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Great Falls hosts 18th annual Montana Audubon Bird Festival

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Montana Audubon’s 18th annual Wings Across the Big Sky bird festival takes place Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 11, at the Best Western Plus Heritage Inn in Great Falls. Co-hosted by Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon (UMBA), this longstanding event draws birders and wildlife enthusiasts from around the region to celebrate Montana’s 400-plus bird species and their diverse habitats.

Keynote speaker David Ringer, chief network officer with National Audubon, will give a talk on Friday evening entitled, “Protecting Birds and the Places They Need: Today and Tomorrow.” His address will touch on conservation issues related to birds and habitat in the Northern Great Plains and Northern Rocky Mountains region.

Throughout the weekend, there will be additional presentations on the education, public policy and conservation work of Montana Audubon as well an overview of a Central American raptor project.

Nearly 30 field trips into the prairies and mountains of north-central Montana are scheduled this year during the event. Guided excursions to the Rocky Mountain Front, the Little Belt range, and several local hotspots like the Missouri River and Giant Springs State Park are available. Festival registrants are encouraged to reserve their desired outings as soon as possible as these outings tend to fill up.

2017 marks the conclusion of Montana Audubon’s 40th anniversary year of conserving birds and other wildlife in Montana. At this year’s festival, Montana Audubon will revisit some of their past successes and other notable events in their long history of becoming one of the most trusted conservation organizations in the state. They will celebrate the organization’s birthday with a barbecue on the evening of Friday, June 9. Montana Audobon is also taking this opportunity to host their 40th “birthday party barbecue” on Friday evening. For a full schedule of Wings Across the Big Sky events and registration information, visit or call (406) 443-3949.

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