Best Bird Watching in Montana

Beautiful humming bird against a Montana blue sky
Shaman Mountain is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission on certain links, at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Embark on an awe-inspiring avian adventure as we delve into the diverse landscapes and magnificent wildlife of Montana, a birdwatching paradise nestled in the heart of the American West. With its vast expanses of untouched wilderness, lush wetlands, and majestic mountain ranges, Montana offers a haven for bird enthusiasts seeking unforgettable encounters with an array of feathered wonders. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or a curious beginner, join us as we explore some of the finest birdwatching spots in this enchanting state, where every turn of the trail reveals a new and captivating species taking flight against the backdrop of nature’s grandeur.



Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, in Great Falls, Montana, beckons you to a tranquil sanctuary. Abundant wetlands draw a diverse array of bird species, including waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds, offering a birdwatcher’s paradise. Immerse yourself in nature’s beauty and embark on an unforgettable journey at Benton Lake NWR. Let the captivating melodies and breathtaking sights leave you in awe.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge:

  • Rich Birdlife: Benton Lake NWR is a haven for various bird species, from majestic waterfowl to impressive raptors, providing ample opportunities for birdwatching enthusiasts to spot and appreciate diverse feathered wonders.
  • Scenic Wetlands: The refuge’s sprawling wetlands offer a picturesque setting, attracting a myriad of birds that thrive in this unique ecosystem. Witness the harmonious coexistence of wildlife amidst the serene landscapes.
  • Tranquil Sanctuary: Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life as you immerse yourself in the tranquility of Benton Lake NWR. Experience moments of peace and connection with nature, making birdwatching a calming and meditative experience.
  • Unforgettable Sightings: The refuge’s diverse habitats and strategic location along the Pacific Flyway make it a prime spot for bird migrations, promising remarkable seasonal sightings and birdwatching opportunities.
  • Nature’s Symphony: Delight in the symphony of bird songs that fill the air as you explore the refuge. The variety of calls and melodies create a melodious backdrop, elevating the overall birdwatching experience to new heights.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Camera with Zoom Lens, Field Guide, Sturdy Footwear, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Birding Journal


C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge

Step into the captivating wilderness of C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, an unspoiled paradise in Montana. Stretching across vast grasslands, winding rivers, and rugged badlands, this refuge offers a haven for an incredible variety of wildlife. Embrace the untamed beauty and embark on a thrilling adventure, where every turn unveils breathtaking scenes and unforgettable encounters with nature’s finest.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge:

  • Diverse Wildlife: The refuge is home to a wide array of bird species, including raptors, waterfowl, songbirds, and grassland birds, offering an exciting birdwatching experience.
  • Spectacular Scenery: Explore the refuge’s picturesque landscapes, from vast grasslands to scenic rivers and badlands, providing a stunning backdrop for birdwatching enthusiasts.
  • Abundant Habitats: C.M. Russell NWR boasts diverse habitats, attracting migratory birds and providing ample opportunities to observe birds in their natural environments.
  • Rare Bird Sightings: As a vast wilderness area, the refuge may offer sightings of rare or elusive bird species, making each visit a potential encounter with something truly special.
  • Tranquil Escape: Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature as you wander through this unspoiled refuge, enjoying the soothing sounds of birdsong and the sense of serenity it brings.

Recommended Gear: Bird Field Notebook, Insect Repellent, Camping Chairs, Snacks, Bird Call Identifier App, Backpack, Spotting Scope


Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

Escape to Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, a breathtaking sanctuary nestled in the heart of Stevensville, Montana. Embraced by lush wetlands and vibrant ecosystems, this refuge becomes a haven for diverse bird species. Wander through scenic landscapes as the symphony of bird calls fills the air, offering an unforgettable birdwatching experience. Let the beauty of Lee Metcalf NWR captivate your senses.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge:

  • Diverse Birdlife: The refuge’s lush wetlands and varied ecosystems attract a wide array of bird species, from waterfowl to raptors, offering a rich birdwatching experience.
  • Scenic Beauty: Explore the refuge’s picturesque landscapes, including marshes, ponds, and meadows, providing a stunning backdrop for birdwatching enthusiasts.
  • Seasonal Migrations: Lee Metcalf NWR serves as a crucial stopover for migratory birds, offering exciting opportunities to witness their journeys.
  • Peaceful Retreat: Immerse yourself in nature’s tranquility as you wander through this serene sanctuary, creating a sense of calm and connection with the natural world.
  • Educational Opportunities: The refuge provides educational programs and interpretive trails, making it an excellent destination for birdwatchers of all experience levels to learn and appreciate the avian diversity.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Field Guide, Camera, Birding Journal, Hiking Boots, Sun Protection, Water/Snacks


Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area

Uncover the wonders of Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area, a birdwatching haven in Choteau, Montana. As winter’s grasp loosens, this area springs to life with a breathtaking spectacle of migrating waterfowl. Witness thousands of snow geese and tundra swans in a mesmerizing dance across the sky, creating a scene that leaves birdwatchers in awe. Embrace the magic of this seasonal phenomenon at Freezeout Lake WMA.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area:

  • Migratory Spectacle: Experience the awe-inspiring sight of thousands of snow geese and tundra swans as they converge at the lake during their winter migration.
  • Abundant Waterfowl: Freezeout Lake attracts a diverse range of waterfowl species, providing excellent opportunities for birdwatchers to observe and photograph these magnificent birds.
  • Scenic Surroundings: The vast landscapes and serene atmosphere of the area create a peaceful backdrop for a rewarding birdwatching experience.
  • Varied Birdlife: In addition to waterfowl, the management area hosts a variety of other bird species, offering a rich and diverse birdwatching encounter.
  • Year-Round Birding: While winter brings the famous migration, the area’s birdlife remains vibrant throughout the year, making it a compelling destination for birdwatchers in all seasons.

Recommended Gear: Tripod, Folding Chair, Layered Clothing, Insect Repellent, Snacks, Bird Identification App, Backpack


Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Step into the captivating realm of Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Medicine Lake, Montana. Embraced by serene wetlands and sprawling prairies, this refuge becomes a sanctuary for diverse bird species. Birdwatchers can delight in the sight of waterfowl, shorebirds, and prairie birds amidst picturesque landscapes. Immerse yourself in the tranquility and discover the captivating beauty of Medicine Lake NWR.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge:

  • Diverse Birdlife: The refuge’s wetlands and prairies attract a wide range of bird species, offering abundant opportunities for birdwatchers to spot and observe various feathered wonders.
  • Scenic Landscapes: Explore the picturesque landscapes of Medicine Lake NWR, where the serene wetlands and expansive prairies provide a stunning backdrop for birdwatching enthusiasts.
  • Migratory Hotspot: As a vital stopover for migratory birds, the refuge provides exceptional chances to witness impressive seasonal bird migrations.
  • Rare Species Sightings: Birdwatchers may have the chance to spot rare or elusive bird species, making each visit to Medicine Lake NWR a thrilling and rewarding experience.
  • Tranquil Retreat: Immerse yourself in the peaceful surroundings of the refuge, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and enjoy the calming and rejuvenating experience of birdwatching in nature.

Recommended Gear: Spotting Scope, Birding Journal, Binocular Harness, Tripod, Sun Hat, Bug Spray, Snacks/Water


Bitterroot Valley

Experience the breathtaking Bitterroot Valley, a picturesque region in Western Montana. This enchanting valley is a haven for birdwatchers, offering diverse habitats, from lush forests to fertile meadows and flowing rivers. Immerse yourself in its natural beauty and encounter a myriad of bird species, making it a captivating destination for birdwatching enthusiasts.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Bitterroot Valley:

  • Diverse Habitats: The valley’s varied landscapes, including forests, meadows, and rivers, attract a wide range of bird species, creating excellent birdwatching opportunities.
  • Abundance of Birdlife: Bitterroot Valley is home to a rich diversity of birds, from songbirds to raptors, providing birdwatchers with an exciting array of sightings.
  • Scenic Beauty: Explore the picturesque scenery as you venture through the valley, making birdwatching a delightful experience amidst nature’s splendor.
  • Migratory Hotspot: The valley serves as a vital stopover for migratory birds, offering a chance to witness seasonal bird migrations and the changing avian landscape.
  • Tranquil Environment: Immerse yourself in the valley’s tranquil ambiance, where the peaceful surroundings and soothing sounds of nature create a serene setting for birdwatching.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Camera with Zoom Lens, Field Guide, Hiking Boots, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Birding Journal


Giant Springs State Park

Explore the wonders of Giant Springs State Park, a magnificent natural oasis in Montana. This pristine park boasts a series of stunning freshwater springs and the mighty Missouri River, creating a haven for diverse birdlife. Wander through its picturesque trails, where you can spot various bird species amid lush greenery and serene waters. Embrace the tranquility and immerse yourself in the beauty of Giant Springs State Park.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Giant Springs State Park:

  • Rich Avian Diversity: The park’s diverse habitats, including springs and the Missouri River, attract a wide array of bird species, providing ample birdwatching opportunities.
  • Scenic Landscapes: Giant Springs State Park offers picturesque trails with lush greenery and serene waters, creating a beautiful setting for birdwatchers to observe and enjoy birds in their natural environment.
  • Waterfowl Haven: With freshwater springs and the Missouri River, the park becomes a prime spot for observing various waterfowl species, adding to the birdwatching experience.
  • Peaceful Environment: Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the park’s natural surroundings, where the serene ambiance allows for peaceful birdwatching and moments of connection with nature.
  • Educational Experience: Alongside birdwatching, the park provides opportunities for learning and understanding various bird behaviors and habitats, making it an enriching experience for birdwatchers of all levels.

