Montana’s Bitterroot Valley is an excellent place for the bird watcher. Birding is a great outdoor pursuit for so many reasons. First, Bird watching can be performed for as long as you can comfortably walk, ride, etc. While Montana has other outdoor pursuits—things like skiing, running, and mountain biking—bird watching (or birding as we’ll refer to it through the rest of this article) does not require great physical fitness—although it’s a very good activity, which will be great for your health—and there’s very little equipment needed to perform it. Basically, if you have a pair of comfortable shoes, and a will to walk, you can be a birder.
Obviously, you can have an interest in birds and bird behavior, and never feel the need to educate yourself further as to species, etc., and, for those of you, simply find a trail, somewhere in nature (bird watching is more enjoyable when you’re outside, enjoying the day). But, for those of you wishing to take it one step further, buy, or research online, a field guide to birds—something general or maybe even specific to your area or the area you plan to visit. Field guides are great resources. You can also find recordings of birds online, and these recordings may help to identity the song of a bird, before you’re even able to find it. Also, if you would like a more up-close look at birds in their habitats, you can bring with you a pair of binoculars, but you don’t need anything expensive or fancy as the distances aren’t usually that great. However, if you are using binoculars throughout the day, it’s important to remember that even looking through binoculars with the most expensive glass, can induce eye strain and headaches, so make sure to give yourself ample breaks between.
Montana’s Bitterroot Valley is loaded with different species of birds: small song birds to the great raptors: The Bald and Golden Eagle, the Osprey. Oftentimes Spring is a perfect time, weather permitting, especially in the mountains which could still be chock full of snow, because birds are migrating back, pairing up and building nests. And the Bitterroot Valley is unique, in its abundance of places to get lost in nature, and appreciating both it, nature, and the animals that call it home.