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March 2017 Chirps and Squawks

Highlights from February 2017 Board Meeting

The February Board Meeting was cancelled due to the major snow storm. Two items were circulated via email for discussion after the cancellation.

  • What action if any should be taken to get the landfill reopened to birders?
  • To what extent should meeting notices for other non-profits be included in the Pileated Post?

Nongame Wildlife Tax Check-off

When filling out your Montana tax form this year, think “wildlife” by donating to the Nongame Wildlife Program, found on line 18a (short EZ form) or 69a (long form). If your taxes are prepared, tell your accountant that you want to donate to wildlife! Your contributions are tax deductible on next year’s return. Look for the soaring Bald Eagle in the instruction booklet. Montana has more than 500 species of “nongame” animals that benefit from public support each year at tax time. Since 1983, the check-off has contributed over $27,000 annually to this important wildlife program.

Nominations – Already!!

With one political race, another – more civil – election is soon upon us: that for the FAS Board! At the May potluck, FAS will elect a President, Vice President and some Director positions. It is time to start thinking about the people that you would like to see guide FAS for the near future. The person sitting next to you at the last meeting is a good choice, and the person sitting in your seat is also a good choice! If you know of someone who would be a good leader, please contact Bob Lee (270-0371 or RML3@centurytel.net); someone from the Nominations Committee will talk with them about roles and responsibilities and get them on the ballot. And anyone that would like to serve on the Nominations Committee should also contact Bob.

2017 Freezout Lake Annual Excursion

Despite the still wintry weather we’re having now, the Snow Geese and other waterfowl are beginning to move from their southern California wintering grounds to their arctic nesting areas. There is nothing like Snow Geese and the Rocky Mountains at the same time and place. The place is Freezout Lake near Choteau; the time is the annual Flathead Audubon field trip.

This year’s trip is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26. We will meet at the K-Mart parking lot on the corner of Highways 2 and 35 in Kalispell on Saturday, 25 March at 10 AM, and caravan/carpool over the Divide to Choteau, arriving in time for the afternoon “fly-out.” After a night in Choteau, we will head out just before daybreak to watch the “mass ascension” of geese from the ponds of Freezout WMA. After the morning’s birding, we, too, will head home in the early afternoon arriving in Kalispell around 5 PM on Sunday.

Bob Lee will provide a suggested schedule and route, and will be in the front of the group. Participants may choose to pursue the geese on their own as much or as little as they, the weather and the birds allow. Please make your own arrangements for lodging; primitive camping is available at Freezout Wildlife Management Area. Motel options include the Stage Stop (406-466-5900), Gunther (406-466-5444) and Big Sky (406-466-5318). For more information, contact Bob Lee at 270-0371 or RML3@centurytel.net.

Beauty of Birds Coming in April

It will be Wednesday evenings in April at Flathead High School. Watch for more details in the April Pileated Post or stay tuned here on the Flathead Audubon website.

Family Forestry Expo

The 28th annual Family Forestry Expo will take place at Stoltze Lumber’s Ron Buntemeyer Educational Forest located to the north of Kalispell along Trumbull Creek on Saturday, 6 May, from 9 AM — 3 PM. This is a free family event that offers hands-on understanding of the role that local forests play in our everyday lives. Expo visitors explore how the different parts of a forest are connected to make up a dynamic system, how people and all parts of the environment are dependent on one another, and how each affects the other.

There is a free “loggers lunch,” demonstrations, exhibits, and a forest walk with many educational stops, including one run by Flathead Audubon Society. FAS has maintained a booth at the Expo for many years and are always looking for volunteers to help engage visitors. If you enjoy being outdoors on a spring day while talking to people of all ages about forests, and especially birds, please contact Denny Olson, the FAS Conservation Educator, at auduboneducator@gmail.com. Or you can grab him at the general meeting. Whether you are a volunteer, participant or just want to enjoy a day in the woods, everyone is welcome to come on out on Saturday, 6 May.

Wings Across the Big Sky Coming June 9-11th in Great Falls

Come join us for Montana Audubon’s Annual Bird Festival, this year co-hosted by the Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon, June 9-11, 2017, at the Best Western Plus Heritage Inn in Great Falls. All festival activities will take place Friday through Sunday at the Heritage Inn, including registration, field trip departures, guest speaker presentations, meals, banquet festivities, our 40th Anniversary barbecue, and much more. The Heritage Inn is easily accessible from any exit to 10th Avenue South and provides easy access to all our birding activities and field trips.

Currently we have rooms blocked for festival-goers Friday and Saturday nights. Be sure to tell them you’re with the Montana Audubon Bird Festival group to get the special rate! If you’re planning to arrive early or late to take in the pre- and post-trips sponsored by the local chapter, the hotel will try to accommodate you at our contracted rate outside the block. We suggest you make your reservations soon by calling 406-761-1900 or 1-800-548-8256.

Our Festival Registration Brochure is scheduled to be mailed early March, with an online registration system active soon after. Use either system to register. The brochure is full of information on the festival events and all the field trips that will be available. If you are a volunteer or field trip leader with UMBA, be sure to get the special registration form  from Nora or Kay to fill out and mail in.

Here’s a Sneak Peak at Some of our Scheduled Events for the Festival:

  • Keynote speaker – David Ringer from National Audubon – “Protecting Birds and the Places they Need, Today and Tomorrow.”
  • Friday evening – Barbecue and celebration of Montana Audubon’s 40 years!
  • Saturday afternoon – Montana Audubon staff will present information about their programs and work to conserve birds and their habitats, and to educate all ages on the importance of our conservation efforts.
  • Saturday and Sunday mornings – Educational field trips in and around Great Falls.
  • Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon has decided that they are unable to manage a Silent Auction this year, so the only items for bid will be the custom tours arranged by Montana Audubon. There will be a BIG raffle this year plus our fun basket raffles.  Fun for All!
  • Stay tuned for more information on other special happenings at or around this festival event.

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