MTPR

Bitterroot mountains

Clark's Nutcracker
Ryan Mitchell (CC-BY-2.0)

As a bird biologist who studies bird songs, I immediately recognize most sounds I come across in nature: the winnowing of a Wilson’s Snipe, the smack of a Dark-eyed Junco, the zee-chubbity-chub of a Rufous Hummingbird, just to name a few. For me it is a matrix of sound, as diverse and varied as the surrounding landscape. When I hear a strange sound in nature, I can’t give up until I determine its source.

'Field Notes:' Glaciers 101

Nov 4, 2018
Scientists measuring the terminus of Grinnell Glacier, in Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park

Glaciers: they are sculptors, carvers and artists. When the Bitterroot Mountains, the Missions and the Rockies were raised from the floor of the ocean it was the glaciers that came behind, crawling over the surface, grinding and eroding the face of the land.

Are You Mis-Using These Common Tree Terms?

Sep 23, 2018
Some write of “conifers and deciduous trees” as if they are somehow different. But, of course, when describing trees the words coniferous and deciduous may be distinctions without a difference.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-2.0)

As I split and stacked my winter firewood this fall in preparation for the long nights to come, trees in the surrounding forest were also preparing for winter. While I watched their leaves turning yellow along the flank of the Bitterroot Mountains, I found myself considering the confusing terms people use to describe those trees. In particular, folks tend to mix up perfectly good words in ways that leave me more befuddled than enlightened.

Fire Danger moved to "Extreme" in much of western Montana this week.
Josh Burnham

A wildfire burning north of Hot Springs on the Flathead Reservation grew substantially over the past 24 hours, leading to the evacuation of one home.

The Garden Creek Fire is now listed at over 1,840 acres. According to Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal fire prevention specialist CT Camel, that’s a 1,300-acre growth spurt since yesterday.

Flickr user, Jason Hollinger (CC-BY-2.0)

Recently, the work of lichenologist Toby Spribille, a research professor based part-year at the University of Montana-Missoula, has upended the idea that lichen are an alliance between just one fungus and one algae. In many lichens, a mysterious yeast is the third player in this symbiosis. 

Excerpt From GRIZZLY WEST, By Michael J. Dax

Jun 10, 2016
University of Nebraska Press

The meeting room was crowded and restless when Bitterroot Valley resident Dennis Palmer rose from his seat and declared, “We don’t want the doggone bears.”  This bold declaration, while representing the sentiments of many attending the public meeting in small, conservative Hamilton, Montana, was more measured than others.  Long-time resident Robert Norton confidently stated, “Women and children are going to be killed and maimed.”  During a similar meeting held in Hamilton two years later, an opponent of grizzly reintroduction read aloud the pathology report of a woman who had been mauled by a grizzly bear in Glacier National Park and displayed a picture of the mangled body for everyone to see. Another positively asserted that people “would rather reintroduce rattlesnakes and water moccasins than grizzly bears.”  Histrionics reached an apex when one local resident lifted his young daughter above his head in the middle of the meeting room.  Everyone’s eyes turned toward the young girl as her father announced to the room that she would be bear bait if the federal government reintroduced grizzlies.  In High Country News, a reporter summed up the frenetic atmosphere of a meeting in rural Salmon, Idaho, which was similar to the other six meetings held across Montana and Idaho in October, 1997, by wryly observing, “Big, stout fully grown men displayed the kind of hostility and fear bordering on panic that, when voiced by women, is usually dismissed as hysteria.”