Five Valleys Audubon Society A Chapter of the National Audubon Society
* Monday, January 2nd, 7pm: The host is Suzann Stickney. Board directors, officers, committee chairs, &
all interested members are invited. *There will be an election for Directors and Officers of FVAS at this
meeting. Please come and vote.
* Monday, January 9, 2006: Biologist, Jennifer Woolf will talk about the effects that thinning and
prescribed burning of our forests has on wildlife at FVAS’s January meeting.
* Saturday, January 14, 2006: Afternoon field trip to Smurfit-Stone. Meet in the middle of the UM field
house parking lot at 12:30 PM or at the pulp mill at 1:00 PM.
* February 17-20, 2006: Ninth Annual Great Backyard Bird Count. See article for details.
* Saturday, February 18, 2006: Field trip to Tower St. open space, end of 7th St., Kelly Island access off
Spurgin, and Sleven Island. Meet in the middle of the UM field house parking lot at 10:00 AM.
The Burning Question:
What effect does thinning and prescribed burning have on wildlife?
On Monday January 9th, biologist Jennifer Woolf will offer a presentation
on the impact thinning and prescribed burning of forests has on wildlife. The
presentation will be at the January Audubon meeting at UM's Gallagher
Business Building, Room L14 at 7:30 PM. It is free and open to the public.
Historically, frequent low-intensity fires in western Montana’s forests created
open forest conditions that enhanced the growth of various forest species
including ponderosa pine. The frequent fires also prevented the build up of
large quantities of highly flammable plant material that is associated with
hotter and longer burning fires. In recent years land management agencies
have used forest thinning and prescribed burning to improve growing
conditions for desirable plant species such as ponderosa pine and to prevent
high-intensity fires that put human settled areas in danger. The effect that
thinning and prescribed burning has on wildlife is not yet well understood.
Jennifer Woolf will describe her research into the impact on wildlife of forest
management regimes that combine thinning followed by prescribed burning.
Jennifer is a PhD candidate in Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana.
She is currently doing research that involves collecting genetic information to
determine dispersal patterns of fire dependent bird species. She completed
her M.S. at the University of Montana in 2003. She received her
undergraduate degree in Wildlife Science at Oregon State University.
A special thanks goes to Rocky Healey for submitting an application to The Wal-
Mart Foundation to support the Chapter’s education program called Audubon
Adventures. The Chapter has issued Audubon Adventure kits to 39 teachers in
the local area (see article in the December 2005 newsletter). The Wal-Mart
Foundation has sent the Chapter a check for $500 which will be used to pay for
12 of the kits. Rocky and his wife Suzi both work for Wal-Mart’s Supercenter on
Mullan Road. Thanks again to Rocky and The Wal-Mart Foundation.
Some Views from the Veep
By Bill Gabriel
We often hear that people live in western Montana to enjoy the open spaces, scenery, and wildlife. Some stay
here for the fishing, hunting, and birding even though higher salaries beckon from other locations. Maybe that
is why there are over 400 members on the rolls of Five Valleys Audubon Society and why we schedule more
activities than many other Audubon chapters. We offer 10 general meeting programs per year featuring
experts speaking on wildlife, habitats, and other natural resources. Coming up in 2006 will be programs on
bird flu and similar current topics. The programs attract 20 to 50 people each month.
FVAS offers some 20 field trips each year to find birds, butterflies, and wildflowers. Most take one-half to two-
thirds of a day, but we also take several three-day trips to more distant points. For 2006 we have 10 trips
scheduled for January through May, and more will follow. From 15 to 40 people join us for these outings.
In the summer we conduct a Bird-a-thon and in winter there is the Christmas Bird Count.
FVAS has an active education program involving a Community Naturalist who takes programs to the schools,
the Audubon Adventures program for teachers to use in their classes, and our adult education classes in
Beginning Birding and Intermediate Birding.
