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Great time to pick up birding in Montana

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Posted at 6:10 PM, Mar 27, 2024

HELENA — “So, in Montana, we're lucky, there's great birding all year round. But spring, of course, is a really exciting time to be birding, because migrants from, you know, as far away as Mexico or as close as Colorado are coming back to Montana, either to breed here or passing through on their way, maybe even as far as the Arctic Circle, to breed,” says Corie Bowditch, Montana Wild Program Manager.

Birding is a great hobby to get into, especially in the spring, as plenty of birds are migrating through Montana.

“Right now, we're seeing a lot of waterfowl migrating through Helena, so even right here at Spring Meadow Lake, we're seeing things like Wood Ducks and Ruddy Ducks. Out at Lake Helena, folks have been seeing Tundra and Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes. So, some really amazing, iconic species passing through,” says Bowditch.

Right now, is a great time to go check out the Snow Geese migration. Bowditch says that if you can’t make it up to Freezeout Lake, Lake Helena or the Regulating Reservoir are other good places to check out the geese.

With over 100 species documented at Spring Meadow throughout the years, birding can be done right in your backyard. And in the coming months, plenty of events are taking place to encourage the seasoned or brand-new birder.

For example, on Tuesday, April 2, Montana Audubon will host a western screech owl monitoring seminar to teach folks how to be citizen scientists. Migratory Bird Day will take place on Saturday, May 4. Wings Across the Big Sky Festival will also take place the weekend of May 31.

“Helena is the place to be to look for birds or learn about birds or interact with birders, for sure,” says Bowditch.

If you’re looking to start your journey as a birder, Montana Wild has got you covered.

“We have some really great resources here at Montana Wild, a great birding display, we've got binoculars you can borrow, field guides, and some really enthusiastic birders here, as well, who are happy to get you started. We’re right next to Spring Meadow Lake so we can get you some binoculars and send you off down the lake to see what you can find,” says Bowditch.