Birding the Ennis Lake Area

Directions: Ennis Lake is north of the town of Ennis and east of Highway 287.

General information: Ennis Lake is a 3,692-acre lake located in the Madison Valley. A good birding loop is north on Jeffers Road from Ennis, then to Ennis Lake Road that circles the lake and returns to Highway 287. Other good birding sites are the two fishing access sites on the west side of the lake as well as several others along the Madison River, north and south of the lake. There are numerous mountain streams flowing into the valley as well as extensive short grass prairies south of Ennis, which are worth exploring.

Habitats: A willow/grass complex with sage and rabbit brush surrounding the lake. The foothills on the north end of the lake have a juniper/Douglas fir mixed forest. South of the lake are agricultural lands and short grass prairie. The Madison River fishing access sites are willow/cottonwood communities.

Species of note: Trumpeter Swan, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Pacific Loon, Common Loon, Western Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, American White Pelican, Bald Eagle, Ferruginous Hawk, American Coot, Long-billed Curlew, Franklin’s Gull, Herring Gull, Caspian Tern, Forster’s Tern, Willow Flycatcher, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Western Tanager, Brewer’s Sparrow, McCown’s Longspur, Lazuli Bunting, Common Grackle, and Bullock’s Oriole.

Best viewing seasons: May - July for breeding birds; March - June and August - November for shorebirds and migrants.

Download the Southwest Montana Birding Brochure

Ennis Chamber and VIC
PO Box 291
Ennis, MT 59729
(406) 682-4388
Ennis Chamber of Commerce