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
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
Redpolls are a common but erratic winter visitors to Montana. Their circumpolar summer range extends from the Arctic tundra to the northern boreal forests. Redpolls, in winter, migrate south in the winter and may be found as far south as Kansas. Flocks of 5 or 6 to sometimes hundreds may visits our winter feeders.
There are two species of redpoll - Common and Hoary. The Common Redpoll is the usual and most frequently observed in winter in Montana. The Hoary Redpoll, with the more northern summer range, appears in small numbers but may be more numerous than we know. This is because of the difficultly in easily identifying and separating these species from each other. The Common Redpoll is darker in appearance with heavier streaking on the sides of the abdomen, rump and under the tail. The Hoary Redpoll shows less and lighter streaking and overall has a frosty, lighter appearance. When the two extremes in plumage are seen side by side, the difference is clear. However, there are many intergrades between the two extremes which make identification of these intergrades to species subjective.
For those of you who find passion in detecting subtle species differences whether between species or subspecies, many good field guides and internet sources are available to aid your quest. For the rest of us, the diminutive winter visitors are a delightful break in our long winter months. (Dan Sullivan) (Photo - R.McCaw)
MEMBERSHIP MEETING: Last Chance Audubon Society meets the Second Tuesday of the Month, September - May, at 7:00 pm at the St Paul's Methodist Church. The St Paul's Methodist Church is located the corner of Cruse and Lawrence Avenues in downtown Helena..(map)
Tuesday, May 14, 2013. Who is the Polar Bear - will be presented by Gerald Shields
Genetic research by Dr. Gerald Shields and his colleagues suggests that the Polar Bear (U. maritimus) is a type of Brown Bear (U. arctos). Although the two species arose from a common ancestor, wild populations of both species have experienced one and possibly more hybridization events in the past which suggest a novel mechanism for differentiation. Dr. Shields will discuss what has been learned from the genetic research and what this research suggests.
Shields holds the James J. Manion Endowed Chair of Biological Sciences at Carroll College. He previously was a Professor of Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He received a PhD, Dept of Zoology, University of Toronto in 1974.
His research interests include: animal speciation, evolutionary genetics of animal populations which include black flies, geese, bears, and humans.
Volunteers needed to help survey birds at the Lake Helena Important Bird Area. Meet at 8:00 AM, Saturday May 18, 2013 at the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks access located off of Lincoln Road at the West end of Lake Helena. Contact Brian Shovers at 406-443-6640 or email@example.com for more information.