Last Chance Audubon Society
Promoting understanding, respect, and enjoyment of birds and the natural world
through education, habitat protection and environment advocacy.
Photo credits - Bob Martinka unless otherwise noted
LCAS web site funded by a bequest from the estate of Nancy Tunnicliff
Christmas Bird Count
Birding in the Helena Area
Natural History Lecture Series
Last Chance Audubon is on summer break! WHOA!!! This doesn't mean the opportunities to celebrate our environment have ceased. The Spring/Summer field trip season has begun, and Birdathon is right around the corner for that chance to get out to do a little birding to support the work of LCAS. Montana Audubon Bird Festival begins June 3rd, and we will be sponsoring some cleanup efforts and weed removal projects as the summer progresses. And then, just when you thought it might be safe to relax, fall migration is underway in late July and early August as the first fall migrants begin their journeys homeward. Don't miss any of it! Stay tuned here or check the Independent Record for LCAS updates. We are on the move!
MONTANA AUDUBON BIRD FESTIVAL 2016!
Save the dates! June 3rd - 5th Montana Audubon, in cooperation with the Missoula area chapter, Five Valleys Audubon, will host this year's bird festival. Please follow Montana Audubon's Bird festival page to stay up to date as organizers plan this year's event.
CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT 2015
Complete results of Last Chance Audubon's 2015 Christmas Bird Count have been finalized and available at Christmas Bird Count 2015. ENJOY!
2015 BIG BELTS GOLDEN EAGLE CENSUS - WRAP UP
On Monday, November 2nd, 2015, the inaugural Big Belt Golden Eagle Census ended. As the counters exited the steep slopes of Mt. Baldy toward Duck Creek Pass, smiles were the prevalent feature of the wind and sun burned faces. After 49 days of counting raptors at 8300 feet, the feelings of success were obvious. An unbelievable 2600 Golden Eagles were counted during the census, and a total of over 4300 raptors of 17 species were seen. Early data counts from around the country indicate that this may well be the largest concentration of Golden Eagles found in the lower 48 states.
The location was discovered by Executive Director of Montana Audubon, Steve Hoffman. In the fall of 2014, Hoffman, founder of HawkWatch International, spent an afternoon in the Big Belts watching Golden Eagles speed by on strong prevailing west winds and knew that this was someplace special. He contacted LCAS and the US Forest Service to coordinate funding and volunteer assistance to staff the location during the 2015 migration season. Anticipating a large eagle push through the mountains during the first two weeks of October, Hoffman outlined a 50 day count strategy that would highlight this period. On October 7th, counters watched as 329 Golden Eagles passed by within eight hours!
The count had an enormous amount of support. LCAS coordinator Janice Miller insured that the safety and well being of the counters was paramount and spent many a morning (and evening!) driving the rutted, twisting mountain road to deliver supplies and provide relief for counters, Bret Davis and Ronan Dugan. Additionally, The USFS provided assistance through seasonal employees that were well versed in conducting counts, and also provided financial backing for the project. Numerous volunteers made their way to the windswept west slope of Mt. Baldy to help spot and identify incoming birds, and the Helena Independent Record sent an intrepid reporter to interview counters. An account of the project is detailed in an amazingly well reported article (Raptor Rapture in the Big Belts) that ran on October 5th.
Plans to conduct the 2016 count are already underway and LCAS, along with Montana Audubon, US Forest Service and MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks, is taking a leading role in the effort. We are counting on a host of volunteers that will help in supporting this project, and we are actively pursuing sponsors that will assist with backing this project. The scientific, educational and recreational opportunities for the census are limitless. We are looking forward to watching this project grow. To support our efforts please contact Janice Miller at email@example.com