Welcome to Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society

“Building on the tradition of special interest in birds, Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society is organized to promote enjoyment and protection of natural environment through education, activism, and conservation of bird habitat.”

Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society hosts a Public Program Series with a featured speaker September through May on the 3rd Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Mayflower Congregational Church. Members, the general public and visitors to the Billings area who are interested in birds, bird habitat and conservation are invited to join us. YVAS sponsors birding field trips, ornithology classes, the Christmas Bird Count, a monthly newsletter, and various conservation and educational projects. Feel free to contact any Board or Committee member for more information.

For the latest news and updates, see the November/December 2022 newsletter, The Flyer.

Visit us on Facebook – the link is in the upper right-hand corner.

Join a birding trip – 2022 Bird Field Trip Schedule.

The YVAS mailing address is YVAS, PO Box 1075, Billings MT 59103. 

Adaptive Management for Waterfowl Protection at the Berkeley Pit  

Stella Capoccia, Speaker

In 2016 after unusually warm weather resulted in a late fall migration for Snow Geese, a sudden winter storm in late November forced roughly 60,000 geese to land unexpectedly in the toxic Berkeley Pit water. Over 3,000 snow geese died. Since that event, a team was formed with representatives from industry, government, academia and other organizations (including YVAS) in response to that fatal event. Dr. Stella Capoccia is an important part of that effort. She will be discussing the protection efforts at the Berkeley Pit to reduce these types of waterfowl deaths.

Dr. Stella Capoccia is an associate professor in the Department of Biology at Montana Technological University in Butte. She received her Master’s Degree in Environmental Policy from Clark University and her Ph.D.from Rutgers focusing on wildlife conservation. Her current research involves looking at trends in waterfowl migration to help manage avian protection for the Berkeley Pit.

The program begins at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 21, at the Mayflower Congregational Church on the corner of Poly and Rehberg. The program is free and open to the public.

2022 Billings Christmas Bird Count – All Volunteers Welcome

The Billings 2022 Christmas Bird Count is Saturday, December 17, 2022. Volunteers are needed to help identify and count bird species within an assigned area of the Billings locale. The CBC is long term citizen science started in 1900 by National Audubon. Contact Jerry or Lois Dalton at 406-656-3656 or daltonlj@centurylink.net for additional information and to sign up. More details can be found here.

Photo by Ginny Waples

Osprey Nest Monitoring 2023

Have you wondered about or considered monitoring an Osprey nest? YVAS has two programs coming up in early 2023 just for you! Whether you are interested in learning more about being an Osprey nest monitor or you just want to learn more about Ospreys, these programs will do just that. 

Photo by Dorothy Bartlett

 Contact Deb Regele at debregele@gmail.com for more information. 

YVAS Birding Field Trips 2022

Unless otherwise noted, field trips are open to the public and depart at 8:00 a.m. by car from the Rocky Mountain College parking lot on Rimrock Road next to Billings Studio Theater. Please follow the current Covid guidelines. Make transportation arrangements ahead of time if possible. Carpooling cannot be guaranteed due to Covid.

December 17 (Sat) – Christmas Bird Count. Contact Jerry Dalton, chairperson, at 406-656-3656 or daltonlj@centurylink.net to sign up.

January 1 (Sun) – New Year’s Day Annual Trip to Yellowtail Dam Afterbay. Sack lunch, Brian Henderson, leader.

January 7 (Sat) – Midwinter Eagle Count. Sack lunch, Brian Henderson, leader.        

For the current status of bird trips, check the YVAS website, YVAS Facebook or the Flyer. Links to these and the 2022 Bird Trip Schedule can be found above. To be added to the Bird Trip Notification List, contact Carolyn Jones by text at 406-670-4449 or email at carolyn684@gmail.com

The Permitting & Killing of Fish-eating Birds at the Miles City Hatchery

The easternmost breeding population of Ospreys on the Yellowstone River has been lethally removed by MT Fish Wildlife & Parks’ Miles City Hatchery. In 2018, the US Fish Wildlife Service began issuing Depredation Permits to the Hatchery allowing them to kill native migratory Ospreys to save nonnative largemouth bass. MFWP has created a Working Group in 2021 to find solutions to these killings at the Miles City Hatchery. More information can be found in these documents; Shooting Birds at the Miles City Hatchery (070821) and Protect The Wild Fishing Birds Of Eastern Montana (121321).  

The Twine Collection & Recycling Site is Open and Accepting Clean Twine

Deliveries of clean, dry twine can be made year-round, weather dependent.  Small deliveries can be left in the shed or in the outside bin.  Access is through the red pedestrian gate to the left of the locked vehicle gate.  For large loads requiring vehicle access or for assistance with AG totes/bags, please call in advance.  Leave a message at 406-591-8606 and we will return the call.

The TCRS is located 2½ miles north of Laurel on the west side of Buffalo Trail Rd. Or, 3/4 of a mile north of the intersection of Laurel Airport Rd with Buffalo Trail Rd.  For more details, see our location mapTCRS Brochure and “Why Recycle Twine”.

An excellent article by Dr. Marco Restani Baling Twine and Ospreys: A Deadly Combination but now a practical solution was published in the March 2022 issue of Trader’s Dispatch.  

Like all recycled plastics, the twine will need to be 90% to 100% clean. Net wrap (mesh) is not being accepted since most mesh is not recyclable and it is one of the most difficult plastics to clean. For addition information about the Twine Collection Project, follow this link. If you would like to volunteer, contact Deb Regele at debregele@gmail.com or 406-962-3115 and leave a message.

 We want your photos!