Behind our cover: Meet the western tanager
It’s a definite sign of spring when the tanagers come to Montana. They should be headed our way in the coming weeks.
We featured a beautiful male western tanager on our March/April 2015 cover just for that reason.
- Watch our cover come alive here
Photographer Michael Gallacher captured this little guy during a mass migration of the birds into Montana several springs ago.
Here’s a little bit more about our cover star bird: He was most likely following a hatch of bugs along western Montana rivers while making his way north during an annual migration. Tanagers are a medium-sized song bird that migrate north into many areas across Montana in the late spring. During their migration, tanagers frequent a wide variety of forest, woodland, scrub and partially open habitats, as well as various human-made environments such as orchards, parks and gardens, according to the Montana Field Guide. The male tanager is brightly colored, with a distinctive red head, while the female is olive green with yellow wing bars.
Here’s the Missoulian story about the tanager influx.
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Signs of Spring: A celebratory slideshow
There’s still a little snow on the ground, but Friday officially marks the start of spring.
That means the green is beginning to peek out and so are the photographers. So, it’s time for us to post our annual Signs of Spring slideshow. It’s a pretty good one this year.
We’ve got everything from greening meadows to brilliant sunsets to snow geese leaving Freezout Lake.
As always, we’re lucky that so many of our readers share images with us. Thank you to all who shared!
Do you have images to share? Email jpg images, along with photographer information and a brief description of the photo to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Beautiful signs of spring already blooming in Glacier
There’s an unusual feeling in the air lately around Montana – and the people who live and work in Glacier National Park have been feeling it too. Even though it’s only February, the snow cover that the deer in the middle of the road was enjoying in December and January – is melting.
The unusually warm spring-like temperatures have prompted a flurry of Facebook posts by the park, noting that things are blooming and animals are waking up as the snow melts.
A post on Feb. 11 noted that pussy willow buds look ready to bud.
“This is most unusual and way too early as we still have a lot of winter to come in northern Montana. Buds on many cottonwoods also very swollen and looking ready to leaf out. Chickadees singing their “spring song.” And people out riding bicycles and flying kites. Feels a bit like the twilight zone.”
Another post of showed the browning meadows of Two Dog Flats near St. Mary Lake, an important winter habitat for elk.
If you haven’t already, be sure to follow Glacier National Park on Facebook for more updates and gorgeous photos from around the park. Also, check out GNP’s Flickr stream for some great images of a wolverine.
We’re proud of the Glacier photography we’ve featured, too. Check some out here.
And our readers have taken some great Glacier shots as well.
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Spring scenes: A photo gallery to help you thaw out
As Montana continues to thaw out from another cold winter, we thought it’d be nice to share some spring scenes with you, courtesy of our great Facebook friends who continually share their images from across Montana with us.
A special thanks to Robin K. Hao for the beautiful images of the Flathead River and “Getting Green” in Northwestern Montana; Mike Holt for the image of the Cooke Pass plows; George Tillman for the image of the robin nest; and Natatum Haines for the image of the spring runoff near Libby.