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Archive | Activities and Field Trips

SPRING ARRIVALS IN THE SMITH LAKE AREA

Join us for a spring morning of birding west of Kalispell. We’ll drive Smith Lake Road looking for recently arrived sparrows, orioles, warblers, and other breeding migrants and then make our way to Smith Lake to look for waterfowl and wetland species. We should have a good diversity of habitats and species! Bring binocs and scopes and appropriate weather gear. To RSVP contact Cory Davis at 406-471-3314, or piranga99@gmail.com. Limited to 20 people. Meeting place will be confirmed once you have contacted Cory and reserved your space.

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WATERFOWL AT THE WEST VALLEY PONDS

Join us as we visit several ponds in the West Valley area during waterfowl migration. We should see many of the Valley’s waterfowl and shorebirds. Be prepared for any kind of weather, including footwear for walking on muddy roads. Depending on road conditions, we may need to walk a short distance (<1/4 mile) to viewing areas. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one.  Limited to 25 people. Meeting place information will be confirmed when you contact Cory Davis.

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MONTANA BIRD LADY, KARI GABRIEL RAPTOR PROGRAM

Kari Gabriel will be the guest speaker at the Monday, February 12 meeting at 7 pm at the Gateway Community Center.

Kari Gabriel has been working as a raptor educator, trainer and rehabilitator since 1991, following a life-long dream of working hands-on with animals. She got her start working with bald eagles at the Alaska Raptor Center, in Sitka, Alaska, and traveled North America with an in imprinted Bald Eagle, named Buddy, until relocating to Kalispell in 1997.

In 2015, Kari obtained her own federal permits to do raptor education programming, and founded “Montana Bird Lady,” a raptor education and conservation organization. She has trained three permanently disabled raptors as education ambassadors, and is also permitted for raptor rehabilitation through the FWP’s Montana WILD education & rehabilitation facility in Helena.

She has a male Prairie Falcon named “Jack,” a female Rough-Legged Hawk named “Hawkeye,” and a female Northern Saw-whet owl named “Tink,” on her state and federal permits. Gabriel uses live raptors to provide education and wildlife art programming to schools and the public, to instill a sense of respect and admiration for raptors, and to promote raptor conservation and habitat preservation. Her work is mostly self-funded, and supplemented with program fees and private donations.

Kari supports her “raptor habit,” by working in marketing and communications for Professional Therapy Associates, and as a 4th term city councilor for the city of Kalispell.

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WINTER/SPRING ECOLOGY OF THE OWEN SOWERWINE NATURAL AREA

 Come with us for a magical mystery tour of one of the most unique areas in the Flathead Valley on Saturday, March 31, 2018 from 9AM-3PM.  Our guide will be Brian Baxter, forester and wildlife researcher, who has taught outdoor educational programs for over 16 years. We’ll begin with a 1-hour classroom session to view and discuss the slide presentation “The Essence of Animal Tracking.” Then we’ll walk into Owen Sowerwine to visit its wetlands, and study the wildlife, vegetation, and predator/prey relationships that give this area its special flavor. As we quietly enter along the southern trails, we will search for and identify the track patterns and sign of the weasel family, muskrat, beaver, and water loving birds such as Great Blue Heron and American Dipper. All the while, we will scope for birds of prey, waterfowl, woodpeckers, and songbirds. Come prepared for the day, with proper layers, lunch, water, binoculars, spotting scope, bird books, and waterproof boots or snowshoes as conditions require. Trip is limited to 15 participants. To sign up and get the meeting location contact Brian Baxter at b_baxter53@yahoo.com or 406-291-2154. 

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FIFTH ANNUAL GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT

EXPLORING THE BIGFORK AND SWAN RIVER AREA on Sunday, FEB. 18, 2018, 10AM-1PM. Join us for an exciting morning of birding and learning about our winter avian residents of this area. We will be visiting local feeders to ID and count our wintering songbirds including 3 different species of Chickadees and Golden-crowned Kinglets, as well as many other feeder surprises. Exploring the River corridor and surrounding fields by car, we hope to see Trumpeter Swans, Bald Eagles and perhaps resident Pygmy Owls. This is an excellent outing for families with children, as well as bird lovers of all ages. Minimal walking to some view areas. Dress warm, bring binoculars and/or spotting scopes. Contact Kathy Ross for information about meeting place and to sign up, 406-837-3837, or mtkat67@gmail.com. Limited to 15 participants. 

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NATIONAL WINTER TRAILS DAY: WINTER BIRDS AND TRACKS IN OWEN SOWERWINE NATURAL AREA,

 Join FAS Conservation Educator and long-time teaching naturalist Denny Olson on a winter hike of all the OSNA trails. Winter birds, bird songs, tracking, botanizing, and seat-of-the-pants interpretation will be the unstructured itinerary. This is one of the best spots in the area to see Pileated and other woodpeckers, many kinds of chickadees, Bohemian and Cedar waxwings in flocks of thousands, Pine Grosbeaks, Townsend’s Solitaires — and there’s always an unexpected bird. Not just ID, but lots of natural history lore, which is Denny’s trademark. Dress warm, bring binoculars and snow boots, and check with us on the need for snowshoes if the snow is deep. We have binoculars and field guides if you need them. Call Denny at 249-3987, or contact at auduboneducator@gmail.com to register and get directions.

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