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monana audubon -- citizen sciencE

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Audubon's Christmas Bird Count, an annual tradition that excites families, communities, and the conservation movement, is here again. The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world. The tradition began 115 years ago and is a long-standing program of Audubon, including in Montana.

Erick Greene on CBC
Erick Greene, Missoula's CBC

The CBC is an early-winter bird census, where volunteers count every bird they see or hear during one day in a designated 15-mile diameter circle.

This year's CBC will be conducted between December 14, 2014 and January 5, 2015. Details about exactly where, when and how to participate will be posted below.

These counts have proven incredibly valuable for what they tell scientists -- and all of us -- about our changing world. To learn more about climate change and early winter birds, trends based on 40 years of CBC data, see Ecological Disruption in Motion.

How to Participate:

All Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) are open to the public. The following information will help you learn how to participate this year:

Note that the following has yet to be updated for the 2014-15 count year - check back in November for new information.

  • To locate the CBC nearest you, see the map below.
  • Updated count dates, leaders, and other information will be found BELOW as we receive the information from area leaders.
  • A chart of 2013-14 Montana CBC information (table of dates, leaders, etc.) can be downloaded HERE. This is updated frequently!
  • A calendar with 2013-14 Montana CBC dates can be downloaded HERE.
  • CBC is FREE!!  National Audubon Society publishes the CBC results in an on-line version of American Birds. Because it is only available on-line, there is no reason to charge for the CBC.

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Map of Montana Christmas Bird Count Locations (2013-2014)MT CBC map

2013 - 2014 Montana Christmas Bird Counts

NOTE: CBC dates and contact information are posted as they are obtained.

Map# CBC Name Count Date How to Participate (2013-14):
1 Kalispell
Sunday, Dec. 29

For more information call count leader Dan Casey: Home:, 857-3143; Work:, 756-2681; Cell: 270-5941.

2 Billings Saturday, Dec. 14

To participate, please call Jim Court (406-259-5099 or before Dec. 14. Meet at Denny's Restaurant, 501 North 27th St., at 7 AM. Soup dinner and desserts will be served at the end of count day at Mayflower Church, 2940 Poly Drive, Billings. Everyone is welcome!

3 Bowdoin NWR/ Malta Sunday, Dec. 22

For more information, contact Fritz at 406-654-1381, OR

4 Fort Peck
Saturday, Dec. 21

We will meet at Carlson's home in Ft. Peck (1125 N. Platte - behind the old school) at about 7:30 AM. Please contact Chuck Carlson (526-3245 or before the Count so we have some idea of how many will be participating. Lunch and a home cooked soup supper with homemade rye bread are provided!

5 Lewistown Friday, Jan. 3

If you are interested in participating, contact Jeff Rath, 406-323-1719, OR Rose Emily Blum, 323-3544,

6 Roundup  

Last year's count leader was Rose at <> or 406-323-3544.

7 Great Falls Saturday, Dec. 14. Alternative dates (if weather does not cooperate): Dec. 15 or Dec. 29.

If you are interested in participating, email or call Nora Gray:, 453-0170. Also let Nora know if you will be attending Saturday's post- CBC pizza and salad dinner at FWP headquarters (the dinner is paid for by Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon).

8 Chester Saturday, Dec. 14

New participants should contact Dave Allen at 406-456-3243 or (work) 406-456-3226 or before the count. Count hours are dawn to dark. Meet after the count at Janet and Chuck Saxton’s, Hwy 223, for food and to tally count results.

9 Yellowstone National Park Sunday, Dec. 22

Meet at 7:00 AM at the Best Western Motel parking lot in Gardiner. Bring lunch, drinks, snacks, fluids, and warm clothes. For more information, contact Terry McEneaney at or 406-223-2688 (evenings 6-9 PM) OR David Martyn at 406-848-7701.

