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Presettlement Wildlife and Habitat of Montana:
An Overview


Annotation Of Expeditions And Individuals Recording Natural History Notes


Northern Boundary Commission, 1873-1874:

The Northern Boundary Commission survey charted the United States/Canadian border from the Red River in North Dakota to the Continental Divide in Montana. Ornithologist Dr. Elliott Coues was surgeon/naturalist for the expedition both years. In 1873, Coues confined his work to the 49th parallel between the Red and Souris Rivers in North Dakota. The following year he left from Fort Buford, at the mouth of the Yellowstone River, and traveled northwesterly to the 49th parallel, reaching it at Frenchman River around 4 July 1874 (Figure 23). The remainder of the summer he collected and observed wildlife as he traveled west along the 49th parallel up to Waterton Lake, at which point he turned southeast to Fort Benton, and then down the Missouri River. Coues' ability to observe and record aspects of natural history were unsurpassed and his observations of this region are extremely valuable.


Bibliography:
Coues, E. 1874.  Birds of the Northwest. [Does not include specific 
     information on Montana, but gives excellent habitat and life history  
     information on specific bird species in 1874.]

Coues, E.  1874.  On the nesting of certain hawks, etc.  Amer. 	Nat. 
     8:596-603.  [Observations on the nesting of the ferruginous hawk, and 
     prairie and peregrine falcons along the Milk River.]  

Coues, E.  1875.  On breeding of certain birds.  Amer. Nat. 9:75-78.

Coues. E.  1875.  The prairie gopher.  Amer. Nat. 9:147-156.  [This paper 
     deals with the Richardson's ground squirrel in Montana.  Among other 
     things, Coues notes that they scavenged extensively on bison 
     carcasses.]

Coues, E.  1877.  Fur bearing animals: a monograph of North American 
     Mustelidae.  Dept. of Interior.  USGS Misc. Publ. 8:149-153. [Reports 
     on a ferret taken along the Milk River.]

Coues, E.  1878.  Field notes on birds observed in Dakota and Montana 
     along the forty-ninth parallel during the seasons of 1873 and 1874.  
     Article XXV. Pages 545-661 in Bull. of the U.S. Geological and 
     Geographical Survey Vol. IV.  U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington.

Dawson, G.M.  1875.  Report on the geology and resources of the region in 
     the vicinity of the forty-ninth parallel, from the Lake of the Woods 
     to the Rocky Mountains with lists of plants and animals collected and 
     notes on the fossils.  North American Boundary Commission.  1872-1875.

Jordan, D.S.  1891.  Report on the collection of fishes made by Dr. 
     Elliott Coues U.S.A. in Dakota and Montana during the seasons of 1873 
     and 1874.  Bull. U.S. Geol. and Geog. Surv. of the Territories (F.V. 
     Hayden in charge), 4(4):777-799.

Twinning, W.J.  1877.  Survey of the northern boundary of the United 
     States form the Lake of the Woods to the summit of the Rocky 
     Mountains.  Senate Ex. Doc. 41, 44th Congress, 2nd session.


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