In our first Bitterroot Outdoor Journal for the new year, Bob Danley asks how you did in 2019? Did you achieve your bird-watching goals or other outdoor activity expectations. He offered tips to help - first, tell someone what you're planning. For some reason, talking about your goal actually helps you achieve it. And He likes the SMART acronym as you set your goals:

  • Specific - answer what, where and when to find certain species.
  • Measurable - answer how many, how much or how often for results.
  • Attainable - is your goal realistic?
  • Relevant - is this a short-term or long-term goal?
  • Time-bound - what kind of time frame is required?
  • Answering these questions before you start will really help, and remember that no matter the goal, just be outside as much as possible and enjoy of the magic of the valley.

    Bob has already seen 40 species of birds this year with 10 species of waterfowl, including Ring-necked Duck (see photo below) and five species of hawk, including Rough-legged Hawk (see photo above). You can bird-watch anywhere. He even saw some of the birds at a parking lot on the edge of Missoula. You might even see a Northern Shrike. (Photo below) Don't forget to learn about what you're seeing. A good source of information - "Birds of Montana" by Jeffrey Marks, Paul Hendricks and Daniel Casey. Also, check out Bob's website - The Bitterroot Outdoor Journal is on the air every Wednesday during the 7:30 a.m. Bitterroot Morning newscast on 1240 AM KLYQ in Hamilton.

    Ring-necked duck. (Bob Danley Photo)
    Northern Shrike. (Bob Danley Photo)