by Linda Winnie

The Accipiter Express, Vol 1, # 1, March 1977, was the first issue of Flathead Audubon’s newsletter — two sheets of yellow paper, typing on both sides, stapled together.

It’s fun to read. Topics include: March 1977 meeting Friday ”at the Bigfork Grade School Cafeteria (Small Log Building)”, 3 field trips (including a canoe trip), “bird course offered” at FVCC, ‘”booth in …B&B Variety Store to sell bird houses and feeders built by chapter members”, chapter builds “six Wood Duck boxes [to] be placed at Swan River NWR.”

To view the whole issue, go to; look under “Publications and Resource Links/Pileated Post” and click at the bottom for archived newsletters.

There you’ll find not only the first issue, but all issues published in the first 10 years of FAS newsletters. And watch for more. Our goal is to eventually have all of the Flathead Audubon newsletters posted on our website, March 1977 to present.

Looking through the older issues you’ll see some basic changes: the number of issues published in a year grows from 3 (in 1977) to the current 9, and the page color changes from yellow to white to various shades of pink or blue, then finally to the current cream. Note also that Elmer Sprunger’s iconic Pileated Woodpecker drawing doesn’t appear on the masthead until 1978, and only after that does the name change from The Accipiter Express to The Pileated Post (check the September 1979 issue to see why).

But spending some time reading them reveals more. The full 40-year series of FAS newsletters chronicles the history of Flathead Audubon itself, including the development of FAS involvement in OSNA, and the succession of FAS education projects that laid the ground for today’s Conservation Education Program.

It also offers windows into the beginnings of Montana Audubon and the history of conservation in the Flathead Valley.

We owe a big THANK YOU to the hard working and talented editors who produced this amazing series of newsletters. Their names and dates of service are listed below. We will be honoring these very special volunteers at our upcoming May potluck.

Flathead Audubon Newsletter Editors

  • Dan Sullivan   1977&78
  •  Steve Dagger 1978&79
  •  Marcy Bishop 1980
  •  Billie Firpo      1981
  •  Stan & Janet Bones 1982&83
  • Thea Darwall  1984 & 85
  • Leo Keane      1985-90
  • Sharon Bergman 1990-98
  • Leslie Kehoe   1998-2003
  • Karen Nichols  2003-04
  • Kay Mitchell  2003-14
  • Bob Lee        2004-05
  • Linda Winnie 2005-present
  • John Hughes 2013-present
  • Lewis Young 2015-present