Big Sky Country has lots of big birds! Now is the best chance to bird watch. Montana is full of eagles, hawks, and flocks of other wonderful birds. These unique Birds of Prey are also called Raptors.
32 different Raptors call Big Sky Country their home. Falcons, Owls, and Ospreys are also Raptors. Birds of Prey migrate annually. They form large flocks or groups called “Kettles”. ￼
Eagles are not just Montana birds; they are Americas bird. Our national bird is alive and well here in Montana. Big Sky Eagles are commonly seen near water. Eagles are hunters and fish are on their menu. Other small mammals and critters are also on the “What is for dinner” list. More information about these amazing birds can be found at https:/www.nps.gov/places/000/bald-eagle.htm.
Golden Eagles are also Big Sky residents. They have the same diet but are not as impressive looking like the regal Bald Eagle. Their wingspan is much longer than the Bald Eagle. A Bald Eagle can stretch to 6 feet while a Golden Eagle can stretch out to 10 feet! Golden Eagles build a new nest each year while Bald Eagles add onto the same nests each season.
Red Tailed Hawks are also flying predators in Montana. They prey on voles, mice, wood rats, and other small prey. These tree nesters, often have 1-5 eggs annually. Their nests are 6 ½ feet high and 3 feet wide. Their 1–2-inch eggs are white and brown specked. A baby Red tailed hawk weighs about 2 ounces.
Goshawks are also Montana natives. These migratory hawks are commonly seen during the milder Montana seasons. Squirrels, small birds, and other mammals are what is for dinner. Goshawks can live from 19-29 years.
So, there you go! Eagles and Hawks are amazing Montana birds. There are also many other wonderful, feathered friends in Montana. Not all can be seen around town. You may need to wander a bit to see more.
Birds of the feather, flock to Montana together!
Big Sky Vi! Just a note. This is Big Sky Vi’s first published article. She is a 12-year-old Montana Miss that loves the outdoors and Big Sky Country. I am mentoring Vi with her dream of becoming an outdoor writer.