USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Bird Checklists of the United States

Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

Stevensville, Montana


Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge lies in the heart of the beautiful and historic Bitterroot Valley, 25 miles south of Missoula. Cradled between two mountain ranges, the rugged Bitterroots to the west and the Sapphires to the east, the Refuge setting is truly spectacular. Established in 1963, this 2,800 acre Refuge was purchased with funds generated from the sale of duck stamps. Formerly called Ravalli, the name was changed to commemorate the late Senator Metcalf's lifelong commitment to conservation.

The diverse blend of habitats has created a productive and scenic area. The Refuge interior consists of deep, fertile marshes, wet meadows, forested river bottoms of ponderosa pine and cottonwoods, uplands, and some croplands. The Bitterroot River flows along the western border. Surrounding the Refuge, rangelands, croplands and orchards are abundant within the valley floor. To the west lies the 1.2 million-acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness area with its unique complex of forests, jagged peaks, steep canyons, mountain streams, and lakes. To the east, the grassy foothills, brushlands, and forests of the Sapphires completes the habitat mosaic.

The entire valley enjoys relatively mild weather. Located at 3,300 feet elevation, annual precipitation averages about 12 inches. The Refuge has an ample groundwater supply and usually receives abundant streamflow from surrounding mountains. This water is captured in a series of man-made impoundments providing a chain of ponds and sloughs which attract wildlife. All of these factors contribute to the variety of birds which utilize the Refuge throughout the year.

Visitor access within the refuge is restricted to minimize disturbance to wildlife, particularly nesting waterfowl and osprey. Wildfowl Lane, a county road, bisects the lower half of the Refuge and provides excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities. Access to the picnic area and the Bitterroot River is by foot, 1/4 mile from the parking lot.

A total of 235 species of birds have been recorded on the Refuge; of these, 106 species are confirmed nesters and 17 species are accidental visitors.


Species nesting on the refuge are followed by a "*".

       HABITAT                                SEASON
f - forested river bottoms              Sp - March-May
g - grasslands/fields                   S - June-August
h - hedgerows/shrubs                    F - September-November
m - marshes                             W - December-February
o - open mudflats
p - ponds/open water
r - river

              RELATIVE ABUNDANCE
a - abundant: a species which is very numerous
c - common: likely to be seen or heard in suitable habitat
o - occasional: seen few times during a season
u - uncommon: present, but not certain to be seen
r - rarely seen


