TRAVEL INFORMATION
Know Before You Go

Birding and Bird Watching in Western Montana + Glacier National Park

things to do outdoors

more
hide
Birding Bird Watching in Glacier Country

Bird Watching in Glacier Country

From woodpeckers to warblers to waxwings, Montana is for the birds—over 250 species of our winged friends call this place home. Glacier Country is a birder’s paradise and here are a few good places to catch a glimpse of Western Montana birds—some of our littlest inhabitants.

Glaciers to Geysers World-Class Snowmobiling

Sled the best of the West in the unreal landscapes and premier small towns between Glacier and Yellowstone national parks. Plan ahead, play it safe and tread lightly.

Glacier National Park

In the park alone, you’ll find at least 260 species of birds. It’s one of the best places to see harlequin ducks in the lower 48 states. The "clown ducks" (because of their gray/orange/black/white “costume”) are partial to the waters of McDonald Creek. You're also likely to encounter blue herons, tundra swans, Canada geese and great horned owls. Year-round residents include raptors like bald eagles, golden eagles, peregrine falcons, osprey and hawks.

Birding in Glacier National Park
Audubon – Glacier National Park

Flathead and Mission Valleys

Along with hundreds of resident bird species, thousands of birds make a pit stop in the Flathead and Mission valleys every year along their north-south migratory route. This birder’s paradise offers multiple spots for life-list birding.

Prime locations include The Bison Range, Ninepipe and Pablo National Wildlife Refuges, Thompson Chain of Lakes, Bull River Wildlife Management Area, Lone Pine State Park, Jewel Basin Hiking Area, Owen Sowerwine Natural Area, the Danny On Trail, Smith Lake Waterfowl Production Area, Lawrence Park, Lower Valley (Road), Church Slough and the Blasdel Waterfowl Production Area.

The West Valley Public Bird Viewing Area near Kalispell gives birders a stellar vantage point from which to view hundreds of sandhill cranes congregating in prairie pothole wetlands during fall migration.

Flathead Audubon Society Birding Hotspots
Bird Guide to Montana’s Flathead Valley
Birding Hotspots in the Flathead Basin
Birding Near Kalispell

Missoula Valley

The Missoula Valley has its own birding and nature trail, helping birders, naturalists and eco-tourists access key birding locations. With 14 locations on the map, ranging from in-town to more secluded destinations, there are plenty of viewing opportunities.

For black-backed woodpeckers, visit the Blue Mountain Nature Trail. Or for great blue herons and Lewis's woodpeckers, visit Kelly Island in the Clark Fork River near downtown Missoula. To see an American dipper and its nest, stroll though Greenough Park.

Five Valleys Audubon Society Missoula Birding Hotspots
Birding in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys

Bitterroot Valley

With a variety of habitats ranging from wetlands and river bottoms to forested terrain, the 25 birding sites on the Bitterroot Birding and Nature Trail provide a range of birding experiences and opportunities. For tundra swans, woodpeckers and bald eagles, visit the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge near Stevensville. If you're looking for warbling vireo or black-headed grosbeaks, stroll through Travelers' Rest State Park. And for yellow warblers and gray jays, visit Indian Trees Campground near Sula.

Five Valleys Audubon Society Bitterroot Birding Hotspots
Birding in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys

Recreate Responsibly Plan Ahead, Play it Safe, and Leave No Trace.

Featured Listings

Bar W Guest Ranch in Western Montana.

Bar W Guest Ranch

2875 U.S. Highway 93 W.
Whitefish, MT 59937

Belton Chalet in Western Montana.

Belton Chalet

12575 U.S. Highway 2 E.
West Glacier, MT 59936

Bitterroot Backpacking in Western Montana.

Bitterroot Backpacking

1519 Ashberry Court, Suite 12
Missoula, MT 59801

Camp Kapapa in Western Montana.

Camp Kapapa

27885 Old U.S. Highway 93
Elmo, MT 59915

Clark Fork Corridor in Western Montana.

Clark Fork Corridor

2504 Tradewinds Way, Suite C1
Thompson Falls, MT 59873

Glacier Outdoor Center in Western Montana.

Glacier Outdoor Center

12400 U.S. Highway 2 E.
West Glacier, MT 59936

Sun Tours in Western Montana.

Sun Tours

408 Lindhe Ave.
East Glacier Park, MT 59434

Wild River Adventures in Western Montana.

Wild River Adventures

11900 U.S. Highway 2 E.
West Glacier, MT 59936

Other Listings

Birdland Bay RV Resort

  • 2148 Blue Slide Road Thompson Falls, MT 59873
  • 406.827.4757
  • Visit Website

Bison Creek Ranch

  • 20722 U.S. Highway 2 W. East Glacier Park, MT 59434
  • 406.226.4482
  • Visit Website

Bitterroot River Inn and Conference Center

  • 139 Bitterroot Plaza Drive Hamilton, MT 59840
  • 406.375.2525
  • Visit Website

Butcher Creek Outfitters

  • 7428 Fortine Creek Road Trego, MT 59934
  • 406.291.0748
  • Visit Website

Butler Creek Lodge

  • 3255 Bending Tree Lane Missoula, MT 59808
  • 406.542.8307
  • Visit Website

Clear Sky Resorts

  • 13951 U.S. Highway 2 E. Essex, MT 59916
  • 406.219.7811
  • Visit Website

Daly Mansion and Margaret Daly Memorial Arboretum

  • 251 Eastside Highway Hamilton, MT 59840
  • 406.363.6004
  • Visit Website

Glacier Birding Adventures

  • 455 Covill Lane Columbia Falls, MT 59912
  • 406.309.1423
  • Visit Website

Heron's Roost Cabin Rental

Izaak Walton Inn

  • 290 Izaak Walton Inn Road Essex, MT 59916
  • 406.888.5700
  • Visit Website

Johnson's of St. Mary

  • 21 Red Eagle Trail St Mary, MT 59417
  • 406.732.4207
  • Visit Website

Lodgepole Gallery

  • 245 U.S. Highway 89 W. and W. Durham Road Browning, MT 59417
  • 406.338.2787
  • Visit Website

Moss Mountain Inn

  • 4655 N. Fork Road Columbia Falls, MT 59912
  • 406.381.8931
  • Visit Website

Northwest Montana Retreat

Outback Montana RV Park & Campground

  • 13772 Outback Lane Bigfork, Montana 59911
  • 406.837.6973
  • Visit Website

The Cabins at Deer Crossing

  • 396 Hayes Creek Road Hamilton, MT 59840
  • 406.363.2232
  • Visit Website

The Lodge at Trout Creek

  • 135 Squire Lane S. Trout Creek, MT 59874
  • 406.827.2700
  • Visit Website

The Way Less Traveled

  • 16485 North Fork Road Polebridge, MT 59928
  • 406.261.5880
  • Visit Website

Timber Wolf Resort

  • 9105 U.S. Highway 2 E. Hungry Horse, MT 59919
  • 406.387.9653
  • Visit Website

Travelers Rest Lodge

  • 20987 U.S. Highway 2 E. East Glacier Park, MT 59434
  • 406.226.9143
  • Visit Website
News from Glacier National Park Currently, 3.5 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel.

Connect With Glacier Country

Guided Summer Activities in Western Montana

Read more

8 Reasons to Visit Western Montana in Spring vs. Summer

Read more

23 Things to Do This Spring Under Montana's Big Blue Sky

Read more

Call for expert help

1.800.338.5072

Start Planning Your Trip