Birding in Montana

A Taste of Montana Birding

Birding in Montana

VIRTUAL BIRDING 15 – This gallery consist of 15 birds. Four are “gimme’s” consisting of commons in several states. Three sparrow photos are the same bird. The rest of the 15 may be tough if you are not familiar with Montana birds, which we are not. Feel free to post your answers below. 3, 4, 5, and 9 have us stumped as to particular species. All of these photos were taken in or near Shelby, Montana (Far northern part in Toole County) within the past 72 hours.

added: found two more – 16. and 17 after posting.

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Number 1
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Number 2
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Number 3
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Number 4
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Number 5 Coloring on this bird was similar to American Pipit.
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Number 6
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Number 7
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Number 8
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Number 9
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Number 10 – includes bonus =)
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Number 11
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Number 12
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Number 13
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Number 14
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Number 15
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Two additional birds added after posting:

Number 16
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Number 17
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5 thoughts on “A Taste of Montana Birding”

  1. 1. 2. 8. 13. 15. are all Vesper Sparrows I believe.
    3. ???
    4. ???
    5. Pipit of sorts?
    6. Immature Eagle or Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk?
    7. Mountain Bluebird
    9. ???
    10. ???
    11. European Starling
    12. Baby Robin
    14. Immature Eagle or Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk?

    Added:
    16. Red-Shafted Northern Flickers – Five to seven of them on bunched on the ground feeding. I found this strange. Mixed in the crowd was a Hairy Woodpecker who refused to be photographed.
    17. ???

  2. Eric

    All Right on the vespers.

    Number 3… I don’t know. It looks a little like female Goldfinch. Maybe the beak is dark because it’s in a shadow. But that’s all I have,

    Number 4 is a female bluebird

    5. American Pipit

    6. Looks to me like a dark (intermediate morph) Swainson’s Hawk. The hood is too solidly gray-black for RTHA and it’s much too small for eagle. Number 14 looks like the same bird. Harlan’s Hawk don’t nest in Montana and would look very different in the face.

    10 looks like a female Mallard on the right and possibly a Shoveler’s butt in the middle but it could be one of several really. Don’t know.

    17 is an unknown. Possibly a small empid like a Willow since there’s some white on the outer tail feathers, but there’s no way to know without more field marks.

    All the rest are right.

  3. That is right on with that Swainson’s morph! Awesome!
    5. My choice as well. Loved watching them down in Texas.
    3. and 17…. need to relocate.
    9. Saw Yellow-Rumped Warbler there the day before. Crescent shaped 3/4 eyeliner is a good diagnostic. His silhouette is also very familiar!!!
    10. I am really interested in Grebe identification.

    #9. This photo was taken four days earlier at same location! =)
    Yellow-Rumped Warbler

  4. Side Note: Birds of Montana by Stan Tekiela.
    We have all the big boys but I wanted a field guide for Montana. This is the only one I found with positive reviews. As you can tell… Vespers are common birds up here. Guess what is not in the book. I have been in Montana for a little over a month and I am finding local resources A MUST!

  5. Notes for Number 17.
    Empid – Flycatcher.
    Look at Primary extension, bill shape, lower mandible color pattern for identification.

    Short primary extension: Willow Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Gray Flycatcher.
    Mostly or entirely pale lower mandible: Western Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher.
    Straight sides to narrow, short bill: Hammond’s Flycatcher.

    Based on the photo… I am not sure what I have. I did manage to get a long look at our feathery friend but implanted memories can be a tricky thing. Based on my location, I would lean towards a Willow Flycatcher since Alder Flycatchers are more to the east of me.

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