Your FVAS is involved in habitat protection and restoration programs in cooperation with the Five Valleys Land
Trust and other organizations. FVAS is also active in conservation advocacy. Just last week I signed letters
prepared by that committee in support of progressive management activities on the Lee Metcalf National
All these activities in support of birds and birding require time
and effort by the people who plan, organize, and execute them.
Look at the list of Directors, Officers, and Committee Chairs to
see how few of us provide those services for over 400 of you. We
enjoy our work, and believe some of you would too. As the old
sayings go, “the more the merrier” and “many hands make light
work.” We will be happy to have your help.
Notice that there are several vacancies listed on the back page of
this newsletter. In addition, some of the committee chairs could
use some more hands and heads in carrying out their duties. In
January we will elect several Directors and Officers for terms of
one, two, or three years. So come, volunteer, and vote.
Many Thanks to Jeanette at the Birdwatchers’ Country Store ! She is the sponsor of the Birding Hotline.
BIRDWATCHER’S COUNTRY STORE is Located at 202 East Main Street, Missoula, 549-3221.
BIRDING HOTLINE: If you would like to report an unusual bird or if you need
advice and information, please call the hotline number: 721-9799.
Field Trip by Larry Weeks
December 3, 2005: The December field trip was to the Mission Valley and was led by Jim Brown. Denver
Holt met the group at the Ninepipes Lodge and joined the field trip for the first 2 hours. As Denver was
leading the group to the Pablo area to look for a snowy owl, he spotted a merlin flying across the road in
Ronan and landing in tree with prey. He turned around and relocated the merlin which was busy consuming a
dark-eyed junco. We then proceeded to an area west of Pablo to search for the snowy owl but we didn’t have
any success. However, there were red-tailed and rough-legged hawks in every direction we looked. During
the course of the day, we must have seen over 50 red-tailed hawks and nearly 50 rough-legged hawks. Jim
spotted a prairie falcon but it was flushed by a buteo and could not be relocated. We drove to the base of
Kerr Dam and found a Steller’s jay that was visiting some feeders. Other birds seen near Kerr Dam included a
Townsend’s solitaire and several black-capped chickadees and dark-eyed juncos. At the Polson sewage
treatment ponds, we found common and Barrow’s goldeneyes, bufflehead, lesser scaup, and mallards.
We found a surprising large number of gray partridge. In one field, we counted
approximately 100 partridge which were sitting in the snow in several small groups. Many
of the birds were nearly buried in the snow. Jim also spotted a small flock of snow
buntings in flight but we were not able to relocate them. Other good
sightings included a large flock of horned larks, an immatune northern
shrike eating a vole that it had wedged between 2 wires, 3 great horned
owls, many Brewer’s blackbirds, and a few tree sparrows. Sixteen people
participated in the field trip and 45 bird species were recorded.
The return trip to Missoula was delayed by a two-car accident about 2 miles south of
the Sheep Ranch Inn on highway 93. The sight of the charred wreckage was very
Bird Notes By Jeanette Davis
Some Bohemian Waxwings came around Thanksgiving to feast on our Mountain Ash berries. This bird is larger
and grayer than a Cedar Waxwing, but the best clue is the chestnut color under the tail of the Bohemian.
We’ve been watching an immature Dipper down by the creek in these frigid temperatures. Curiously enough it
appeared to be picking something off a bush.
When December arrived and we had not seen a bear or any bear sign for several days, we decided they must
have denned for a long winter’s nap. We put some millet out in our covered platform for the juncos. No sooner
said and done, Norm saw three deer with their noses and mouths in the feeder.
We turned on our outside light and happened to look overhead at the peanut feeder. Glaucomys sabrinus had
its patagium (long flaps of skin) wrapped around the feeder. This Northern Flying Squirrel was hanging upside
down and fit the feeder like a glove. He even let us watch him for several minutes until he dashed up on the
roof and glided to a tree 20 feet away. While we were watching the squirrel all the time, it’s trip was so fast
that you only saw it on the roof, then snow bouncing off the tree.
