Birding Trails in Montana

June 4, 2013 by

Bird watching

Birding is one of the fastest growing outdoor activities in America, and birding vacations offer a great way to add birding journal entries you won’t spot in your backyard.

For those looking to head west this year, Montana’s diverse landscape offers habitat to more than 250 bird species and has a large number of birding trails ideal for bird watchers. Montana also has a large selection of remote lodges and resorts ideal for bird watching.

American Avocet

American Avocet in summer plummage

Montana Birding Trails

The Montana Birding and Nature Trail is composed of several parks and other areas. This list includes a handful of birding opportunities which offers a snapshot of the many birding opportunities available.

In Montana, meadowlarks, Montana’s state bird, are known for their unmistakable song and yellow breasts. They can be heard throughout Montana’s Big Sky.

Other commonly spotted birds you can expect to see across Montana include ducks, Canada geese, swans, and bald eagles.

  • Beaver Creek Park (North Central Montana): Beaver Creek Park features rolling grasslands, aspen and cottonwood groves, cliffs, firs and pines, a lake, and a stream. Plants and bird species from the Rocky Mountains blend with Plains species making it a unique bird watching opportunity. In addition to the birding trails, camping facilities are also available.
  • Bitter Creek Wilderness Study Area (Northeast Montanta):  This area is home to pipits, longspurs, and grasslands sparrows. It is the only part of the Northeastern Plains Birding Trail to see the swift fox. For more on the Northeastern Plains Birding Trail visit their website.
  • Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge Auto Tour Route: This part of the birding trail can be enjoyed from your car. It’s an auto tour and home to the Mountain Plover, plus many keystone species including prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets.

Yellow Headed Blackboard

Yellow-headed blackboard

Montana is known for its wide-open spaces, wildlife, varied landscape, and more. With mountains, plains, lakes, and streams, it is an ideal place for a birding vacation.

Photo credits: USFWS Mountain Prairie, kevincole, Shawn McCready

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