Dear Friends,

How have you been spending your spring and summer? Have you stumbled upon any fledglings learning to fly? Been yelled at by any mother Killdeers? Have you simply been enjoying the long 5am-9pm days?

It's that time of year where most of our staff are strangers to the office and we're lucky if we get to see them pop in for a coffee and donut. From Ranching Workshops, to bird surveys, to citizen science on the Hi-Line, the Montana Audubon staff is casting a wide net of information, bird sightings, and just plain fun.

Yours in Conservation,
Montana Audubon Staff
Ranching Workshop with Piikani Lodge Health Institute
How many paddocks do I need? What’s the best way to rotate my cattle? The answer? It depends! Intensive Grazing Management, aims to address overgrazing and grassland degradation, making it crucial to biodiversity, soil, and long term range health; all of which benefit the birds that live on Montana’s working lands. In partnership with Piikani Lodge Health Institute, Montana Audubon Staff hosted a Ranching for Profit Workshop for producers in and around the Blackfeet Nation. Dave Pratt of Ranch Management Consultants was at the helm for the two-day workshop, covering topics from ranch economics to grazing management, where classroom lessons transitioned to field demonstration of how to “read the grass.” A huge thank you our great partners at Piikani Lodge Health Institute for organizing the event and Glacier Peaks Casino for providing the event space. For more information on these practices and how Audubon Conservation Ranching is helping out our grassland birds, head over to the official ACR website.
Nearly 700K Acres in Panorama Organic Rancher Network Recognized as Audubon Bird-Friendly Habitat- 17K Acres on Montana Ranches
Panorama Organic earns Audubon Certified bird-friendly package designation!

The National Audubon Society has certified all 21 family ranches in the Panorama Organic Grass-Fed Meats® network – spanning 690,902 acres of grassland habitat – as bird-friendly--groundwork resulting from the largest market-based conservation partnership in the country. The collective of ranches initiated large-scale habitat improvements for birds and other wildlife by enrolling in Audubon’s Conservation Ranching initiative. With the certification, beef products from Panorama Organic will carry the Audubon Certified seal, a package designation for consumers that identifies a product’s origin from lands managed for birds and biodiversity.

In Montana, this includes nearly 16,976 acres of three Panorama Ranches certified as “bird-friendly”. To achieve this conservation work the Montana Audubon science team has visited each ranch regularly collecting information to write ranch-specific Habitat Management Plans (HMPs). Montana Audubon staff also spent this spring collecting baseline bird monitoring data on each ranch to inform and test the efficacy of these HMPs. This required early mornings of hiking, intense concentration, and grappling with the elements--from mountain storms, to muck, to negotiating barbed-wire fences and avoiding rattlesnakes.

Panorama Organic beef products featuring the Audubon Certified bird-friendly seal will be available nationwide in July at 90 retail locations in nine states, as well as online at Crowd Cow.

“Grasslands, the most threatened ecosystem in the U.S., and grassland birds need our help,” said Kay Cornelius, General Manager of Panorama Organic Grass-Fed Meats. “Partnering with Audubon, our ranchers are doing the hard work of improving and restoring wildlife habitat. The Audubon Certified bird-friendly seal carries this grassland connection right to your local grocer for the easy part – where shoppers can now positively impact conservation with their purchases.”
O’Dell Creek Restoration Project- Monitoring Restoration Success Since 2005!
Early this July, Montana Audubon in collaboration with the University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab, completed another season of bird monitoring at the O’Dell Creek restoration area. Located about 4 miles south of Ennis in the beautiful Madison Valley, the O’Dell Creek restoration site has been a perfect example of restoration done right since the project’s inception in 2005.

More than 17 years have passed since rancher Jeff Laszlo realized the hidden potential of a degraded section of grazing land owned by his family for five generations. Years ago, water flowing from the several springs that form the headwaters of O’Dell Creek was diverted through miles of drainage ditches in an attempt to improve grazing conditions. Over time, a vast area that used to have pristine wet meadows, willow-lined meandering creeks and cattail marshes dried up, and some of the finest wildlife habitat in the Madison Valley was lost….temporarily.

Understanding the potential of the land, Laszlo shared his restoration vision with a host of federal and state agencies, non-profit groups, and private industries. With support and advice from these multiple partners, engineers from the River Design Group developed a restoration plan that was carried out over the course of several years. So far these efforts have created more than 15 miles of meandering streams that join together to form O’Dell Creek--and nearly one thousand acres of wetlands. As vegetation communities rebounded, so did the birds, fish, and other wildlife. Read more on our website HERE.
Want to test your owl identification?
Bonus Question! Which of these 5 owls doesn't breed in Montana?
1-Snowy Owl, 2-Burrowing Owl, 3-Boreal Owl, 4-Barred Owl, 5-Northern Saw-whet Owl
Bonus question answer: The Snowy Owl!
Montana Audubon in the News
Peter Dudley had a productive time in Havre this past week talking about Chimney Swifts. It's not too late to get in on this citizen science opportunity. To find out more, send Peter an email at

See our Montana Audubon Center July eNews HERE!
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Montana Audubon