Birding the Missouri Headwaters and Three Forks Area
Directions: From I-90, take the Three Forks exit, then travel 2 miles east on Highway 205, then two miles north on Highway 286.
General information: The 530-acre Missouri Headwaters State Park is located where the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers join to form the Missouri River. Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery passed through this area on their journey westward. Interpretive displays tell of the area’s cultural and natural history. There are several fishing access sites and a system of nature trails in the park. The series of ponds just east of the town of Three Forks is another good birding location.
Habitats: These riparian areas consist of mature cottonwood, willow, and water birch. There are also several areas of small wetlands and short grass prairie.
Species of note: Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, American White Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, Great Horned Owl, Western Wood-Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Northern Shrike, Tree Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Tree Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, and Savannah Sparrow.
Best viewing seasons: April - October; June is prime for songbirds; November - March for winter species.