Let's Go Birding

Tours

I offer half to full day birding tours totally customized to your preferences and wishes.

Half day (5 hours):      $150

Full day (5 to 10 hours):       $250

$25 per hour 
for every additional hour beyond 10 hours.

Let's plan your next
birding adventure!

Send me a quick email with:
- what you want to see
- when you want to go

and let's make a plan together!

If you want to know about birding in the farther reaches of the state, please let me know!
I am happy to arrange to meet you for a tour or set you up with another guide who 
might live closer to your target destination.

Any questions? Contact me!

Or send an email direct through your emailer of choice at:

glacierbirding@gmail.com

Explore Montana

While Glacier National Park is often the focus for many visitors to the state, the prairies offer an equally exciting experience, as does exploring the Flathead Valley. 

These, and many more, are the different ecosystems that come together to make Montana so diverse.  You can stand on a rocky peak while watching Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches and Mountain Goats and just 2 hours later be surrounded by Chestnut-collared Longspurs & Long-billed Curlews in the great shortgrass prairie.

“The valley”, as we refer to it, is home base for me and Glacier Birding Adventures.  The valley is mostly agricultural fields highlighted by really productive wetlands, fields, rivers, and woodlands. 

On a normal summer day in the Flathead Valley, you could expect to see 80 species of birds, from the nesting waterfowl to hummingbirds to Red Crossbills in the forests at the foothills of the mountains. The forest edges and fields provide habitat for nesting Western and Mountain Bluebirds, the Ponderosa Pine forests are the key habitat for Pygmy Nuthatches, and the cottonwood trees along the Flathead River hold hundreds of nesting Vaux’s Swifts. 

 

The valley offers excellent birding for nearly 100 of Montana’s most common species with a few northwest specialty species in the mix, like Vaux’s Swift and Chestnut-backed Chickadee. 

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Red Crossbill

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Flathead Valley

Montana also claims some of the most intact shortgrass prairie habitat remaining in North America. Public land is plentiful in the north of the state, meaning that patches of rich, native prairie is easy to find and access.

In the summers, the prairies come alive with birdsong.  Chestnut-collared Longspurs, Western Meadowlarks, Sprague's Pipits, and Upland Sandpipers are some of the most abundant and characteristic species of eastern Montana.

Spring and summer months, May through July, are the best time to visit for birding. That's when the wildflowers are blooming and the prairie specialties are singing and nesting. Early spring is when half a million Snow Geese migrate north through eastern Montana, and fall (Sept-Nov) is an excellent time to look for migrants moving south. The bird activity can be dynamic and exciting when looking for migrating birds, but strong prairie winds and cold temperatures can be brutal.

Much of the northern prairies are easily accessible from Glacier National Park and the Flathead valley. Both Longspur species and Ferruginous Hawks can be found about an hour drive east of East Glacier, and driving further will bring you deeper into the great northern prairies.

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Thick-billed Longspur

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Northern Prairies

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Mission Valley

South of Flathead Lake and the Flathead Valley lies the Mission Valley bordered to the east by the impressive Mission Mountains. The valley holds Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge, one of the best birding destinations in Montana.

In the summer, thousands of breeding waterfowl fill the refuge's reservoir and dozens of marsh species can be found around any of the hundreds of pothole-marshes. Grassland species abound in the mostly natural fields, like Long-billed Curlews and Short-eared Owls. Bullock's Orioles, Lazuli Buntings, and sometimes a Yellow-breasted Chat breed in the cottonwood forests along the rivers.

Again, May through July is the best time to see the wonderful breeding species, but the Mission Valley puts on a great show all year long. 
In the winter, more raptors than anywhere else in the country can be found here, with over 500 overwintering Rough-legged Hawks and equal numbers of Red-tailed Hawks! Each winter, every falcon species is found, from American Kestrel to Gyrfalcon.  In a leisurely day of winter birding, you could see over a dozen Great Horned Owls, Short-eared Owls, and maybe even a Long-eared Owl. Snow Buntings and Horned Larks are a common winter birds, forming big flocks as they look for grass seed in the fields.

 

Whatever the time of year, the Mission Valley is always great fun to explore. 

Mission Valley

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Lazuli Bunting

These are just a few major areas you can experience when birding in Montana with Glacier Birding Adventures.

The complex geography and changing landscapes offer great birding anywhere in the state. There is a too much out there to write about here, but I hope these short and simple overviews can give you an idea of what each region has to offer.

If you want to bird farther afield in Montana, please contact me and we can arrange a tour or I can send you some information about birding on your own.

Let's go birding

Glacier Birding Adventures 

Joshua Covill
at

Let me know if you have any questions by sending me an email! 

 

If you want information about specific birds or if you want to schedule a tour, please feel free to contact me through this email form.

Thank you so much!

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