Bird Banding at the Rock Creek Confluence

For anyone looking to get up close and personal with our native feathered friends, look no further than our Rock Creek Confluence Property this summer! We've partnered with the University of Montana's Bird Ecology Lab to have a bird banding station at the Confluence for a fourth year of science, community engagement and fun.

A researcher examining a captured cat bird.
A UM researcher examines a cat bird. Photo by Five Valleys staff.

Each year, the UM Bird Ecology Lab sets up several stations in different valleys surrounding Missoula. Using a mist net and gentle hands, the researchers capture and then weigh, measure and band each bird, before releasing them unharmed. This data is invaluable for tracking bird health and population trends, especially this time of year when baby birds are fledging.  And the best part about this unique, hands-on research is that it's open to the public!

UM researchers and community volunteers at the bird banding station.
UM Bird Ecology Lab researchers and community volunteers at a bird banding station. Photo by Five Valley staff.

Members of the public, of all ages, are invited to research station on specific days throughout the summer. At our Rock Creek Confluence Property, you can join in on the fun the following days:


  • Friday, May 31st


  • Wednesday, June 12th
  • Friday, June 21st
  • Sunday, June 30th (for our Community Field Day at Rock Creek event!)


  • Wednesday, July 17th
  • Wednesday, July 24th


  • Thursday, August 1st

Interested in coming out to the Rock Creek Confluence bird banding station? 

Meet the researchers at the banding station at either 7am or 9am on any of the scheduled days. Please note that bird banding days are weather-dependent, and may be cancelled due to inclement weather.

Directions to banding station:

From Missoula, drive east on I-90 for 20 miles. Take the Rock Creek Interstate exit and turn right to cross the river. Directly across the river, turn left on Lazy Water Way. The east side Confluence Property access will be to your left, down the hill. 

Park in the east side parking lot and walk through the wooden gate for an easy 15 minute walk to the banding station. Alternatively, you can drive through the larger green gate (when open only) and down the road a 1/2 mile. Park before the second gate and continue down the road on foot for another five minutes.

Please wear weather appropriate clothing and footwear and participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, a camera, water, snacks, sunscreen and bug repellant.

For more information, contact Five Valleys or Michael Krzywicki with the UM Bird Ecology Lab at or at 703-217-7592.

Photos by Five Valleys staff


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