LOONS, GREBES HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Common Loon p r - r - ___ Pied-billed Grebe* mp c c u u ___ Horned Grebe p o o r - ___ Red-necked Grebe* p o - r - ___ Eared Grebe* p o r r - ___ Western Grebe p o r r r ___ Clark's Grebe p r - - -
PELICAN, CORMORANT HABITAT Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican p r - - - ___ Double-crested Cormorant* p c c u -
BITTERNS, HERONS, AND IBIS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ American Bittern* m u u u - ___ Great Blue Heron* gmpr c c c c ___ Great Egret mop accidental ___ Snowy Egret gmo accidental ___ Cattle Egret gmo accidental ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* mop r r - - ___ White-faced Ibis gop r - - -
SWANS, GEESE, DUCKS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan p c - u r ___ Trumpeter Swan p o r - r ___ Greater White-fronted Goose gp r - - - ___ Snow Goose gp c - o - ___ Ross' Goose gp c - u - ___ Canada Goose* gmopr a a a c ___ Wood Duck* fmp c c c r ___ Green-winged Teal* gmop c c u o ___ American Black Duck gmop accidental ___ Mallard* gmopr a c a c ___ Northern Pintail* gmop c o u u ___ Blue-winged Teal* gmop c c u - ___ Cinnamon Teal* gmop a a u - ___ Northern Shoveler* mp c o o r ___ Gadwall* mp u u u r ___ Eurasian Wigeon p o - - - ___ American Wigeon* p a u c u ___ Canvasback* p u r u r ___ Redhead* p c c u r ___ Ring-necked Duck* mp c u o o ___ Greater Scaup p r - r - ___ Lesser Scaup* mp u o u o ___ Oldsquaw p accidental ___ White-winged Scoter p r - r - ___ Common Goldeneye* pr c r c u ___ Barrow's Goldeneye pr u - r o ___ Bufflehead* mpr u u u u ___ Hooded Merganser* p c u c r ___ Common Merganser* fpr c c c u ___ Red-breasted Merganser p r - - - ___ Ruddy Duck* mp c u u r
VULTURE HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture g u u u -
OSPREY, EAGLES, HAWKS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Osprey* mp c c u - ___ Bald Eagle* fgp u r u c ___ Northern Harrier* gm c c c u ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk fh o o o o ___ Cooper's Hawk fh o o o o ___ Northern Goshawk fh o - - o ___ Swainson's Hawk g r - r - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* fg c c c u ___ Rough-legged Hawk g u - u c ___ Golden Eagle g o o u c ___ American Kestrel* g c c c r ___ Merlin g o - - o ___ Peregrine Falcon gm o r o o ___ Gyrfalcon gm accidental ___ Prairie Falcon g o r - o
PARTRIDGE, PHEASANT, GROUSE HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Gray Partridge g o o o o ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* ghm a a a a ___ Ruffed Grouse* f u u u u
RAILS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Virginia Rail* m u u u r ___ Sora* m u u u r ___ American Coot* mp a a a u
CRANE HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane* gm o o o r
PLOVERS, STILTS, AVOCET HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover o o - o - ___ American Golden Plover o - - r - ___ Semipalmated Plover o c - o - ___ Killdeer* gor a a a u ___ Black-necked Stilt o r r - - ___ American Avocet* go o o o -
SANDPIPERS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs o o r o - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs or o r c - ___ Solitary Sandpiper o r - o - ___ Willet go r o - - ___ Spotted Sandpiper or u c u r ___ Whimbrel o r - r - ___ Long-billed Curlew go o o - - ___ Marbled Godwit o r o - - ___ Sanderling o r r r - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper o o o o - ___ Western Sandpiper o o o o - ___ Least Sandpiper o c o o - ___ White-rumped Sandpiper o - - r - ___ Baird's Sandpiper o o c c - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper o r c c - ___ Dunlin o r - - r ___ Stilt Sandpiper o r - r - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher o accidental ___ Long-billed Dowitcher o c c c - ___ Ruddy Turnstone o - r - -
SNIPE, PHALAROPES HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Common Snipe* mo c c c r ___ Wilson's Phalarope* go c c c - ___ Red-necked Phalarope p c - c -
GULLS, TERNS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Franklin's Gull gp o - o - ___ Bonaparte's Gull p o - o - ___ Ring-billed Gull gp o r r r ___ California Gull gp o - - - ___ Herring Gull gp accidental ___ Caspian Tern p r r - - ___ Common Tern p r r - - ___ Forster's Tern p o r r - ___ Black Tern mp u o u -
DOVES, CUCKOOS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove s u u u u ___ Mourning Dove* fg c c c - ___ Black-billed Cuckoo h r - - - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo h accidental
OWLS, NIGHTJARS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Flammulated Owl f r r - - ___ Western Screech-Owl* f u u u u ___ Great Horned Owl* f u u u u ___ Snowy Owl g accidental ___ Northern Pygmy-Owl f u u u u ___ Burrowing Owl g - r - - ___ Great Gray Owl fg - - - r ___ Long-eared Owl* h u u u r ___ Short-eared Owl g r r o o ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl f u u u u ___ Common Nighthawk* fmop - c c -
SWIFTS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Black Swift mop o o o - ___ Vaux's Swift* fo o o - - ___ White-throated Swift o o o - -
HUMMINGBIRDS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Black-chinned Hummingbird fh u u u - ___ Calliope Hummingbird* fh u u u - ___ Rufous Hummingbird* fh u u u -
KINGFISHER HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* p c c c u
WOODPECKERS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Lewis' Woodpecker* f u u u - ___ Red-naped Sapsucker* f u u u - ___ Downy Woodpecker* fh c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* f u u c c ___ Northern Flicker* f c c c u ___ Pileated Woodpecker* f u u u u
