It’s that time of the year for the annual Christmas Bird Counts. This year marks the 120th year for this fun birding excursion. The results help us track birds and takes place all across the globe. Here in Northwestern Montana, we have a variety of counts that you can participate in.
Whether you’re an experienced birder or new, come join in on the fun!
The 46th annual Bigfork Christmas Bird Count will be held Saturday, December 14th. First established in 1974, the Bigfork count circle is centered at the “Little Brown Church” north of Bigfork, and includes >30 miles of the Swan and Flathead Rivers, the north end of Flathead Lake, and habitats varying from croplands of the Lower Valley to the spruce-fir and cedar-hemlock forests in the Swan and Crane Mountain foothills. We became the first count in the state to report 90 species (in 2011), and always find a diverse and surprising mix of birds, with nearly 150 species over the history of the count.
This count typically depends on veteran group leaders to scour their usual areas, and we are always looking for additional participants to join in to help us gain a better understanding of our early winter bird populations. We will begin preparation for the count at the December 9th general meeting, and will finalize most of the groups before the count day. Also, there will be a gathering at 8 AM on the morning of the count at the Flathead Brewing Company parking lot at 116 Holt Drive in Bigfork to make any last minute arrangements. The group will gather again at Flathead Brewery at 5 PM to review the group’s results. Contact Craig at 406-890-1629 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The 21st annual Kalispell count will be on Sunday, December 29th. Centered at Reserve and Highway 93, the 15-mi diameter count circle includes Evergreen, much of the Flathead River corridor including the Owen Sowerwine Natural Area, Happy Valley, Herron Park, Kuhn’s Wildlife Area, Foy’s Lake, MacWennegar Slough, Fairview Marsh, Lone Pine State Park and the “Flathead Gull Sanctuary”. This count has proven to be a popular New Year’s tradition. It includes the homes, bird feeders, and favorite birding spots of many of our members! Our traditional start to this count is a group breakfast at 7:00 AM; this year we will meet at 4B’s Restaurant (formerly Finnegan’s) at 660 East Idaho in Kalispell. It is here that we will finish assigning circle segments and field teams for the day’s efforts. At days’ end, there is an informal meeting at Brannigan’s Pub in Kalispell to tabulate results. If you are interested in participating, please sign up and leave your contact information at the December general meeting, or contact Pete Fisher at email@example.com or 406-250-9624.
|Bigfork||Saturday, Dec. 14th||Craig Hohenberger, firstname.lastname@example.org, 406-890-1629|
|Eureka||Saturday, Dec. 14th||Lewis & Lynda Young, email@example.com, 406-889-3492 or Ellen Sullivan, 406-889-3983|
|Libby||Saturday, Dec. 14th||Gene Reckin, firstname.lastname@example.org, Home: 406-293-9344 Cell: 406-291-8482|
|Ninepipe||Sunday, Dec. 15th||Jim Oates, email@example.com|
|Glacier National Park||Sunday, Dec. 15th||Lisa Bate, Lisa_Bate@nps.gov, 406-888-7833|
|Upper Swan||Saturday, Dec. 21st||Rob Rich, firstname.lastname@example.org, o: 406.754.3137 c:207.598.6649|
|Troy||Saturday, Dec. 21st||Donald Jones, email@example.com, 406-295-4291|
|Kalispell||Sunday, Dec. 29th||Pete Fisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, 406-250-9624|