by Bruce Tannehill

Steller’s Jay – Photo Credit: US Fish & Wildlife Service

On June 3, Flathead Audubon members participated in their fifth fundraising Birdathon, with two teams attempting to identify as many bird species as possible on a single day. Participants pursued pledges for one of the teams by phone and in person.  Thanks to the generosity of Flathead Audubon members, friends and family, the 2017 Birdathon raised over $3,661.

June 3rd began before sunrise for anxious birders and developed into the most productive day for the competing Birdathon teams since its inception.  Both teams topped their previous records with the Tannehill Tanagers racking up 171 species, and John’s Jays identified 191.  The winning tally is now Tanagers 3 and Jays 2, after this year’s second consecutive win for the Jays.

Members of each team searched from east of the Rocky Mountain Front and Glacier National Park to the Bison Range and Ninepipe Wildlife Management Area, along with the Eureka valley, Smith Lake and local birding hot spots for riparian, alpine, plains and city species.  The high counts on each time were due to diligence, good weather and searching further afield.   Both teams met at the end of the day, excitedly exchanging stories.

But the day was about more than having a good time. It was about raising money to continue Flathead Audubon’s commitment to conservation education in the valley as well as help pay the lease and expenses associated with the Owen Sowerwine Natural Area.

We owe a special thanks to our feathered friends for allowing us to see and hear them on June 3.    Another special thanks to all participants and donors for a memorable day in the great outdoors and for supporting Flathead Audubon’s conservation goals.

**Bird lists are available below as downloadable PDFs

2017 Birdathon – Jays Bird list

2017 Birdathon – Tannehill’s Tanager Bird list