Black-Billed Magpies: Common But Uncommonly Smart

Black-billed Magpies by Susie Wall Broadcast 10.8 and 10.11.2019 Listen:   When I first moved out West, I was impressed by the large black-and-white bird I noticed strutting around my yard and campsites, its long black tail dragging on the ground behind it. The...

Owly Neighbors

by Thurston Elfstrom Since moving back to Missoula in 2008, my wife and I have enjoyed fairly regular sightings of Great Horned Owls in and around our neighborhood. Up until this point, my experiences with Great Horned Owls tended to be more auditory—infrequently...

Sandhill Spring

by Claire Voris I cannot see the cranes this morning, but I can hear them. They are somewhere in the basin of the valley where the yellow, cow-cropped grasses end and the thicket around the water begins. The Sandhills arrived the night before as a wild flurry of...

Learning to Read: A Migration Story

by Brian Williams One February afternoon in Missoula’s North Hills, I walked into a big flock of robins. They moved through the sere grass in abrupt, unsynchronized movements, like actors in a silent movie—three steps, head cock; three steps, head cock—each in its own...

Birding on the Smith

Story by Hank Fischer Photos by Carol Fischer Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “He who hears the rippling of rivers will never despair of anything.” Certainly the whispering waters of Montana’s Smith River have that magical ability to soothe one’s soul. The sixty-mile...