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

Our monthly meetings are back up and running.

Whether or not you're a member of Flathead Audubon, come join us for our monthly meetings on the second Monday of every month from September through May. Hear wonderful presentations, learn new info, and see what we are up to. Check the Activities and Field Trips page for the latest on our meetings, field trips, and other events.

The Christmas Bird Count is coming!

Stay tuned on our website for information on the Christmas Bird Counts in the Flathead Valley and surrounding areas. Join us for our December meeting where we'll discuss what the count is, some tips for doing it and how you can participate whether you're a seasoned birder or a birder-wannabe!

Have you put up a clever solution for feeding birds?

We're always on the lookout for new and clever ways to feed our birds. If you have something to share, head over to our Feeder Ideas page and submit! Submissions may be featured in future FAS presentations and newsletters.

Special thanks to Whitefish Credit Union!

Flathead Audubon is proud to announce Whitefish Credit Union as a sponsor for the 2018 Birds of Prey Festival. Join us at our Birds of Prey Festival this September 15th for face painting, raptor presentations, Hawk Watch training and more! Also make sure to thank Whitefish Credit Union next time you swing into one of their branches across the Flathead Valley.

It's time to renew

Our wonderful educational programs and conservation efforts are funded by your memberships. Now is the time to head on over to our Join/Donate page and renew your membership or join us for the first time!

The new 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!!

Conservation Educator’s Niche – November 2018

by Denny Olson Probably the most photographed education activity – maybe the most photographed thing in the entire history of Flathead Audubon – is a little kid in our old standby felt bird costume. It’s pretty cute, especially if it’s your own child, and the “littles” walk away with a good concept of what makes a bird a bird. Beaks, feet, wings, tail, body down, primaries, secondaries, crests – they...

West Valley Naturalists and the West Valley Native Plant Gardens Update

by Linda de Kort Six years ago FAS partnered with USFS for a “more kids in the woods” grant. Thanks especially to the genius and perseverance of Teresa Wenum at USFS three rural schools were able to educate students and staff about the value of native plants. Moreover grant money was provided so that students could research and then plant native flowering herbaceous and woody plants on the school grounds....

Improvements at Owen Sowerwine

On Saturday, 29 September, 15 FAS members got together in wonderful weather for the annual Owen Sowerwine Workday. Tasks included the traditional mowing of the main trail and pulling weeds. Additional tasks were to finish the bridge from the Montessori School to the north end of Owen Sowerwine and to install interpretive signs at the entrances concerning weed control. Despite the presence of a young female grizzly bear, the work...

Education Committee News – November 2018

by Gail Shay Linne, Education Chair We have had a productive September. Two meetings were held during which we outlined ways to bring educational programs to students and the community. We are considering several grants; funds would help us incorporate climate, conservation, ecology, the value of birds and to add thumb drives of the trunks’ contents. We are exploring ways to involve high school students from Community School and the...


by John Hughes Gadwalls (Mareca strepera) are medium sized dabbling ducks. Males are 19-22 inches in length with females being slightly smaller at 18-20 inches. Most people can pick out a male Gadwall fairly easily in a mixed flock of ducks. When asked to describe a Gadwall, what you most often hear is the gray duck with a black rump. While this is a good description of a male Gadwall...

November 2018 Program

Studying Bird Populations in Streamside Habitats Over 40 Years presented by Dave Manuwal Dr. Dave Manuwal, who has studied birds in the western US for over 60 years, will be the featured speaker at the Monday, November 12 meeting of the Flathead Audubon Society at 7PM in the Gateway Community Room in Kalispell. He received his undergraduate degree from Purdue University and a Master’s degree working with Dick Taber at...

Lower Lost Prairie Road Bluebird Trail

by Mitch Linne, and Gail Linne In late March, 2018 I took the initial steps toward establishing a bluebird trail at Lost Prairie, west of Marion, Montana. I built seven bluebird-specific boxes from a design provided by Dennis Olson. The original design came from Marty Fregerio. The houses were mounted on existing posts along the Lower Lost Prairie road which runs basically north - south. I attempted to orient each...

New West Valley Bird Viewing Area is Open!

About 150 people gathered Saturday evening, October 6, to celebrate the completion of Flathead Land Trust’s West Valley Wetlands Conservation Project, and the Grand Opening of the Project’s new West Valley Bird Viewing Area. The Project has placed conservation easements on 400 acres in the West Valley Ponds Complex, which is a critical staging area for migrating Sandhill Cranes. Each fall hundreds of Sandhill Cranes gather here to prepare for...

Access to Owen Sowerwine Natural Area Is Now Year-round

by Denny Olson, Conservation Educator In years past, there has been a conundrum regarding the field trip access to OSNA. The best birding is always in May and June, and that’s when flooding keeps everyone except the ducks, frogs and fish out. When combined with the parking access limited to about 2 cars, school field trips have been nearly impossible in the spring. No more! Civic-minded Terry Welder and his...

Conservation Educator’s Niche – October 2018

by Denny Olson Well, it appears that the Birds of Prey Festival is getting to be a “thing”. It’s an odd colloquialism, because I always thought that things were, well, things. But, as I understand it, the modern meaning has an implied “significant” adjective before the word itself. (Don’t get me started on the erosion of literacy in favor of sound-bites.) This year, our number of participants at the Festival...

October 2018 Chirps and Squawks

The September 4 board meeting was held on Bob Lopp’s deck. Kathy Ross, Bob Lee, Mike Fanning, Bob Lopp, Gail Linne, and Gael Bissell were all approved for one year terms. Sadly, Barb Summer has resigned from the board but will continue to be involved. Currently Flathead Audubon has about 400 members.  The upcoming Birds of Prey Festival and Hawk Watch training were discussed. Flathead Audubon received a $500 grant...

Laura Katzman Flathead – Flathead Land Trust – receives Conservation Achievement Recognition

by Gael Bissell For years, I have been hearing from birders about the West Valley ponds, located about five miles northwest of Kalispell, which consist of a variety of pothole wetlands that support an amazing diversity of shorebirds, waterfowl, and other bird species. Thirty years ago, they were identified as potential mitigation wetlands for Kerr Dam. A decade ago, people started reporting and photographing hundreds of Sandhill Cranes congregating in...