Highlights from January 2, 2018 Board Meeting

  • Because FAS made only about $4,000 from the 2018 calendar sales we will not produce another phenology calendar next year.
  • FAS plans to apply for inclusion in the Great Fish Challenge sponsored by the Whitefish Community Foundation.
  • No Birdathon is planned for this year because FAS is hosting the Montana Audubon Bird Festival in June.
  • Bruce Tannehill reviewed the FAS books from the past year and found everything to be in good order.


Wings Across the Big Sky

June 8-10, 2018

Kalispell, Montana

Red Lion Hotel

Montana Audubon’s 19th annual Wings Across the Big Sky bird festival is coming to Kalispell in June 2018! Our longstanding community event draws birders and wildlife enthusiasts from around the state and beyond, to celebrate Montana’s birds and the landscapes they inhabit. The festival is co-sponsored by the Flathead Audubon Society.

Visit the Montana Audubon website for festival updates: mtaudubon.org

  • Field trips to Glacier and other breathtaking areas in the Flathead region
  • Silent Auction: bid on a private tour to an amazing Montana destination
  • Birding & conservation Presentations
  • Evening Banquet, Dessert Auction and More

Bird Collisions with Windows

Bird collisions with windows continue to be a major source of mortality for our feathered friends especially near feeders. A variety of methods exist to prevent or reduce collisions and American Bird Conservancy has good information on how to make windows more bird friendly on their website (https://abcbirds.org/program/glass-collisions/bird-friendly-window-solutions/).

A method new to me but apparently well documented in other areas is the use of hanging pieces of dark parachute chord spaced about 3.5 to 4.25 inches apart. A commercial product called AcopianBirdSavers utilizes this method but also provides directions on how to make your own  (https://www.birdsavers.com/buildyourown.html) They appear simple to make, don’t look too bad, maintain good visibility out the window, are inexpensive, and highly rated. If you have tried other methods that haven’t worked as well as you would like, these appear to be worth a try.  Lewis Young, Conservation Committee

Lisa Bate Harlequin Duck Presentation

Glacier National Park Biologist Lisa Bate will be presenting her ever-popular What is a Sea Duck Doing in Glacier? on February 11 at 2:30 PM at the Museum at Central School as part of the ongoing John White Series. The presentation is about Lisa’s dedicated work in GNP and the Harlequin Duck’s success in the Montana high county as well as the struggles faced by the species. There is an admission of $9 for non-members and $6 for museum members.


You Can Be Part of the Team, Every Bird Counts

The 21st annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will be held February 16-19, 2018. The GBBC is a free, fun and easy event that engages bird appreciators of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations around the world. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes or spend the day( as long as you wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and then report their sightings on line at birdcount.org. All the instructions to participate are at this website, along with lots of bird-wise information and a photo contest you can enter. Anyone can take part in the GBBC, from beginning bird watchers to experts and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world. If you know a local teacher in the valley, consider FAS Adopt-a-School (or classroom) program. The GBBC is  a great way to engage young people in the world around them. For more information about the GBBC and how you can participate, contact Kathy @ 837-3837. Become a Citizen Scientist in your own backyard. You count, every bird counts!

Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks—ID Tips

Cooper’s Hawk tail

Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks may be seen on a Backyard Bird Count as well as many other places and they pose a real ID challenge, even for longtime birders. Throughout the year there is great variation in plumage and in size for these two species. They look so much alike that no single field mark stands out to help bird watchers easily tell one from the other.  Size is the defining factor, but that’s sometimes hard to judge with a single bird.  The rule of thumb is that a Cooper’s Hawk is about the size of an American Crow and the Sharp-shinned Hawk is more the size of a jay. Other ID help may be found in field guides and online especially at allaboutbirds.org.  Adapted from Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Cooper’s Hawk Sharp-shinned Hawk
Long, rounded tails with a broad white band. The middle tail feathers are usually the longest Square, long tail. Outer feathers usually the longest
Dark cap. Feathers on back of head often raised giving it a crested look never seen on the Sharp-shinned Hooded appearance from dark feathers on crown and neck
Slow wing beats that could easily be counted Quick, erratic wingbeats
The head projects far beyond the wings Small head barely extends beyond wings

2018 Beauty of Birds Class

April is our traditional month to get local newcomers (and old-timers!) into the fantastic world of birds and birding through our Beauty of Birds Class at Flathead High School. The classes are sequential, for two hours each Wednesday evening, April 4, 11, 17 and 24. Topics will be: Bird-Brain Stories; Bird Topography and Identification Techniques; The Magic of Flight; A Closer look at Bird Songs and Calls; Live Hawks, Falcons and Owls; Bird Song ID Strategies … and a Field Trip to local birding hotspots!

Call Flathead High School to enroll in the class, and join us in the fun!

Science on Tap Flathead

Dr. Robert Korechoff will present “The Hubble Space Telescope:  A Quarter Century of Remarkable Discoveries.”  February 6, 6 PM at the Flathead Lake Brewing Company.

Dr. Korechoff (retired) has been an aerospace and optical engineer for 43 years; the last 26 years as an optical engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA. The Hubble Space Telescope is arguably the most important astronomical instrument ever built. This presentation will describe the Hubble Observatory and the advantages of a telescope in space and how it was repaired in orbit. He was involved with the design and build of the second generation Wide Field/Planetary Camera (WF/PC 2). This camera was the principal imaging instrument for the Hubble Space Telescope for 15 years.

The University of Montana Alumni Association in its 2018 Community Lecture Series is sponsoring six lectures on Wildfires from February 20 to March 27. The lectures will be held on Tuesday evening from 7-8:30 pm at the University Center Theater on the university campus. The speakers will be University of Montana faculty and will focus on the complexity of wildfires while examining the history, science and policy of forest management, as well as, the impacts on our health and economic resources.

Tickets are for the entire series and range in cost as follows:  $25 for general public, $20 for UMAA members, $10 for students and $5 at the door.

Call (406) 243-5211 to order or go to www.grizalum.org to purchase tickets online.

Thank You!

We wish to give a hearty “Thank You” to our members who contributed to the year-end appeal. Thanks to you we received a total of $3645.50, $2185.50 from non-board members and $1460 from the board. The money, of course goes to support our Conservation Education activity.

Flathead Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society

Thursday, February 15.  7 PM

Hometown Habitat: Stories of Bringing Nature Home

Join us for a screening of this new video illustrating how the use of native plants in landscaping is revitalizing ecosystems across the country. Followed by a discussion of the film and native plant gardening in the Flathead.  North Valley Community Hall (also North Valley Physical Therapy), 235 Nucleus Ave., Columbia Falls.