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

About LCAS

Field Trips
Christmas Bird Count
Golden Eagle Migration Survey (GEMS)
Birding in the Helena Area

Chapter Programs
Monthly Newsletters
Natural History Lecture Series

Habitat Protection
Environmental Advocacy


What’s Up with Juncos?

When:  September 13, 2017, 7:00PM  

Where:  Montana WILD, 2668 Broadwater Ave.

Cookies and Conversation 6:30 – 7:00

When is a Junco a Junco? Did you know there are distinct Junco populations, in a variety of geographic locations, with variable color patterns, all considered to be Juncos? Gerry Shields will discuss recent research on the morphology, distribution, song and DNA that tells us how types of Juncos are differentiating. Shields says the entire group has been evolving over the last one million years. This talk aims to bring birders up-to-date on who is who in the world of the Junco.

Gerald Shields studied the genus Junco for his Ph.D. research at the University of Toronto after studying the same genus at Central Washington State University.  He was a professor of Biological Sciences at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (1975-2000). He is currently the James J. Manion Endowed Chairman of Biology at Carroll College where he teaches Evolution, Ornithology, Thesis Writing and Biology Senior Seminar. Shields also teaches a Field Ornithology course during the summer session to introduce all students (college and senior citizens) to the diversity, morphology and behavior of birds of west-central Montana.

Last Chance Audubon needs YOU!

As we look toward the fall, LCAS is in need of someone to take over the responsibilities of serving as membership chair. This position maintains records for members that are renewing or joining Last Chance Audubon. Monthly updates occur online through the national database and it is helpful to have the ability to work with spreadsheets. Good communication skills with other LCAS leaders is essential. Questions regarding this position can be directed to Janice Miller at


LCAS is pleased to announce that Shane Sater has agreed to serve as the chapter's newsletter editor. Shane has become a very vital part of our chapter and has singlehandedly stepped up to conduct avian surveys on the recently acquired Prickly Pear Land Trust property known as Sevenmile Creek. We are proud to welcome Shane to our team as newsletter editor!


As part of International Hawk Migration Week, Steve Hoffman, raptor expert and former Executive Director of MT Audubon will teach a raptor ID class for all skill levels on Friday, September 22nd, and lead a field trip to the Golden Eagle Migration Survey (GEMS) study site near Duck Creek Pass in the Big Belt Mountains near Townsend, on Saturday, September 23rd. Participants will practice identifying raptors, with GEMS observers, for several hours on Saturday. Raptors likely to be encountered: Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Red-tailed Hawk, and possibly Bald Eagle. Other species we may see include: Wild Turkey, Dusky Grouse, Red Crossbills, Clark’s Nutcrackers, and Gray Jays. Field trip participants can choose either a hike of 1.4 miles, with 900ft. elevation gain, to our primary observation site or an easy stroll of 150 yards, to our lower observation site. Friday evening’s class will meet at Montana WILD, 2668 Broadwater Ave. from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Saturday morning we will meet at 8:00am at Costco, north parking lot (near auto bays). Carpooling and high clearance and/or 4WD vehicles are strongly recommended. Home by 5 pm. Dress for hiking and for the often cool, breezy high-mountain weather conditions (8000ft. elevation). Bring lunch, water, snacks, day pack, binoculars, and camera, and possibly a walking stick

GEMS is a cooperative effort between the US Forest Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana Audubon, and Last Chance Audubon to document migrating Golden Eagles and other diurnal raptors. All funds raised directly benefit the GEMS project. The workshop will be limited to 30 persons and pre-registration is required - early reservations are advised. To reserve your place send your non-refundable $50 check, payable to “Montana Audubon” to: Montana Audubon, Attn: GEMS Workshop, P O Box 595, Helena, MT 59624. Please put “GEMS Raptor ID” on memo line of your check. For more information contact Janice Miller at


As summer slowly slips by we anticipate the return of our fall program meetings. Our program directors are lining up some amazing programs including the November Golden Eagle migration favorite! We will continue to gather at 6:30 PM for a bit of social time - cookies, drinks and bird stories, and the meetings will begin at 7:00 PM. We look forward to seeing you there!

NOTE: Montana WILD is located at 2668 Broadwater Ave. near Spring Meadow Lake.


Last Chance Audubon members and friends are invited to check out the remaining 2017 field trips being offered by our chapter. LCAS expanded its offering of opportunities this year and hosted a photography workshop and two beginner bird classes! In addition, some old field trip favorites like Freezout and Warm Springs WMA were offered, as well as a trip to Brown's Lake (This field trip produced an amazing 72 bird species!). To round things out, this fall, LCAS will again sponsor World Shorebird Day , and will also be hosting a Raptor ID Workshop and visit to the Big Belt mountains to view migrating raptors. For details on the remaining trips please visit the Field Trip link in the menu bar to the left.


Last Chance Auduboners along with friends and neighbors took to the field on January 2, 2017 to conduct the 61st annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The count was conducted in cold temperatures that reached only into the single digits above zero. However... Read more...
Complete 2016 count results are available here