Bitterroot Audubon Society has created its 2018 calendar with beautiful photographs of birds in the Bitterroot Valley, details about the birds and children’s drawings of different species.
The calendars will be at their booth at the Hamilton Farmers Market beginning July 1, at Stevensville Farmers Market beginning July 8, and in various stores in Hamilton and Stevensville.
Bitterroot Audubon Society members Susan Nelson, Mike Daniels, Becky Peters, Sara Ashline, Kay Fulton and Jim Story produced the calendar.
“It was much more of a project than I anticipated,” Nelson said.
The group put the word out through their website, the Ravalli Republic and the Bitterroot Audubon newsletter listing the priority bird images sought.
Local photographers responded by submitting images of more than 400 local birds.
The Bitterroot Audubon Society selected images for inclusion in the calendar using high standards and strict criteria. The main photos were chosen for their photographic quality, ease of bird identification – from the tips of their beaks to tips of their tails – sharpness of image, interesting composition, and natural habitat. They also looked for birds that have not been featured in the calendar in the past and “catch light in the eye,” said Peters.
“We also try to get birds for the months that they will be around here,” Daniels said.
In the back of the calendar are some bird species they have previously used.
“We have a challenge page and we received a lot of baby bird pictures, so we made a baby page – a ‘Fledglings Challenge,’” Peters said.
Baby birds can be difficult to identify because plumage, final shapes and colors have not developed.
The group also likes to use a variety of photographers.
“We have 20 photographers and had a photographer party last week to celebrate the calendar,” Peters said.
Each month tells the description of the main bird, as written by retired Montana State University Extension Agent Jim Story; a place to write sightings; information about birds in general in that month; and children’s artwork.
The group gathers art from local fourth grade school children. This year they featured students at Stevensville Middle School.
“Susan and I took packets of information of what we are looking for, drawing paper, sample cards of possible birds they might like to draw and permission…