by Amy Seaman, Conservation Program Manager

Just March lay between us and many of our favorite birds returning to Montana, including Long-Billed Curlews. Hard to believe! 

Montana Audubon’s bird conservation efforts this month focused on meetings and planning, the necessary groundwork for a successful spring and summer. Montana Wildlife Federation’s Nick Gevock and I led a communications workshop titled “Effective Advocacy for Conservation – Communication and Lobbying for Wildlife” at the annual MT Wildlife Society meeting in Butte, and had over 60 people in attendance.

We helped many area biologists take the first steps to being successful wildlife advocates, and attendees committed to raising their voice. We even got participants excited about reading Montana’s constitution, our ticket to maintaining a “clean and healthful environment”. There, I also presented on our Black Swift citizen science work alongside of Chris Hammond (FWP Region 2) and Lisa Bate (Glacier National Park).

Larry, Janet, and I all attended the Montana Bird Conservation Partnership meeting in early February to discuss the state of grassland bird conservation in Montana and it became clear to me that the work we do in the Mission Valley fills an important niche. In March, I will be focused on volunteer outreach and planning, including preparing for the upcoming curlew surveys, and scheduling our summer’s surveys. We are going to explore more options for electronic data collection this year, and so I am experimenting with that as well.

Finally, we plan to collaborate with a Montana Conservation Corp member to update Important Bird Area maps for our website.

Upcoming projects and events of interest:

  • I am recruiting Black Swift survey volunteers for training at Holland Lake (July 18th and 19th) and in Glacier National Park (July 17th) – Volunteers for Black Swift surveys must be physically fit with back-country travel experience, experience in bear country, and the willingness to travel in rugged terrain at night.
  • I presented alongside of Wenfei Teng of the Avian Science Center at the Ninepipes Lodge on March 28th. It was a happy-hour and evening talk event from 6PM -8:30PM.
  • I am recruiting volunteers that are interested in searching for Rosy-Finches, Chimney Swifts (in eastern Montana), and Short-eared Owl (along the highline).
  • May 17th is the date of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Birds and Bears Festival at SKC College.