Fall Birds of Glacier Park | Guided Educational Hike

Migration begins. Birds are heading south, others are arriving

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Distance

3 Miles

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Elevation Gain

1,000 Feet

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Difficulty

Moderate

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Cost Per Person

$100

Hike Overview

As autumn takes hold in Glacier National Park, breeding season winds down and fall migration begins. Familiar summer residents are preparing to head south, winter residents are trickling in, year-round species are settling in for a long winter and a number of species will be showing up only briefly on their way to their wintering grounds. Few places offer the diversity of habitats and the challenges of changing seasons like the Crown of the Continent. Take a look at fall birding in Glacier National Park and not only observe songbirds, birds of prey and waterfowl; but also learn avian ecology and the various ways birds approach the transition to shorter days and colder temperatures. This course is for birders and those interested in avian behavior of all levels, even beginners.

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Fall Birds of Glacier Park | Guided Educational Hike

Hike Overview Continued

Instructor: Josh Arrants

As autumn takes hold in Glacier National Park, breeding season winds down and fall migration begins. Familiar summer residents are preparing to head south, winter residents are trickling in, year-round species are settling in for a long winter and a number of species will be showing up only briefly on their way to their wintering grounds. Few places offer the diversity of habitats and the challenges of changing seasons like the Crown of the Continent. Take a look at fall birding in Glacier National Park and not only observe songbirds, birds of prey and waterfowl; but also learn avian ecology and the various ways birds approach the transition to shorter days and colder temperatures. This Glacier Institute course is for birders and those interested in avian behavior of all levels, even beginners.

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp

tinerary: (subject to change due to trail closures and weather).
You will begin at Glacier Institute Field Camp at 7 a.m., followed by spending an hour viewing slides and discussing the various habitats we will be exploring and common birds we expect to see during our time in the field. You will also learn how avian species found inside the park prepare for the shift from summer to fall and winter, from changes in behavior and diet to how mixed flocks communicate and share information. After the classroom time, we will head out into the field. We will hike along McDonald Lake and McDonald Creek, in the old growth of the large trees of Avalanche Cedars and then to a fen and wet meadows for songbirds, waterfowl and birds of prey. The course will end by 4 p.m. and will not be cancelled due to weather.

Food: Please bring a trail lunch, plenty of water, and snacks for the day.

Park Entrance Fees: Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entry passes prior to the course. These can be purchased online at: https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74280

Equipment: You will receive a Glacier Institute Field Camp gear list once your register. Most importantly, bring comfortable hiking shoes, at least 1-2-liter water bottle, backpack, rain gear, hat, and sunscreen. Weather can be varied so please be prepared with appropriate clothing, and warm layers. Binoculars are highly recommended and field guides of your choice.

Physical Requirements: Easy to moderate difficulty. While some birding will be done on flat surfaces in areas along Lake McDonald, McDonald Creek, and Trail of the Cedars, we will be hiking at a slow pace on trails and in areas that may be brushy and uneven; up to 3 miles and elevation gains of 1000 feet.

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What to Expect On Your Fall Birds of Glacier Park | Guided Day Hike

We will be hiking to various sites at an easy pace, stopping frequently to listen for and identify bird songs and the birds that create them. The hike will be up to 3 miles with up to 1,000 feet in elevation changes.

Hike Details

  • This program meets at Glacier Institute Field Camp, West Glacier.
  • Instructor: Josh Arrants
  • The program will begin 7 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Please arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Hiking distance covers up to 3 miles with up to 1,000 feet elevation change.
  • On-site parking available.
  • There is a maximum number of 13 hikers per trip.
  • This program has a minimum guest count of 3 people. In the unlikely case we don’t reach that number, you will be notified prior to the event.

What to Bring

Please remember that weather in NW Montana during all seasons can change quickly from warm and sunny to freezing at any time of the year. We recommend checking the weather prior to your trip. Please also check your course information sheet for specific gear requirements in addition to those listed below.

  • Lightweight hiking boots or a sturdy pair of hiking shoes
  • 2 liter sized water bottle or Camelback
  • Day Pack with plastic bag liner or cover
  • Waterproof rain jacket and pants
  • Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellant & lip balm
  • Camera (optional)
  • Trekking poles, if you like to use them for hiking (optional)
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Field Notebook notes and sketches

Download complete checklist here