Glacier's Harlequin

Glacier's Harlequins


Program Start Date:


SINGLE DAY COURSE – Spend the day learning about Glacier’s rare and secretive Harlequin ducks.

(Summer Activity Guide)

Glacier's Harlequins

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin


Glacier’s Harlequins
Instructor: Lisa Bate
May 22 at 7 a.m.

In Glacier Park, Harlequin ducks are as rare as grizzly bears, as secretive as goshawks, and as specialized as mountain goats. We’ll spend the day looking into the lives of these little-known natives and observing them feeding and courting during the peak of the breeding season.

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp

Itinerary: We’ll begin with a one-hour slide show and discussion to introduce you to the basics of Harlequin Duck ecology. After the introduction, we’ll spend about 5-6 hours in the field finding and watching ducks along upper McDonald Creek. We’ll return to Field Camp by about 3:00 PM. Back in the classroom, we’ll spend about an hour mapping out summer/winter locations of any banded Harlequins that we see in the field and we’ll talk about what Harlequins need from us to survive and thrive in their summer and winter homes. 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:

Equipment: Please see basic gear list. The most important equipment during May in Glacier is good rain gear! Binoculars will be essential. We will bring a few extra pairs to borrow if you don’t have your own. If you have a tripod-mounted spotting scope, it will enhance your ability to see the harlequins without disturbing them. Feel free to bring your camera if you have a strong telephoto lens, but please do not approach Harlequins with a short photo lens.

Physical Requirements: Easy hikes. We’ll walk about two to three miles along the Going to the Sun road. The elevation gain will be less than 100 feet.

Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2021 Academic Credit’ link on our website to learn about OPI credits for our courses.


Additional information

Refund Policy

The Glacier Institute has a 24 hour cancellation policy for a full refund with all of our courses.

Did you know Glacier Institute members receive a 10% discount?