Long-billed Curlew Photo Credit: Bob Martinka
Long-billed Curlew Photo Credit: Bob Martinka

Are you ready to hear the currlleeee’ of the Long-billed Curlew?  Well, grab your binoculars and get ready, because this charismatic shorebird needs you.  Montana’s curlews will be trickling back into the state in less than two months and we need your help finding as many as possible in and around the Mission Valley!

We have known that Montana and the Mission Valley harbor the very important grassland and wetland habitat that curlews rely on during breeding and migration.  In 2014, we decided that this species offered the perfect opportunity to involve citizen scientists, like you, to collect more details on local curlew hotspots with focused surveys. Now you have the opportunity to join our great network of conservation partners, through the Mission Valley Curlew Initiative.  This is your opportunity to help advance conservation of curlews and their habitats by choosing an available survey route and getting out into the field!

It’s easy. Survey routes consist of early morning road-side stops repeated every half mile. At each stop, you will get out of the car for five minutes and look and listen for curlews.  Along the way you will collect important data on the time, habitat, and presence or absence of curlews. And, the great thing is that you only need to look for one big beautiful bellowing bird. So all you have to do is choose a route and catch up on Curlew identification and you are all set to go!

The best way to get involved is to visit our weebly website and view the routes available in the Mission Valley and Flathead Indian Reservation: http://missionvalleycurlews.weebly.com/.

Here you will find survey details such as the protocol, data sheets, and route maps. You can also contact Amy or Janene if you would like us to send you a route packet. Feel free to take a partner, do a route more than once, or do more than one route. The Curlews are just waiting to be found!

To brush up on your Curlew identification before heading into the field visit Montana Audubon’s webpage: http://mtaudubon.org/birds-science/long-billed-curlew-initiative/ for a link to the Curlew’s call and much more. Also visit Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All about Birds: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Long-billed_Curlew/id.

Surveys can start as early as April 8th, so get those taxes done early!
For more information contact Janene Lichtenberg: janene_lichtenberg@skc.edu; 406.275.4896; or Amy Seaman: aseaman@mtaudubon.org, 406.210.9449