by Shannon Donaldson 

The 25th annual Kalispell CBC will take place on New Year’s Eve, Sunday, December 31. The Kalispell count area is a large circle, 15 miles in diameter, centered at the junction of Highway 93 and West Reserve Drive by Home Depot. From Happy Valley to the north and Herron Park to the south, Fairview Marsh to the east and McMannamy Draw to the west, the Kalispell CBC covers a wide variety of habitats. It includes the Flathead River corridor between Pressentine and Foys Bend, the Whitefish River downstream from Hodgson Road, and the Stillwater River downstream of Ray Kuhns Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Favorite birding spots like Lone Pine State Park, Foys Lake, Owen Sowerwine, McWenneger Slough, Kuhns WMA, the “Flathead Gull Sanctuary” (Flathead County Landfill), and much of West Valley lie within the boundary as well. 

Everyone is welcome to join the CBC effort, whether it’s out in the field or counting backyard feeder birds. With many birds being concentrated at feeders this time of year, feeder data is valuable and easy to collect. If you reside in the count area and would enjoy collecting feeder data, we’re happy to get more feeder watchers signed up. If you would be able to lead, we are seeking at least one experienced birder to cover a section this year. If anyone observes an unusual or rare bird during count week, December 28-January 3, please let us know. Shannon and Bridger Donaldson will organize and compile this year and we’ll be contacting everyone who covered sections last year to get your packet to you. We are happy to carry on the tradition of gathering for breakfast on count day. Meet at 7am at 4B’s Restaurant, 660 E. Idaho St. in Kalispell (formerly Finnegan’s).

Christmas Bird Count, first held on Christmas Day in 1900, is now the largest citizen science project in the world, running from December 14 through January 5 each year. Over the past 24 years, the Kalispell count has produced a total of 132 species. 72 species is the average while 83 was the maximum count in 2012. Let’s see if we can break that record this year! 

Sign up at the FAS general meeting on December 11, or contact Shannon at or 406-261-3466.