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Welcome to Flathead Audubon

We strive to be your Northwest Montana Bird Headquarters. Feel free to return to this site many times for everything "Birdy."
Sandhill Cranes in field Photo Credit: Dick Walker

Meetings and Migrations

With crisper mornings, we once again say hello to birds that have spent the summer north of the 49th parallel. Birds that have spent the summer on their breeding grounds are heading back south before the snow flies. Make sure you are heading out to West Valley Ponds to view the Sandhill Cranes that are fueling up before continuing on their journeys. Random shorebirds, waterfowl and many others will make their appearances all throughout the valley.

Need some help on where to go? Check our our Birding Hotspots page as well as Josh Covill's monthly report!

Our monthly meetings are in full swing! Keep an eye out on our calendar of Activities and Events to find out what is happening.

The version 6.0 of "Bird Songs of Western Montana" has landed!

Bruce Tannehill has been hard at work updating the wonderful Bird Songs of Western Montana. Birds have local "dialects" so this is an invaluable resource for those working on birding by ear in our local habitats. You can pick one up here in our online shop!

Catch all of the Latest News here!!

New Bird Viewing Area Nearing Completion in Flathead Valley

By Franz Ingelfinger, Restoration EcologistMontana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Region 1 Ready for spring waterfowl?  No, not yet? Well, when winter’s chill yields to the cool, gray days of March, grab your spotting scope, thermos and extra layer, and head down to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ (FWP) North Shore Wildlife Management Area (WMA).  There you will find Flathead Valley’s newest bird viewing area. FWP calls them ‘wildlife’ viewing areas,...

In Pursuit of a Kingfisher

by Eugene Beckes  A small stream flows into the canal two miles from our place. At that confluence, it also happens that the canal makes a ninety degree turn. The result of the waters merging in this way is a deeper and wider section of the canal; in fact, locals know it as a fairly good place to catch trout now and then. One of those locals is a female...

Conservation Educator’s Niche – November 2019

by Denny Olson Invasive plant species have been described as a slow-motion nuclear bomb going off. While this sounds like hyperbole, we have to remember that the this “bomb” can affect entire bioregions, and invasives can reduce tree cover, cause increased erosion and reduce water quality, increase fire risk, have noxious effects on humans and other animals, and even chemically inhibit the growth of native plants. But the greatest effects...

Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink

National Audubon Society 2019 Climate Report by Lewis Young, Conservation Committee In 2014, National Audubon Society published a report documenting the effects of climate change on birds. This 2019 report revisits the same subject. It utilizes peer-reviewed data to look at the vulnerability of birds across North America to climate change based on a new, updated scientific analysis.  One of the key findings of the report was that 64% of...

Gray Partridge

Hurrah for the Humble Hun by Ben Long There is an idea among birders of a “spark bird,” that is the species of bird that sparked a person’s greater interest in birds and, thus, the natural world. For me, the spark bird was a humble little buff-colored, pear-shaped partridge that we called a “hun,” but is more properly the Gray Partridge. When I was a kid, we had a rough...

Decline of the North American Avifauna

a September 2019 publication in Science Magazine by Carole Jorgensen, Conservation Committee A paper was recently published in peer-reviewed Science magazine by experienced and reputable authors. Decline of the North American Avifauna by Rosenberg et al. 2019  is available on FAS website at: https://www.flatheadaudubon.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Rosenberg-et-al-Science-Sept-2019.pdf. The short four pages of text (plus many more pages of citations, tables, and supporting evidence) identified a 29 percent decline in North American birds since...

November 2019 Chirps and Squawks

Highlights from the October 7th Board Meeting Cory Davis is working to complete a list of the FAS Committees with an explanation of what they do and how FAS members can volunteer to help.The people who organized the Birds of Prey Festival held a debriefing session and made a list of changes, improvements, and suggestions for next year. They identified a need for more volunteers to help, so plan to...

Flathead Valley Bird Report – November 2019

by Joshua Covill Rare and Notables - October 2019 10/4 - Harris’s Sparrow along Riverside Road in Creston (Craig H.) 10/4 - Boreal Chickadee in flock of other chickadees near Upper Whitefish Lake (Joshua C.) 10/8 - 2 Surf Scoters on Lake McDonald in Glacier NP - seen from road and from Apgar (Matthew S.) 10/8 - 2 Mew Gulls roosting on the docks of the Lakeside Marina with other...

November 2019 Program

Saving ‘Alae ‘Ula, Hawai’i’s Endangered Swamp Chicken presented by Dr. Charles van Rees Dr. Charles van Rees, a naturalist and conservation biologist at the Flathead Lake Biological Station will be the guest speaker at the Flathead Audubon meeting  Monday, November 11 from 7-9 PM in the Gateway West Community Meeting Room in Kalispell. ‘Alae ‘Ula, or the Hawaiian Gallinule, is an endangered subspecies of water bird endemic to the Hawaiian...

When It’s Okay (or Not) to Feed Birds

adapted from National Audubon Whether we identify as birders or photographers or both, we are always looking for ways to get closer to birds, or to bring them closer to us. Offering food is an easy way to do that. But knowing what kind of food is okay to supply, and when, and where, can be confusing. So how do we make sense of it all? For guidance, ask yourself...

Conservation Educator’s Niche – October 2019

By Denny Olson We are social animals, and our ‘kind’ – the pack (or village) animals (wolves, chimpanzees, gorillas, orcas, etc.) -- are almost desperate to know where they fit in their social environment. Of course, social animals receive conformity messages from the pack or herd or club. But in most cases, there is still a specific (and appreciated) niche that individuals fill. The balance between conformity to social rules...

Birds of Prey Festival Report

by Denny Olson On September 14th, our crew did it again! The weather was great, as always, Lone Pine staff had the venue set, and from the time I led 12 rookie birders on a how-to-use-binoculars-and-spot-birds-field trip at 7:30 AM until our 1 PM closing, another 800 citizens had walked into our venue and learned, learned, learned!  Special thanks go out to our presenters – Park Ranger Derrick, Montana Bird...