10 West Yellowstone Sunday, Dec. 15

Meet at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone at 8:30 AM. Teams will be organized at this time to travel by car, foot, skis, and snowmobile. For more information contact John Heinie ((w): 406-646-7001 or (h): 406-640-0124) OR Brad Barth at

11 Clark Canyon Dam Saturday, Dec. 14

Meet at 8:00 AM at the south parking lot of UM-Western located at the south end of Dillon. For more information contact Jack at or 406-683-7321. Anyone can participate without notifying Jack ahead of time.

12 Ennis Wednesday, Dec. 18

Meet at Yesterday's Café in the Ennis Pharmacy at 7:30 AM (124 Main Street in Ennis). Come sooner if you want to eat breakfast (they open at 6 AM). In you want to participate, contact Robin: 406-581-5418 or Some of us are planning to gather Tuesday evening December 17 at the Sportsman’s Lodge on Highway 287 just north of town.

13 Livingston/ Park County Sunday, Dec. 15

Meet at the Meet at the Best Western Inn, 1515 W Park St (Copper John’s) between 7:00-7:30 AM. For more information, contact Sally at 406-223-9167 or

14 Bozeman Saturday, Dec. 14

Meet at Perkins Restaurant, 2505 West Main, Bozeman, between 7:00 - 7:30 AM. Contact John Parker (406-586-5863) for more information.

15 Three Forks Thursday, Dec. 26

Meet at Bair's Truck Stop (Flying J), south side of Belgrade exit off I-90 at 7:00 AM (come early if you want breakfast there). For more information contact Dennis at 406-539-1145.

16 Warm Springs

Wednesday, Jan. 1

If you want to participate, contact Gary Swant at Meet at 8:00 AM at the Warm Springs store/bar parking lot (Warm Springs Exit 201 off I-90). Lunch is planned after the event.

17 Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site

Tuesday, Dec. 17

If you want to participate, meet at 8 AM at Grant-Kohrs Ranch Headquarters in Deer Lodge. Lunch will be served at Park Headquarters after the count. For more information contact Gary Swant at

18 Helena Saturday, Dec. 14

Meet at Jorgenson's Restaurant (11th Ave. and Lamborn) at 6:45 AM if you want breakfast at the restaurant and 7:15 AM if you don't. For more information, contact Lorna at 406-443-7162 or lornajmilne@gmail OR Cedron at 406-442-1271.

19 Stevensville Saturday, Dec. 28

If you want to participate, meet in the conference room of the Stevensville Ranger Station (88 Main Street, Stevensville) between 7:30 and 8:00 AM. For more details call Dave Lockman at 777-7426 (d) or 777-2929 (e).

20 Missoula Saturday, Dec. 14

Groups are assigned the week before the count. If you want to participate, contact Larry Weeks at

21 Ninepipe NWR Sunday, Dec. 15

For more information contact Brian Williams: 327-0405 (day)or 721-1467 (night) or by email at

22 Upper Swan Valley Sunday, Dec. 15

If you want to participate, contact Jody at 754-4002 or

23 Troy Saturday, Jan. 4
For more information contact count leader Don Jones at 406-295-4291, 112 W Kalispell Ave, Troy, MT 59935,
24 Libby Tentative Date: Saturday, Dec. 14

For more information, contact Kay Casperson, 406-293-7676

25 Eureka Saturday, Dec. 14

For information contact count leaders Lewis or Lynda Young at 406-889-3492 or

26 Glacier National Park Sunday, Dec. 15
For more information contact Jami at 406-888-7986 or OR Lisa at 888-7833,
27 Bigfork Saturday, Dec. 14

Groups are assigned the week before the count. If you want to participate, contact Dan Casey: Home:, 857-3143; Work:, 756-2681; Cell: 270-5941. We will also gather at the end of the day at a site TBA.