FLYCATCHERS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher f - o - - ___ Western Wood-Pewee* f u c - - ___ Willow Flycatcher* h u c - - ___ Least Flycatcher f u u - - ___ Dusky Flycatcher f u u - - ___ Western Flycatcher* f u u - - ___ Say's Phoebe g - u - - ___ Western Kingbird* fgh u u u - ___ Eastern Kingbird* gh c c u -
LARK HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark g - - - u
SWALLOWS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Tree Swallow* fgmop c c c - ___ Violet-green Swallow mop u o o - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* gop c o o - ___ Bank Swallow* gmop c o o - ___ Cliff Swallow* gmop c o o - ___ Barn Swallow* gmop c c o -
JAYS, CROWS, RAVENS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Steller's Jay f - - - r ___ Pinyon Jay fg accidental ___ Clark's Nutcracker f - r r r ___ Black-billed Magpie* fghmop a a a a ___ American Crow* g o o o o ___ Common Raven g u u u u
CHICKADEES, NUTHATCHES, CREEPER HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* fh c c c c ___ Mountain Chickadee f - - - o ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch* f u u u u ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* f c c c c ___ Pygmy Nuthatch* f o o o o ___ Brown Creeper* f o o o o
WRENS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ House Wren* fh u c u - ___ Winter Wren h u u u u ___ Marsh Wren* m c c c r
DIPPER HABITAT Sp S F W ___ American Dipper r u u u u
KINGLETS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet f u u u o ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet f u u u r
BLUEBIRDS, THRUSHES HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Mountain Bluebird* g u u - - ___ Townsend's Solitaire fh u u u u ___ Veery* f r o o - ___ Swainson's Thrush f o - o - ___ American Robin* fghr a a a u ___ Varied Thrush pr r - r - ___ Hermit Thrush* f r r - -
THRASHERS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird* h u u - - ___ Sage Thrasher gh accidental
PIPIT HABITAT Sp S F W ___ American Pipit m o - o -
WAXWINGS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing fh o - o u ___ Cedar Waxwing* fh o o o o
SHRIKES HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike ho r - r u ___ Loggerhead Shrike fgh r - r -
STARLING HABITAT Sp S F W ___ European Starling* f a a a u
VIREOS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Solitary Vireo* f o o - - ___ Warbling Vireo* fh o o - - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* f o o - -
WARBLERS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Orange-crowned Warbler fh r - - - ___ Nashville Warbler h r r - - ___ Yellow Warbler* h c c c - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler* fh o o o - ___ Townsend's Warbler fh r r - - ___ Blackpoll Warbler fh accidental ___ Black-and-white Warbler f r - - - ___ American Redstart* fh o o - - ___ Northern Waterthrush* hm o o o - ___ Macgillivray's Warbler* h o o o - ___ Common Yellowthroat* hm c c c - ___ Wilson's Warbler fh u - - - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat f - r - -
TANAGERS, GROSBEAKS, HABITAT Sp S F W BUNTINGS, TOWHEE ___ Western Tanager f u u o - ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak f accidental ___ Black-headed Grosbeak* f u u - - ___ Lazuli Bunting gh u u - - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* h u u r -
SPARROWS HABITAT Sp S F W ___ American Tree Sparrow gh u - r c ___ Chipping Sparrow* f u u u - ___ Vesper Sparrow* g r u - - ___ Savannah Sparrow* g u u u - ___ Le Conte's Sparrow m - - r - ___ Song Sparrow* ghm c c c c ___ Lincoln's Sparrow h - - o - ___ Swamp Sparrow m - - - r ___ White-crowned Sparrow gh o - u - ___ Harris' Sparrow gh o - o r ___ Dark-eyed Junco* fgh u u u u
BLACKBIRDS, ORIOLES HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Bobolink g u u u - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* ghm a a a c ___ Western Meadowlark* gh c c c u ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* ghm a a c r ___ Rusty Blackbird gh accidental ___ Brewer's Blackbird* gh u u u - ___ Common Grackle ghm accidental ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* fgh c c u - ___ Northern Oriole* f u u - -
FINCHES HABITAT Sp S F W ___ Pine Grosbeak f r - r u ___ House Finch g u u u u ___ Red Crossbill f u u - r ___ Common Redpoll gh u - - o ___ Pine Siskin f o o - o ___ American Goldfinch* gh u u u u ___ Evening Grosbeak f o o o o ___ House Sparrow gh u u u u

Acknowledgment for their contribution in compiling this birdlist:
                 US Forest Service - Stevensville Ranger Station
                 Keith Boggs - Artwork
                 Local area birders
                 Bitterroot Audubon
For further information contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge
                 PO Box 257
                 Stevensville, Montana 59870
                 Telephone: 406/777-5552
This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1991.  Birds of Lee Metcalf National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Montana.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1991.  Birds of Lee Metcalf National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Montana.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govmetcalf.htm   
     (Version 22MAY98).

Return to Bird Checklists of Montana
Return to Bird Checklists of the United States

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/chekbird/r6/metcalf.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 19:00:55 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww55]