MacGillivray’s Warbler – Photo Credit: Dan Casey

Saturday, June 15th started with a beautiful morning of partly cloudy skies and ideal summer temperatures, resulting in a wonderful birding day for Flathead Audubon’s seventh annual Bird-a-thon.  Members of the two Birdathon teams, the Jays and the Tanagers, searched mostly close to home this year to see and hear as many species as possible in one day. The furthest excursion went as far as the Mission Valley; otherwise we stuck to favorite haunts in the Flathead such as Swan River Refuge, Smith Lake, Tally Lake, and Glacier National Park. 

It was a close competition this year, but the Jays pulled out a two-species victory over the Tanagers, 130-128 – click here to view the full species list on next page. Both teams had five birding teams with varying birding skills, from beginner to expert. The top team spent 18 hours covering about 200 miles.

But the day wasn’t just about being in the natural environment and searching for bird species. The goal was, also, to raise money for Flathead Audubon.

Flathead Audubon’s fund raising goal for the Birdathon was two-fold: to help pay the lease and expenses associated with managing the Owen Sowerwine Natural Area, and to continue our commitment to conservation education in the valley. OSNA is 442 acres of State Trust Land cooperatively managed by Flathead Audubon Society and Montana Audubon. It is Montana’s only designated Natural Area. The area preserves pristine riparian habitat that supports many species of wildlife. OSNA is open to the public, so go enjoy. For more information on the area, click here.

Flathead Audubon’s conservation education program centers around our conservation educator, Denny Olson. Money we raise will help fund his position so we can continue to educate the public at large, young people of all ages, and disadvantaged populations, about the beauty of birds and the importance of conserving our natural environment. This year he has entertained and taught school children of all ages about birds, nature and the importance of conservation, and has developed an outdoor classroom at OSNA to support and expand these efforts,.

Thank you to all who have supported the Flathead Audubon Birdathon, birders and funders alike.  It’s not too late to contribute to the Birdathon! Donations can be sent to Bruce Tannehill, 239 Deer Trail, Whitefish, MT 59937.