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 June/July 2023 newsletter, The Flyer.

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

Join a birding trip – 2023 Bird Field Trip Schedule.

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

Climate Week in Billings
Speaker, Dr. Steve Running
Tuesday, June 6th at MSUB’s Petro Theater
7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Presentation
6:00 p.m. Reception

Dr. Steve Running, one of the Scientist responsible for the Report which received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, will present an update on Climate Change. Learn how Climate Change is affecting the things you care about in Montana, whether it’s hunting and fishing, skiing and snowmobiling, farming, or other things.

Running was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change team, which was collectively awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its broad report on the connection between human activities and global warming. Running was a lead author for one of the chapters in the IPCC report. He’s also on the NASA Advisory Council Science Committee and who retired from the University of Montana as a Professor of Ecology. He has written over 270 scientific articles and two books.

This free public presentation is being co-sponsored by MSUB Environmental Studies Program, AAUW (American Association of University Women), the League of Women Voters, Citizens Climate Lobby, Forward Montana, Northern Plains Resource Council, Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society, Our Montana, SustainaBillings, Billings Association of Humanist, MEIC (Montana Environmental Information Center), Agri Organics Composting, and Families for a Livable Climate, Local Branch of Wild Montana, Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council, Zonta, Montana Health Professionals, Mayflower Congregational Church, First Church, Unitarian Universalists, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Billings Friends Meeting (Quakers), and Chuck Tooley (Presenter—Al Gore’s Climate Project).

This is a free public program at the Petro Hall on the MSUB campus. Everyone is invited.

Upcoming YVAS Birding Field Trips 2023

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. Make transportation arrangements ahead of time if possible. Carpooling cannot be guaranteed due to Covid.

May 20, Saturday – Bridger Creek. Meet at 8:00 am in Itch-Kep-Pe Park, Columbus. Sack lunch. Stan Heath, leader.

May 21, Sunday – Bluewater Fish Hatchery (Fish and Fowl). Meet at 7:00 a.m. Rocky OR at 8:00 a.m. Bridger Rest Area. Sack lunch. Sue Weinreis & Linda Wham, leaders.   

May 23, Tuesday – Stillwater River/Woodbine Area. Meet at 7:00 a.m. Rocky OR 8:00 a.m. Itch-Kep-Pe Park, Columbus. Return to Billings by 5:00 p.m. Sack lunch. Carolyn Jones, leader.

May 25, Thursday – Riverfront Park. Evening Bird Stroll. Meet at 5:30 p.m. Riverfront Park in the parking lot to the right after entering. Mosquito repellent advisory. Mike Weber, leader.

May 27, Saturday – CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN. Two Moon Park. (Chats, Warblers, and Starlings, Oh, My!) Meet at 8:00 a.m. in the lower Two Moon parking. Carolyn Jones & Sue Weinreis, Leaders.

June 3, Saturday – Bundy Bridge FA/ Pompey’s Pillar. Meet at 7:00 a.m. Rocky OR 8:00 a.m. Bundy Bridge Fishing Access. Sack lunch. Carolyn Jones, leader.

June 6, Tuesday – Pryor Mountain, Sage Creek. Meet at 7:30 a.m. Rocky OR 8:30 a.m. Bridger Rest Area. Sack Lunch. Stan Heath, leader. 

June 10, Saturday – Red Lodge Area. Meet at 7:00 a.m. Rocky OR 8:15 a.m. Red Lodge Town Pump Conoco C-Store. Sack lunch. Stan Heath, Jerry Dalton, leaders.

June 17, Saturday – Yellowstone River WMA State Park. Meet at 8:00 a.m. Rocky. Sack lunch. Megan O’Reilly, leader.

June 21, Wednesday – Grant Marsh. Meet at 8:00 a.m. at Love’s Truck Stop located on Hwy 47 just off I 90 near Hardin. Sack Lunch. Megan O’Reilly, leader.

For the current status of bird trips, check the YVAS website, YVAS Facebook or the Flyer. Links to these and the 2023 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

Killing of Native Migratory Birds to Save Nonnative Fish

Steve Dubois

In 2018, the US Fish Wildlife Service began issuing Osprey Depredation Permits to the Miles City Hatchery allowing them to kill native migratory Ospreys that were eating their nonnative largemouth bass. With the approval of the US Fish Wildlife Service and the Dept. of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, the eastern most breeding population of Ospreys on the Yellowstone River was lethally removed by the MT Fish Wildlife & Parks’ Hatchery Division at the Miles City Hatchery in less than two years.

YVAS and others immediately protested this practice and the permit process (and continue to). Yet the Miles City Hatchery continues to apply for and receive Depredation Permits from the US Fish Wildlife Service to shoot Ospreys indiscriminately in order to protect nonnative fish.

The Hatchery’s brood stock of largemouth bass spend three summer months at the Miles City Hatchery before being hauled by trucks to the Bluewater Hatchery outside of Bridger, MT, for nine months. Due to an outbreak of invasive New Zealand mudsnails at the Bluewater Hatchery in 2021, the bass brood stock were destroyed in late 2021. In May 2022 another outbreak of the invasive snail occurred at the Bluewater Hatchery.

Still the Miles City Hatchery continues to apply for and receive Depredation Permits from the US Fish Wildlife Service to shoot Ospreys to protect their nonnative fish. Great Blue Herons, Double-crested Cormorants and Canada Geese are also included in their Depredation Permits. 

YVAS, Earthjustice and others are vigorously pursuing corrective measures to this lethal management of native birds and misguided permit process.

For more information see: 

Journal of Raptor Research – Range Contraction of an Osprey Population Following Lethal Control at a State Fish Hatchery in Montana by Dr. Marco Restani

Billings Gazette – FWP’s Bluewater Hatchery contaminated by mudsnails 2nd time in 2 years

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 406-200-7873 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.

 We want your photos!