28 Hamilton Saturday, Dec. 21

Meet at 7:30 AM at Teller Wildlife Refuge's Education Room on Chaffin Lane (one mile north of Corvallis). Questions? Contact John at 363-5464 or

29 Little Rocky Mountains

Dec. 16* *Note this date may change because of weather.

This date may change because of weather/impassable roads. To participate, contact Fritz at 406-654-1381, OR

30 McNeil Slough Dec. 17* *Note this date may change because of weather.

This date may change because of weather/impassable roads. To participate, contact Fritz at 406-654-1381, OR

31 Big Hole Saturday, Jan. 4

Contact Kate Stone to register, either by email ( or phone (406-381-1115).

32 Miles City Saturday, Dec. 14

For more information contact Jennifer Muscha: 406-951-2799 or email:

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A Few Facts about last year's Montana Christmas Bird Counts (2012-13 results):

  • There were 32 different Christmas Bird Counts last year. Missoula had the most participants on their count last year, with 113 observers; most of Montana's counts had fewer than 20 observers (20 of 32 counts). In previous years more than 600 observers have participated in counts throughout Montana.
    Swainson's Thrush

    Swainson's Thrush.
    Photo by Bob Martinka.

  • There were 37 count "firsts" established last year, with Missoula having two state-first records: Swainson's Thrush (pictured right) and Lesser Goldfinch. The Fort Peck count also had a state-first: a Lesser Black-backed Gull. Other count firsts included a Cackling Goose and Spotted Sandpiper in Bigfork, a Pied-billed Grebe in Bozeman, 2 American Dippers at Musselshell Valley (Roundup), and Hoary Redpolls on several counts.
  • For the first time, five counts reported 80 or more species: Stevensville saw the most species - 89 total; Bigfork tallied 88, Missoula recorded 87, Kalispell saw 83, and Ninepipe NWR recorded 80.
  • Snowy Owls had had a respectable year, with 11 birds counted on 4 counts.
  • The most abundant species statewide was Canada Geese, with 67,041 individuals recorded on 26 (of 32) counts.
  • Trumpeter Swans (274 on 5 counts) outnumbered Tundra Swans (182 on 7 counts).
  • Total number of species seen in Montana CBCs (cumulative list): 210 species, with 3 new species added last year.
  • First Montana count: Bozeman in 1908. Our youngest count: the Big Hole count started in 2008. The most Christmas Bird Counts have been conducted in both Billings and Bozeman, with 56 Christmas Bird Counts each.

Thanks to Dan Casey of Flathead Audubon for compiling these results for American Birds!

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photos & sounds of common CBC Birds in Montana

These can be used for media pieces related to the Christmas Bird Count.
Copyright as noted below each photo.

See below for photos of people.


Belted Kingfisher (185 kb) HERE. Copyright Bob Martinka.


Black-capped Chickadee (655 kb) HERE. Copyright Bob Martinka.


Bohemian Waxwing (286 kb) HERE. Copyright Bob Martinka.


Common Golden (754kb) HERE. Copyright Bob Martinka.


Downy Woodpecker (330kb) HERE. Copyright Bob Martinka.

horned lark

Horned Lark (1003 kb) HERE. Copyright Bob Martinka.

house finch

House Finch (341 kb) HERE. Copyright Bob Martinka.


Mallard (535 kb) HERE. Copyright Bob Martinka.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk (922 kb) HERE. Copyright Dan Casey.

Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker (809kb) HERE. Copyright Bob Martinka.

rough-legged hawk

Rough-legged Hawk (235 kb) HERE. Copyright Bob Martinka.

PEOPLE on CBC counts

Kelly Island

List checking on Kelly Island. original. A Cilimburg photo.

cbc 2011

Eric on CBC 2011. original. A Cilimburg photo

Big Hole Birders

Big Hole CBC Jan 2010. original. K Stone photo

Big Hole CBC

Big Hole CBC Jan 2010. original. K Stone photo


Cedar Waxwing song
Northern Flicker vocalizations
Red-tailed Hawk call

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