Recommended Gear: Binocular Harness, Hiking Shoes, Water Bottle, Hiking Hat, Field Journal, Tripod, Binoculars


Missouri Headwaters State Park

Step into the captivating Missouri Headwaters State Park, an enchanting destination in Montana. Here, the Madison, Jefferson, and Gallatin Rivers converge, forming the mighty Missouri River. Amidst this dynamic confluence lies a diverse array of birdlife, attracting birdwatching enthusiasts to its picturesque landscapes. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the park and embark on a birdwatching journey like no other.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Missouri Headwaters State Park:

  • Unique Confluence: The park’s setting at the junction of the Madison, Jefferson, and Gallatin Rivers creates a dynamic environment that attracts a variety of bird species, making it a captivating destination for birdwatchers.
  • Abundant Birdlife: Explore the park’s diverse habitats, from riverbanks to wetlands, providing ample opportunities to observe and appreciate a wide array of bird species.
  • Scenic Surroundings: Missouri Headwaters State Park offers picturesque landscapes and serene waters, enhancing the birdwatching experience amidst natural beauty.
  • Raptor Sightings: The park’s diverse ecosystem draws raptors, presenting chances to witness these majestic birds of prey in action.
  • Historic Significance: Birdwatchers can enjoy a blend of history and nature, as the park marks the beginning of the longest river in North America, the iconic Missouri River.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Camera with Zoom Lens, Field Guide, Sturdy Hiking Shoes, Water Bottle/Snacks, Sun Protection, Birding Journal


Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge

Step into the enchanting Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge, a pristine sanctuary in Montana. This refuge is a haven for diverse bird species, offering a tapestry of habitats, from wetlands to grasslands. Wander through its picturesque trails, where you can witness a myriad of birdlife and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that Bowdoin NWR has to offer.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge:

  • Rich Avian Diversity: The refuge’s varied habitats, including wetlands and grasslands, attract a wide range of bird species, providing abundant birdwatching opportunities.
  • Scenic Landscapes: Bowdoin NWR offers picturesque trails with stunning views, creating a beautiful backdrop for birdwatchers to observe and enjoy birds in their natural environment.
  • Migratory Stopover: The refuge serves as a crucial stopover for migratory birds, offering exciting chances to witness seasonal bird migrations and the changing avian population.
  • Rare Sightings: Birdwatchers may have the opportunity to spot rare or elusive bird species, adding to the excitement and rewards of birdwatching at Bowdoin NWR.
  • Tranquil Escape: Immerse yourself in the refuge’s serene ambiance, where the tranquil surroundings and sounds of nature provide a peaceful and immersive birdwatching experience.

Recommended Gear: Spotting Scope, Birding Journal, Binocular Harness, Tripod, Sun Hat, Bug Spray, Snacks/Water


Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge

Embark on a birdwatching adventure at Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge, an enchanting destination in Montana. With its diverse wetlands, marshes, and grasslands, this refuge becomes a haven for a myriad of bird species. Witness majestic waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds amidst scenic landscapes. Immerse yourself in the serenity of Ninepipe NWR and be enchanted by the captivating avian wonders it offers.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge:

  • Diverse Birdlife: The refuge’s varied habitats, including wetlands and grasslands, attract a wide range of bird species, providing abundant birdwatching opportunities.
  • Majestic Waterfowl: Witness the impressive gatherings of waterfowl, including ducks and geese, as they thrive in the refuge’s wetland environments.
  • Scenic Landscapes: Ninepipe NWR offers picturesque views, making birdwatching a delightful experience amidst nature’s beauty.
  • Raptors in Action: The refuge is home to various raptors, providing chances to observe these magnificent birds of prey in action.
  • Educational Experience: Birdwatchers can enjoy learning about the diverse avian species and their unique behaviors, making it an enriching experience for all nature enthusiasts.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Field Guide, Hiking Boots, Camera, Sun Protection, Insect Repellent, Water Bottle/Snacks


Related Posts:

Woman relaxing in canvas tipi on glamping trip in Glacier National Park, Montana

Best Glamping in Montana

Indulge in the ultimate blend of rugged wilderness and upscale comfort as we delve into the realm of Montana’s finest glamping destinations. If your idea

Photo of desert bird taken in Arizona in the summer season

Best Bird Watching in Arizona

Arizona, a state renowned for its stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity, stands as a premier destination for bird watching enthusiasts. With its diverse ecosystems ranging

Close-up of a blue jay bird perching on a branch in Indiana

Best Bird Watching in Indiana

Birdwatching in Indiana offers a captivating and enriching experience for nature enthusiasts. The state is home to a variety of exceptional birdwatching spots, making it