Colorful Birds Put on Show to Entertain Viewers - Montana's Missouri River Country's Bird Season Now in Full Summer Swing

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Montana's Missouri River Country welcomes home the birds who have returned for summer. June and July are the best time to spot the birds. There are three National Wildlife Refuges in the grasslands of northeastern Montana.

Montana's Missouri River welcomes home a countless number of birds who have returned for the summer. The birds have all arrived by mid-June, and their colors are brighter than ever. Mating season means the birds are more active and easier for visitors to spot. June and July are the perfect time to visit this must-see area for anyone with an interest in the feathered friends.

The Missouri River Country landscape is a diverse mix of grasslands, marshes, reservoirs, hills and badlands. With such a varied terrain, the area is home to numerous different bird species. Baird's Sparrows, Rock Wrens, Ferruginous Hawks, Yellow Rails, Lazuli Buntings and the American White Pelican are just a few of the birds who call Northeastern Montana home. These species thrive in the natural setting the area offers; Missouri River Country's grasslands have remained relatively untouched for centuries, allowing grassland birds to breed and nest in their natural habitat.

Missouri River Country showcases three National Wildlife Refuges, two campground and recreational areas, several Wildlife Management Areas, one National Historic Site, one National Park, one city park and numerous tracts of public land. The Fort Peck Wildlife Station is part of the C.M. Russell refuge, which consists of 1.2 million acres of Missouri River Breaks habitat. The area stretches from Fort Peck Dam to the Fred Robinson Bridge, south of Malta. The refuge and Wildlife Station offer self-guided opportunities for photography, wildlife viewing, primitive camping, hiking and other outdoor activities that will get visitors moving around in the bird's natural habitat.    

For another unique bird-viewing experience, visit the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge, located in the Milk River Valley of Phillips County. This refuge is comprised of 6,616 acres of wetlands and 8,935 acres of upland terrain. Just seven miles from Malta, Bowdoin offers an amazing number of waterfowl, marsh birds and shore birds. The real treat is in June and July when more than 250 different species make their way through the area. Viewers will spot such delights as nesting colonies of White Pelicans, Black-Crowned Night Herons and White-Faced Ibises.

The third area Wildlife Refuge is the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge is designated by the American Bird Conservancy as one of 500 Globally Important Bird Areas in the United States. 283 different bird species have been observed on the refuge, including the Grasshopper Sparrow, Chestnut-Collared Longspur, Savannah Sparrow, Western Meadowlark, Lark Buntings, Sprague's Pipits and Bobolinks. Medicine Lake also attracts waterfowl and marsh birds. With two nearby campgrounds, visitors will want to spend days in the area. For more information on the Medicine Lake Wildlife Refuge please visit

Missouri River Country is home to a unique and exciting mix of bird species. June and July are the best time to visit the area because the birds' plumage is brighter and more vibrant as they begin to mate. They are also moving around more, making it easier to see the birds and snap a few photos. For more information on Montana's Missouri River Country and the excellent bird-viewing experiences that await you, please visit

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