Mother Birds Active in month of May…

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A common loon with their young.
Photo courtesy of Donald Jones,


…and line it with pebbles, grasses, and feathers. Females will usually lay four eggs that the male helps incubate. At times, another female will lay up to four additional eggs in the same nest. Called dump nests, these rarely succeed. Nesting avocets will strike-out at hawks, harriers, and ravens that attempt to predate the nest.

Northern goshawks, of mature forests, will carefully and skillfully cruise through deep forests and drop kills of

grouse or other birds to their awaiting young chicks.

Northern shoveler ducks, with their spatula-like bills will spoon and flip little crustaceans and tiny seeds from muddy waters. Skunks are major predators of duck eggs, so after swimming in circles to stir up food, hens will head back to their shallow nests of aquatic plants and layers of down to stand maternal guard away from open water. A wild, weird, and true fact is that if mom gets flushed off the nest, she will often defecate on the eggs, supposedly to deter all predators.

Brown headed cowbirds are considered brood parasites. Rather than expending their own energy and time building nests and raising their young, females deposit their eggs inside the nests of other birds, meaning the new selected mother does all the hard work.

Great birding is all around us this
time of year and ready to explore across countless Kootenai Country rivers, lakes, and wetlands. All it takes is a pair of binoculars, a field guidebook, gas in your rig, and a little motivation.

Remember too, that audio clues are also valuable for bird identification. On deeper lakes, listen up for the yodeling calls of common loons mating or their aggressive calls when defending their territory. Both drakes and hens build nests and incubate eggs. After the chicks hatch, adults generally leave the
nest and care for chicks in the water. During this time, the family of loons

will mostly stay in a “nursery area” and chicks can be seen hitching a ride on mom’s back when they are cold or tired. Just like humans, moms somehow know and always provide unconditional love.

This Saturday, May 8, Libby Hostel Base Camp (find them on facebook or airbnb) will be sponsoring a special Mother’s Day Birding Outing. The 5 ½ hour road tour will start out in Libby at 9 a.m. and follow a guided loop to spot and identify birds at prime locations in our area. Participants are asked to come prepared for a full day of birding, with a full gas tank to join the caravan, water, lunch, binoculars, a birding book, and a sense of humor. Space is limited, pre-registration is necessary. Please contact Brian at 291-2154 or email to register for this event.

by Brian Baxter

Free Montana Burn Permits

Submitted by U.S. Forest Service – Kootenai National Forest


Libby, MT April 27 –The Montana State forest fire season is from May 1 through September 30 each year. During this period, permits are required for open debris burning. (“Wildfire Season” Definition: 76-13-102 MCA, State Statute 76-13-121 MCA). To satisfy this requirement, the Lincoln County Environmental Health Department, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), and the Kootenai National Forest are issuing FREE burn permits from May 1 to June 30 depending on local wildfire risk.

The process to get a burn permit varies and depends on your burn location. The first question you need to answer is whether your burn location is located within the Libby Air Pollution Control District or not. Please check the following link for this status:

For all burns located outside of the Libby Air Pollution Control District, please contact your Local Forest Service or DNRC agency (listed below) to get a FREE burn permit.

Cabinet Ranger District (Trout Creek): (406) 827-3533

Libby Ranger District: (406) 293-8768

Montana DNRC (Libby): (406) 283-3525

Rexford Fortine Ranger District (Eureka): (406) 296-2536

Three Rivers Ranger District (Troy): (406) 295-4693

**In addition to a burn permit, you are required by state law to comply with air quality regulations. Please call 1-800-225-6779 before every burn to check the ventilation and burning forecast.

For burns located within the Libby Air Pollution Control District, you need to
determine whether your burn is classified as Residential or Management Burning. (see definitions below to determine category of your burn) Only Management Burning is
allowed from May 1 through June 30 and from October 1 through October 31.
**Management burning requires a FREE burn permit.

Residential Burning means any outdoor burning conducted on a residential, farm, or ranch property to dispose of vegetative wastes.

Management Burning means any person, agency, institution, business, or industry
conducting any outdoor burning for any purpose except residential burning, including forestry/wildlife management, licensed landfill management, firefighter training exercises, commercial film productions, or fuel hazard reduction which is designated as necessary by a fire protection agency.

For Management Burning located within the Libby Air Pollution Control District, you also need to know whether your burn is located within the Libby Rural Fire District. Please check the following link for this status:

To obtain a FREE burn permit for Management Burning locations inside of the Libby Rural Fire District, please contact Steve Lauer at (406) 283-1883 and for burn locations outside of the Libby Rural Fire District, please contact Jennifer Nelson at (406) 283-2322. Authorization for all Management burns is also required. Please contact the Lincoln County Health Department at (406) 283-2444 to obtain authorization on the day you wish to burn.

**Local fire managers would like to caution burners on current wildfire potential. Across the local area, fuel and potential fire conditions are above record levels for this time of year. Please visit: for more information. Fire managers would also like to remind burners that you are responsible for any and all fire suppression costs if your burn escapes your control. (State Statute 50-63-103 MCA).

FWP to continue online hunter/bowhunter ed

Submitted by Fish, Wildlife & Parks of Montana


During the last year, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks offered hunter and bowhunter education classes online due to COVID concerns. Since last spring, more than 17,000
Montanans completed the online courses, which is nearly double the number of students in a typical year.

Because of the popularity of the online classes and to meet customer expectations for a diverse offering of hunter and bowhunter education courses, FWP will continue to offer online courses for students turning age 12 and older, with the option of an in-person field day. Students will also have the choice of in-person courses taught by certified volunteer instructors.

In-person classes will be scheduled to start after June 1, depending on interest, venue availability and COVID-protocols. These in-person classes will include a field day. More information about these classes will be available soon.

FWP’s online course is certified by the International Hunter Education Association. To sign up for online hunter ed or for in-person classes when they become available, visit online at