Robins have been around the valley for quite a while this year, though they aren't enjoying the snow in western Montana. Bob Danley of KLYQ's Bitterroot Outdoor Journal says the numbers have increased dramatically over the last few weeks.(see photo below) Globally, there are more robins than any other thrush. In fact, there are about 320 million robins around the world. Also back in the valley are the ducks. Bob saw a Wood Duck at a Lolo area pond. These ducks are some of the waterfowl hunted each year in Montana. Right now, the males have bright plumage as they get ready for "family-building."

A robin in a tree. (Bob Danley Photo)

A pleasant surprise for Bob when he visited the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge - a porcupine in a tree. This prickly fellow was in a tree by the Whaley Historic Homestead on the edge of the refuge. (see photo below) From a distance, it's just a dark round object along the trunk or branches. As you get closer, though, you'll see the lighter shades of the over 30,000 quills each animal has. A porcupine can live at least 27 years and can be over 40 pounds in size. Trees are a good place to find them, since they eat the inner bark of trees for food. And, they're above the snow!

Look closely and you'll see the eye of a porcupine. (Bob Danley Photo)