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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 sixth 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, you can join in on the fun the following days:

June:

  • Wednesday, June 16th
  • Thursday, June 24th

July:

  • Thursday, July 1st
  • Thursday, July 15th
  • Thursday, July 22nd

August:

  • Tuesday, August 3rd

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

Meet the researchers at the banding station at either 7:30am or 9:00am 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 trailhead parking lot will be to your left, down the hill. (View map of East Side Trailhead)

Park in the trailhead parking lot and walk through the wooden gate. The banding station is an easy 15 minute walk along the old road and beside Clark Fork River (approximately a half-mile).

Participants should wear clothing and footwear appropriate for the weather and the area's woodland riparian corridor. 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 michael.krzywicki@mso.umt.edu or at 703-217-7592.

Photos by Five Valleys staff

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