The Bitterroot Valley may still be covered with mounds of snow, but the spring birds have begun to arrive and make their presence known. In this week's Bitterroot Outdoor Journal, Bob Danley reports hearing and seeing some regular March arrivals. The House Finch (above photo) was first recorded on a Missoula Christmas Bird Count in 1969 and this is the month they start those nesting duties. The Dark-eyed Junco (see photo below) has a musical trill and of the five subspecies, Bob says four subspecies are seen annually in Montana.

dark-eyed juncos
Dark-eyed Junco by the river. (Bob Danley Photo)

Elsewhere, the Male Wild Turkey (see photo below) is in bright plumage and egg-laying starts in about a month. The re-introduction of the turkeys in Montana has been very successful.

wild turkey in a tree
Male wild turkey in March. (Bob Danley Photo)

And the European Starling has been seen, with its breeding plumage in full. They were first seen in Montana back in 1939. All these little birds are concerned about the snow, too. So, keep your feeders full and you'll help them out. Bob recommends the book "Birds of Montana" by Jeffery Marks, Paul Hendricks and Daniel Casey. The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard weekly on KLYQ 1240 AM radio in Hamilton and on-line at

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