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March 2018 Chirps and Squawks

Highlights from February 5, 2018 Board Meeting

  • A Grants Committee has been formed with Rod Wallette, Mike Fanning, Gail Linne and Gael Bissell as members.
  • A letter was sent to our Congressional members in support of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
  • The education bird trunks have been relocated to Lone Pine State Park.
  • The keynote speaker at the Montana Audubon Bird Festival in Kalispell is Stuart Strahl of Illinois Chicago Brookfield Zoo.  He is the chair of the board of Vital Ground.

THANK YOU Lone Pine State Park and Northwest Montana Educational Cooperative

Flathead Audubon wishes to recognize and thank Lone Pine State Park Manager Brian Schwartz and his crew Derrick, Brenna, Tom and Julianna for supporting FAS. Besides being fantastic partners for the Birds of Prey Festival each year, the group recently offered to house, check-out and return our FAS Educational Trunks. Derrick will be the Lone Pine contact person for future trunk exchanges and can be contacted at 755-2706, ext. 2.

We also owe a great debt of gratitude to Eliza, Karla and Beth at the Northwest Montana Educational Cooperative for housing the trunks for so many years. The Co-op is moving to quarters at the Gateway West Mall and will need the smaller space available there to house their equipment and supplies.

Thanks to each of these people and their organizations for partnering with Flathead Audubon for our community education programs!\

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.

Wings Across the Big Sky

June 8-10, 2018 – Kalispell, Montana – Red Lion Hotel

During the winter months, many birders find themselves dreaming of long summer days chasing our feathered friends across beautiful Montana landscapes. Remember, it’s not too early to begin planning your summer birding adventures! Come join us in Kalispell for Montana Audubon’s 19th Annual Bird Festival, this year co-hosted by Flathead Audubon.

We have over 20 field trips planned! — guided by knowledgeable birders and naturalists familiar with the species and their habitats in the Flathead area. Here are a few locations:

  • Swan River Nature Trail – Birds and Native Plants
  • Glacier National Park – East to West
  • Flathead Lake Biological Station & Boat Ride
  • Flathead River to Lake Birding

Keep watch in early March:  Festival Registration Brochures with all field trip information, speakers and schedules will be in the mail, and the online system for registration will be active.

For more information please contact Montana Audubon Bird Festival Coordinator, Cathie Erickson, cerickson@mtaudubon.org, or call (406) 443-3949.

MONTANA NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY. Wednesday, March 21.  7 PM. 

Grass Identification Workshop.  Glacier National Park botanist Jen Asebrook will help us learn our grasses.  Bring a hand lens and plant keys, if you have them.  North Valley Community Hall (also North Valley Physical Therapy), 235 Nucleus Ave., Columbia Falls. Join the Flathead Chapter board/planning meeting at 5:30 PM before the program.


March 24-25, 2018. The Snow Geese are moving from their California wintering grounds to their arctic nesting areas along with thousands of other waterfowl.  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. We will meet on Saturday morning at 10 AM, caravan/carpool to Choteau and arrive in time for the afternoon “fly-out.”  After spending a night in Choteau, we will head back out just before daybreak to watch the “mass ascension” of geese from the ponds of Freezout. 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 WMA.  Motel options include the Stage Stop (406-466-5900), Gunther (406-466-5444) and Big Sky (406-466-5318).  Make your reservations early as these hotels will likely fill up. For more information, including the meeting location, contact Bob Lee at 270-0371 or RML3@centurytel.net.

2018 Beauty of Birds – Community Adult Education Class

Flathead Audubon is carrying on a highly anticipated tradition – the April “Beauty of Birds” class. Learn about the amazing world of bird beauty, topography, sight and sound identification, habitat, the physics of bird songs, bird intelligence, the physics of flight, fascinating behaviors, hawks, eagles and owls (with live birds!) — all through a series of four Wednesday evening (6 – 8 PM) workshops and a field trip. Cost is only $10 per person. Class size is limited, so join us soon! To register, call:  Debbie Newman, Flathead High School Administrative Assistant


Contact auduboneducator@gmail.com for more information.

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