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Birding and Bird Watching in Western Montana + Glacier National Park

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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.

There's This Place Where Every Trail is Worth the Trek

Three rivers and seven wilderness areas meet in Missoula, Montana, a small town with enormous personality. Visit Missoula and experience it for yourself.

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

A Li'l Bit of Heaven in Western Montana.

A Li'l Bit of Heaven

7987 U.S. Highway 93 S.
Sula, MT 59871

406.821.3433

ABC acres in Western Montana.

ABC acres

364 McCarthy Loop
Hamilton, MT 59840

406.210.5710

Adventure Missoula in Western Montana.

Adventure Missoula

39 Juniper Lane
Alberton, MT 59820

406.813.0595

Bailey's Bed 'n Bale in Western Montana.

Bailey's Bed 'n Bale

475 Timber Doodle Lane
Whitefish, MT 59937

406.270.1603

Bar W Guest Ranch in Western Montana.

Bar W Guest Ranch

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

406.863.9099

Belton Chalet in Western Montana.

Belton Chalet

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

406.888.2525

Camp Kapapa in Western Montana.

Camp Kapapa

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

406.214.0302

Choteau Stage Stop Inn in Western Montana.

Choteau Stage Stop Inn

1005 Main Ave. N.
Choteau, MT 59422

406.466.5900

Clark Fork Corridor in Western Montana.

Clark Fork Corridor

2504 Tradewinds Way, Suite C1
Thompson Falls, MT 59873

406.827.6935

Comfort Inn - University in Western Montana.

Comfort Inn - University

1021 E. Broadway St.
Missoula, MT 59802

406.549.7600

Enjoy Montana Vacation Rentals in Western Montana.

Enjoy Montana Vacation Rentals

20 Summit Ave.
Somers, MT 59932

406.203.5055

Glacier Bear Retreat in Western Montana.

Glacier Bear Retreat

348 Grist Road
West Glacier, MT 59936

406.848.1771

Glacier Outdoor Center in Western Montana.

Glacier Outdoor Center

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

406.888.5454

Haymoon Resort in Western Montana.

Haymoon Resort

1845 Hodgson Road
Whitefish, MT 59937

406.730.8786

Hidden Moose Lodge in Western Montana.

Hidden Moose Lodge

1735 E. Lakeshore Drive
Whitefish, MT 59937

406.862.6516

Ninepipes Lodge and Allentown Restaurant in Western Montana.

Ninepipes Lodge and Allentown Restaurant

69286 U.S. Highway 93
Charlo, MT 59824

406.644.2588

Rye Creek Lodge in Western Montana.

Rye Creek Lodge

345 Rye Creek Road
Darby, MT 59829

406.821.3366

Silverwolf Log Chalets Inc. in Western Montana.

Silverwolf Log Chalets Inc.

160 Gladys Glen Road
West Glacier, MT 59936

406.387.4448

Sun Tours in Western Montana.

Sun Tours

146 West Shore Road
East Glacier Park, MT 59434

406.732.9220

Swan Mountain Outfitters in Western Montana.

Swan Mountain Outfitters

12000 U.S. Highway 2 E.
West Glacier, MT 59936

406.387.4405

The Lakeside Motel & Resort Inc. in Western Montana.

The Lakeside Motel & Resort Inc.

2955 State Highway 200
Trout Creek, MT 59874

406.827.4458

The Ranch at Rock Creek in Western Montana.

The Ranch at Rock Creek

79 Carriage House Lane
Philipsburg, MT 59858

406.859.6027

The Resort at Paws Up in Western Montana.

The Resort at Paws Up

40060 Paws Up Road
Greenough, MT 59823

800.473.0601

The Shire of Montana in Western Montana.

The Shire of Montana

9 Hobbit Lane
Trout Creek, MT 59874

406.827.7200

Travelers' Rest Connection in Western Montana.

Travelers' Rest Connection

6717 U.S. Highway 12 W.
Lolo, MT 59847

406.273.4253

Triple Creek Ranch in Western Montana.

Triple Creek Ranch

5551 West Fork Road
Darby, MT 59829

406.821.4600

Whitefish Mountain Resort in Western Montana.

Whitefish Mountain Resort

3889 Big Mountain Road
Whitefish, MT 59937

877.SKI.FISH

Wild River Adventures in Western Montana.

Wild River Adventures

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

406.387.9453

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 Backpacking

  • 1519 Ashberry Court, Suite 12 Missoula, MT 59801
  • 732.272.6878
  • Visit Website

Bitterroot River Inn and Conference Center

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

Northwest Montana Retreat

Relics Retreat

  • 4800 Graves Creek Road Eureka, MT 59917
  • 406.882.4211
  • 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, 21.7 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel.

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