National Geographic’s Complete Birds of North America (hardcover $35) just came off the press. It covers 962
species of birds, including migrants rarely seen in North America. There are more than 25 of the best bird
artists and bird authorities in the country who contributed to this book. It appears to be a valuable research
tool for any of us.
Best and warmest wishes for a rewarding 2006.
Montana Audubon Offers Grants for Wildlife
Montana Audubon will be offering grants totaling approximately $1,000 to fund projects that benefit wildlife.
Preference will be given to research and education projects benefiting non-game wildlife and their habitats.
The funds can be used for mileage, supplies, equipment, printing, and communications.
Applications must be postmarked on or before Wednesday,
February 1, 2006. Grant recipients will be announced by
February 28, 2006. Project guidelines should be requested
from: Audubon Wildlife Fund, P.O. Box 595, Helena, MT
59624; by phone: (406) 443-3949; by email:
firstname.lastname@example.org; or on the Montana Audubon
The Great Backyard Bird Count Returns for
its Ninth Season February 17-20, 2006
New York, NY & Ithaca, NY, December 2, 2005 - The
Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), a joint project of Audubon
and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, returns for its ninth season
February 17-20, 2006. Bird enthusiasts of all ages can share their love of birds with a friend, a child, a scout
troop, a class, or a co-worker - opening new eyes to the joy of birding and the fun of creating a unique
snapshot of winter bird abundance and distribution across the continent.
“The level of energy created each February by Great Backyard Bird counters is phenomenal,” said Dr. Paul
Green, director of Citizen Science for Audubon. “What always amazes me are the new discoveries made by
people across North America. Some bird watchers even send digital photos to back up their reports. Last year
participants sent in more than 1,000 photos and many are now part of the GBBC web site gallery.”
Everyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to seasoned experts. During the count, bird watchers
can tally up birds for as little as 15 minutes, or for as long as they like, keeping track of the highest number of
each bird species they see together at one time. People are encouraged to report birds from public lands and
local parks, as well as from their own backyards. Participants enter their numbers online at
<http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc> and can explore sightings maps, lists, and charts as the count progresses.
For more information contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at <email@example.com> or (800) 843-2473
if in the United States; (607) 254-2473 if calling internationally; or contact Audubon at
<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>; (215) 355-9588 Ext. 16.
Birding Observer Is Now Available Through Email
Five Valleys Audubon Society is now offering our monthly newsletter electronically. If you would like to receive the
newsletter via e-mail, please send your request to email@example.com. Please state in your email, your
name, as it appears on your newsletter, as well as your e-mail address.
We promise to keep your e-mail address private. We will not give or sell your e-mail addresses. We may from time to
time, send –email announcements of news items and events that are important to FVAS.
If you have any questions before you decide, feel free to write: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome To Our New Members
Sharyl Ackley Nanette Ault, DDS
Will Butler Caroline Carrier Important Note
Elaine Caton Gerrie Jeske To Our Valued
Maureen Loewenwarte James McKown Members: Please
note the expiration
Mardia Parker Cathy & Carl Seielstad
date of your
Lois Unacks membership on the
address label of this
Thank You To Our Returning Members wouldn’t want your
Vick Applegate Joy Earls SFC Gail Engler expire. We would
Catherine Everingham Rich & Jeane Fevold Eric Fevold miss you! A renewal
Juliet Gordon Dick Hutto Gerhard Knudsen form is on the last
Anita Kurtz-Magee Johnnie Moore Louise Norwood page of every
newsletter for your
Susan Reel Thomas Robinson Paul & Robin Silverstein
Sara Simkowitz Terry & Carole Toppins Rita Wolfe renew your
membership so that
you don’t miss any
newsletters or any of
From All Of Us At Five Valleys Audubon Society the upcoming events
of the Five Valleys
~ Happy New Year!
The deadline for the February edition of the Birding Observer is
Monday, January 16th. Please send articles to editor, Beverly Orth
Geoghegan at <email@example.com>.
