a 15 person limit for the trip, so sign up early. Contact Vic Fesolowitz at 539-8251 to reserve a spot.
Animal Alert - Cutting-Edge Research
Speaker: Erick Greene
Our season of monthly programs continues on April 10th with a fascinating look at the warning system that birds use to alert other birds and animals to danger. UM Biology Professor Erick Greene will present a program on his research about how birds and mammals share information about predators.
Birds are exceptionally good at detecting predators, and they have a variety of important alarm calls that they produce to warn others. These alarm calls can convey very specific information (e.g. “snake,” “perched raptor,” “flying raptor,” “coyote”). Many species of birds and mammals understand the alarm signals of others. Together, all the watching eyes and ears in the forest form a complex communication network that acts as a distant early warning system about predators. This talk will share some of the latest results of cutting-edge research about how birds and mammals share information about predators.
Erick Greene is a professor in the Division of Biological Sciences and in the Wildlife Biology Program. He grew up in Quebec, Canada, with twin passions for music and nature. Erick dropped out of high school and lived for a year in the Galapagos Islands, helping out on studies on Darwin’s Finches. He worked on Ospreys in Nova Scotia for an undergraduate senior thesis. He then received a PhD from Princeton University. Erick has been able to combine his interests in music and biology by studying how animals use sounds to communicate with each other. He has also been able to come full circle and return to studying Ospreys in Montana. He has received numerous awards for teaching and conservation.
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.
Wildlife and Their Wild Land Homes Around the World
Speaker: Tom Murphy
Monday February 13th, 2016 at 7pm
Hope Lutheran Church
2152 W. Graf Street in Bozeman
Wildlife, especially the particularly sensitive birds, can not live without healthy secure wild land. Protecting and conserving wild land habitat is the first requirement for the continued survival of all creatures. SAS welcomes Tom Murphy for a presentation and slide show of his wild land and wildlife photography from around the world over the last 30 years showing the beauty and truth of our wild earth.
Tom Murphy was raised on a 7500 acre cattle ranch in western South Dakota and graduated with honors from Montana State University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Anthropology.
Tom’s interest in photography began in 1972 and in 1978 he established a professional career in photography when he moved to Livingston, Montana and built a studio there. Through Wilderness Photography Expeditions, which he established in 1986, Tom built an internationally respected photography seminar series teaching natural history photography primarily in Yellowstone Park. His photographs have been used, both editorially and commercially, in numerous regional, national, and international publications including Life, Architectural Digest, National Geographic, Audubon, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Esquire and others. He was Cameron Diaz’s guide in Yellowstone for an MTV project and for Martha Stewart for her television show. He photographed for Meredith Brokaw’s cookbook, Big Sky Cooking.
His first book Silence and Solitude: Yellowstone’s Winter Wilderness won a 2002 Montana Book Award, and the accompanying video, produced by Montana PBS, earned an Emmy nomination. In July 2010, he completed a set of books named The Seasons of Yellowstone that includes four volumes: The Light of Spring, The Abundance of Summer , The Comfort of Autumn, and The Spirit of Winter (Crystal Creek Press). He is featured in “Landscape Photography: American Master Photographers on Their Art” published July 2015.
PBS Nature’s show “Christmas in Yellowstone”, airs nationally and internationally and features Tom’s winter photography and some of his backcountry skiing stories.
Tom’s latest film “The Four Seasons of Yellowstone” will be aired on PBS March 13th, 2017.
Legislation has again been introduced to transfer ownership of national public lands to Montana. Montana Audubon Society is one of the organizations opposing this legislation. A "Keep it Public" rally has been scheduled for January 30th at noon in Helena at the Capitol Rotunda. Go to http://mtgreatoutdoors.org for more information about the rally or to complete the online petition against the transfer of these lands.
"The guided hike will be lead by Assistant Park Manager Tom Forwood for those who are new to bird identification. The hike will leave at 9:30am and will go for approximately 3 hours. Guests are welcome to download the E-bird app for their phones so that they can record they species they see on the walk! Also as a reminder, the cave is not open until May and the gate to the top visitors center is currently closed, but guests are welcome to stay following the hike to wander about the trails and look for birds themselves."
**NOTE: WE ARE NOT MEETING AT HOPE LUTHERAN CHURCH FOR THIS PROGRAM**
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Sacajawea Audubon presents a special evening with wildlife cinematographer Bob Landis.
The next book group meeting will be March 9, 2017. The discussion will be about Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds by Trevor Herriot, an award winning author who lives in Regina, Saskatchewan. One commentator describes the book: “As beautifully rendered as the land it celebrates. The writing, the illustrations [drawn by the author], and the design all rise to the level or art.”
Book group meetings go from 5:30-6:45 PM at Hope Lutheran Church. If you are new to the book group and plan to attend for the first time, please contact Adele Pittendrigh so you can be added to the mailing list. firstname.lastname@example.org