Highlights from February 2016 Board Meeting:

  • The February Board Meeting was cancelled due to lack of a quorum.

Nongame Wildlife Tax Check-off

When filling out your Montana tax form this year, think “wildlife” by donating to the Nongame Wildlife Program, found on line 18a (short EZ form) or 69a (long form). If your taxes are prepared, tell your accountant that you want to donate to wildlife! Your contributions are tax deductible on next year’s return. Look for the soaring Bald Eagle in the instruction booklet. Montana has more than 500 species of “nongame” animals that benefit from public support each year at tax time. Since 1983, the check-off has contributed over $27,000 annually to this important wildlife program.

Soaring of the Snow Geese at Freezout Lake

Saturday-Sunday, March 26-27, 2016.

There is nothing quite like Snow Geese and the Rocky Mountains.  Flathead Audubon is planning the annual field trip to Freezout Lake near Choteau. The Snow Geese are moving from their California wintering grounds to their arctic nesting areas along with thousands of other waterfowl.

This year’s trip is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, March 26 and 27.  We will meet at the K-Mart parking lot on the corner of Highways 2 and 35 in Kalispell on Saturday morning at 10 AM, caravan/carpool to Choteau and arrive in time for the afternoon “fly-out.”  After a night in Choteau, we will head back out just before daybreak to watch the geese’ “mass ascension” from the ponds of Freezout. After the morning’s birding, we, too, will head home in the early afternoon arriving in Kalispell around 5 PM on Sunday.

Bob Lee will provide a suggested schedule and route, and will be in the front of the group.  Participants may choose to pursue the geese on their own as much or as little as they, the weather and the birds allow. Please make your own arrangements for lodging; primitive camping is available at Freezout WMA.  Motel options include the Stage Stop (406-466-5900), Gunther (406-466-5444) and Big Sky (406-466-5318).  For more information, contact Bob Lee at 270-0371 or RML3@centurytel.net.

Family Forestry Expo

The 27th annual Family Forestry Expo will take place at Stoltze Lumber’s Ron Buntemeyer Educational Forest located to the north of Kalispell along Trumble Creek on Saturday, 7 May, from 9 AM — 3 PM.  The FFE is a family event that offers hands-on understanding of the role that forests play in our everyday lives.  Expo visitors explore how the different parts of a forest are connected to make up a dynamic, living system, how people and all parts of the environment are dependent on one another, and how each affects the other.

There is a free “loggers lunch,” demonstrations, exhibits, and a forest walk with many educational stops, including one run by Flathead Audubon Society.  FAS has had a booth at the Expo for many years and are always looking for volunteers to engage visitors. If you enjoy being outdoors on a spring day talking to people of all ages about forests, ecosystems and especially birds, please contact Lisa Flowers, the FAS Conservation Educator, at auduboneducator@gmail.com or call 406-781-1721. Whether you are a volunteer, participant or just want to enjoy a day in the woods, everyone is welcome to come on out on Saturday, 7 May.

Upcoming Elections – ALREADY!!

Amidst all the hoopla of the presidential race, another important election is soon upon us – the FAS Board!  At the May potluck, FAS will elect a Secretary, Treasurer and several Director positions.  It is not too early to start thinking about who you would like to see guide FAS for the near future.  The person sitting next to you at the last meeting is a good choice, and the person sitting in your seat is also a good choice!  If you know of someone who would be a good leader, please contact Bob Lee (406-270-0371 or RML3@centurytel.net); someone from the Nominations Committee will talk with them about roles and responsibilities and get them on the ballot. And anyone that would like to serve on the Nominations Committee should also contact Bob.

Call for Montana Audubon Award Nominations!

Please nominate a deserving person for their work for conservation and/or Audubon! We are now seeking nominations for awards that will be given away at Montana Audubon’s June annual meeting in Missoula. The awards acknowledge individuals who exemplify a commitment to birds, other wildlife, and habitat conservation. This year awards will be given for Conservationist of the Year, Environmental Educator of the Year, Special Achievement, Citizen Scientist of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Award.

To nominate your candidate, please visit our website at http://mtaudubon.org/about/award/. To be considered for this year’s award, nominations must be submitted no later than May 19, 2016. Nominations can be submitted by email (PREFERRED!) or mailed to Montana Audubon, PO Box 595, Helena, MT  59624. Questions? Contact Janet Ellis at 406-443-3949 or jellis@mtaudubon.org.

West Valley Naturalist, March 2016

Thursday,  March 10,  Early settlers of West Valley. What was the West Valley like  at the turn of the century?  Who were the early settlers in this  area?  What are the stories behind some of the old barns and other structures that still stand from this by-gone time?  These are some of  the questions that will be answered by Jeanine Buettner, life time resident of  West Valley.  Jeanine’s relatives settled here in  1891 and Jeanine  has been documenting her research for the past  25 years.  She has fresh  information every time she presents her finds..   The presentation will begin  at 7 pm in the West Valley Middle School Commons. Please use the main West Valley School entrance at 2290 Farm to Market Road. For more information please contact Jeanine at 755 4733 or Linda de Kort at 755 3704.

Seldom used binoculars?

Thank you to the FAS member who left a nice pair of Bushnell binoculars in our mailbox, they will be put to good use in a needy school in the Amazon Basin.  We are still hoping to gather more seldom used binoculars to take to rural schools in ecuador this spring along with bird and ecology curricula.  Please call us (755 3704)or meet us at the March general FAS meeting if you are able to contribute. Thanks. Frank and Linda de Kort

Wisdom the Albatross

Wisdom the Albatross
Wisdom the Albatross

Wisdom, the Laysan Albatross, is the oldest tagged bird in the wild. The 64 year old beauty has returned again to her nesting ground in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, laid her annual egg, and should be welcoming a chick any day now.