JOIN THE NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY JOIN FIVE VALLEYS AUDUBON SOCIETY
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and my local Chapter. I will receive the Audubon magazine and Society. I will receive the Birding Observer and may participate
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activities. I understand that my dues are shared between NAS locally.
and my local Chapter.
CITY: STATE: ZIP: CITY: STATE: ZIP:
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$15 for students and seniors $15 is enclosed for Chapter membership
Please make check payable to Nat’l Audubon Society & mail to: Please make check payable to Five Valleys Audubon Society &
NAS, Membership Data Center, PO Box 51001, Boulder, CO mail to: Five Valleys Audubon Society,
80323-1003. N53 7XCH PO Box 8425, Missoula, MT 59807.
Vice-President Bill Gabriel PO Box 520, Florence, MT 59833 273 - 6880 N/A
Treasurer Alex Taft 439 Connell Ave,Missoula, 59801 549 - 2805 firstname.lastname@example.org
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Board Director Nancy Volle 3918 Lincoln Rd, Missoula, MT 59802 542 – 5014 email@example.com
Board Director Suzann Stickney 2312 Duncan Dr, Missoula, MT 59802 549 - 0063 firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Director Judith B. Smith 3585 S Pointe Dr, Missoula, MT 59803 251 – 4740 email@example.com
Board Director Carole Toppins 1210 Tower, Missoula, MT 59804 549 – 6027 firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Director Vacant
Board Director Vacant
Member Records Clare Kelly 2909 Highwood Dr, Missoula, MT 59803 251 – 7207 email@example.com
Membership Promotion Anita Kurtz-Magee 1650 Madeline Ave, Missoula, MT 59801 728 – 6464 firstname.lastname@example.org
Program Nancy Volle 3918 Lincoln Rd, Missoula, MT 59802 542 – 5014 email@example.com
Conservation Advocacy Vic Applegate 303 Rimrock Way, Missoula, MT 59803 549 – 0027 firstname.lastname@example.org
Habitat Protection & Restore Jim Brown 1504 Woods Gulch Rd, Missoula, MT 59802 549 – 8052 email@example.com
Field Activities Larry Weeks 2428 W Kent Ave, Missoula, MT 59801 549 – 5632 firstname.lastname@example.org
Publicity Elizabeth Johnston 1784 Elison Lane, Missoula, MT 59802 327 – 1525 email@example.com
Education Larry Weeks 2428 W Kent Ave, Missoula, MT 59801 549 – 5632 firstname.lastname@example.org
PL Wright Endowment Bill Gabriel PO Box 520, Florence, MT 59833 273 – 6880
PL Wright Awards Sid Frissell PO Box 1012, Emigrant, MT 59027 333 – 4143 email@example.com
PL Wright Awards Dan Pletscher 509 Arbor Dr, Missoula, MT 59802 543 – 4865 firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter Editor Bev Orth Geoghegan 4231 Huckleberry Dr, Great Falls 59404 761 – 6047 email@example.com
Newsletter Circulation Judith B. Smith 3585 S. Pointe Dr, Missoula, MT 59803 251 – 4740 firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site Clare Kelly 2909 Highwood Dr, Missoula, MT 59803 251 – 7207 email@example.com
Archivist Shirley Holden 2319 Valley Dr, Missoula, MT 59802 549 – 5706
Audubon Adventures Barbara Ross 215 E. Florence St, Missoula, MT 59801 721 - 7847 firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas Bird Count Larry Weeks 2428 W Kent Ave, Missoula, MT 59801 549 – 5632 email@example.com
Bird Hotline Terry Toppins 1210 Tower, Missoula, MT 59804 721 – 9799 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bird Atlas Jock Young 1501 Washburn, Missoula, MT 59801 721 – 3972 email@example.com
Five Valleys Audubon Society NON-PROFIT ORG.
PO Box 8425, Missoula, MT 59807 US POSTAGE
http://missoula.bigsky.net/fivevalleys/index.htm MISSOULA, MT
PERMIT NO. 490
Note To Members: Please Check The Mailing Label For Expiration Of Your Membership.