10 / 6 / 11
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Energy development
meetings

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Lewistown Meeting Report

At the recent Montana Bird Conservation Partnership meeting in Lewistown, September 14-15, twenty-five of us journeyed to the Judith Gap Wind Energy Facility, owned and operated by Invenergy, a Chicago-based company.  John Bacon, on-site manager, gave us a field tour and even let us look inside a wind tower!  John answered many questions about tower siting, energy output, transmission line capacity, longevity of wind farms, and much more. 

Oh, and we had a great meeting discussing research, monitoring, and conservation projects on the Yellowstone River and across Montana’s prairie & sagebrush landscapes. 

MBCP meeting notes from Lewistown, September 14-15

6 / 23 / 11
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MBCP news

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Plains and Prairie Pothole Landscape Conservation Cooperative Supports Grassland Bird Research

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, a partner on grassland bird research on the Montana Glaciated Plains, was awarded $60,000 for this work by the Plains and Prairie Pothole Landscape Conservation Cooperative in 2010. We recently received a second year of funding, $60,000 in 2011. These funds go directly to support our Grassland Bird Conservation on Working Landscapes (link to section in Monitoring and Research) project.

6 / 23 / 11
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MBCP news

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Bird Monitoring Funding Support from the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative

The Montana Bird Conservation Partnership and the emerging Idaho Bird Conservation Partnership have been awarded $65,000 for implementation of bird monitoring on private and riparian lands in Bird Conservation Region 10. Funds will be used to assess bird distribution and abundance on these traditionally under-sampled lands. These data will also be used by MBCP partners for bird-habitat modeling and development of Decision Support Tools. Support from the GNLCC will allow us to fill gaps in existing data identified by the Intermountain West Joint Venture, Montana Bird Conservation Partnership, and other leaders in conservation science in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Funds will also be used to strengthen a science-based Idaho conservation partnership to increase communication and collaboration among bird conservation partners in Idaho and the region.

This is the second year of funding from the GNLCC for this work. In 2010, the MBCP was awarded $35,000 for bird monitoring in the Montana portion of Bird Conservation Region 10. Field sampling is ongoing and anticipated to continue through at least 2015. For more information on our Integrated Monitoring by Bird Conservation Region project, click here. >>

6 / 23 / 11
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MBCP news

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Funding Award from the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture

The Montana Bird Conservation Partnership has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture to support partner participation and meeting costs. The MBCP provides a forum for coordination within and among the Joint Ventures to support all-bird conservation under the major bird initiatives and the Northern Great Plains, Prairie Pothole, and Intermountain West Joint Venture Implementation Plans. The enhanced capacity provided through meeting support from the NGPJV will support our most active participants and attract new and welcome partners from within the conservation community, such as land trusts, conservation district councils, and other non-governmental organizations.

Travel support awards will be available for eligible partners through this grant for our next MBCP meeting in fall 2011. Details will be forthcoming.

6 / 23 / 11
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Notes from the field

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Notes from the field

                Our warm, golden summer has lingered in to October this year.  The “field” for me this past month has been my front deck overlooking Helena’s valley.  Large flocks of Sandhill Cranes who patrolled the neighborhood all summer with their boisterous calls have abruptly left.  The Red-tailed Hawks who nested in an old cottonwood 100 yards from our house are gone, replaced by dark, more mysterious looking red-tails – likely our breeding pair’s northern relatives.  The kingbirds and swallows, meadowlarks and sparrows that aggregated in large, chaotic groups just a few weeks ago have quietly slipped to the south.  It is strangely quiet.  Luckily, Canada Geese and Mallards are still drawn to the waters of Lake Helena.  At dusk, silhouetted groups glide to the water, sometimes quietly, sometimes announcing their arrival noisily.  And the Great Horned Owl family has yet to disperse, calling to each other in the evenings. 

It is still warm enough to site on my front deck most days, but I feel a bit lonely.   I miss my summer companions.  Then a common raven drifts by, announcing her presence with a loud squawk and I am reminded that I will have company through the winter.  [October 4, 2011]

            

It is late May 2011. Rivers across the state have jumped their banks, basements and homes are flooded, trucks are stuck, roads are impassable, and children are riding their bikes down swamped streets. But the birds have returned to Montana, many are attempting to nest. Field work for our monitoring and research projects should be well under way. If only we could get to our survey sites!

Despite these challenges, partner biologists have been out counting Great Blue Heron colonies. We started in April with cooler than average temperatures. There herons were here, hunkered down in their nests suspended high in trees. We were optimistic that we would see the birds better before the cottonwood’s leaves came out. But the rainy, windy weather hampered observations.

Finally, a warm stretch of weather arrived in early May. Leaves popped from their buds, obstructing our views, but encouraging us nonetheless. We were out in force, counting nesting herons from helicopters, fixed-wing planes, and roadsides. Before this latest round of storms, we had counted nests at over 100 heron rookeries across the state. Now, we await drier roads and warmer temperatures to complete our surveys for these gangly, powerful, somewhat prehistoric-looking birds.