If you start a habit of observing the areas near you daily, you will begin noticing differences that will lead to more bird identification this year. Bob Danley of the Bitterroot Outdoor Journal of KLYQ said he has been averaging two hours a day of observation in some of his favorite spots near his Lolo home and has tallied 49 species so far this year. That includes hawks and waterbirds and even a robin in his yard.

Bob enjoyed watching an American Dipper (see photo above) at the Stevensville River Park. The little grey bird can stay underwater for up to 30 seconds as it looks for aquatic insects to devour. They aren't too disturbed by humans, as long as you stay on the shore. Bob reports that the ridgeline power poles above and east of Lolo are great places to see Golden Eagles (see photo below). We also know that lots of hawks and eagles are on posts along the East Side Highway in the Bitterroot. Those raptors are watching the movements in the fields. Speaking of raptors, Bob recommends, for your winter reading, "The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of the Lost World." It describes the origins of birds.
The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal can be heard weekly on KLYQ 1240 AM.

Golden Eagle above Lolo. (Bob Danley Photo)