A yellow-breasted chat uses the shrubby habitat in lower Whaley Draw. Debbie Leick recognized the bird on June 1rst and then spotted it again the next two days. Debbie was able to see and photograph a standard US Fish and Wildlife Service metal band on the chat's right leg. We suspect that this individual may have been banded last year by the Avian Science Center on our northern floodplain. Yellow-breasted chats are more common in eastern Montana than in the western half of the state. We hope this one has a successful breeding season.
Kate graduated from Middlebury College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Conservation Biology in 2000. She pursued a M.S. in Forestry at the University of Montana where her thesis focused on the habitat associations of snowshoe hares on U.S. National Forest land in Western Montana. After completing her M.S. degree in 2003, Kate alternated between various field biology jobs in the summer and writing for the U.S. Forest Service in the winter. Her fieldwork included projects on small mammal response to weed invasions, the response of bird communities to bark beetle outbreaks and targeted surveys for species of concern like the black-backed woodpecker and the Northern goshawk. Writing topics ranged from the ecology and management of western larch to the impacts of fuels reduction on riparian areas.
Kate coordinates bird-related research at the MPG Ranch. She is involved in both original research and facilitating the use of the Ranch as a study site for outside researchers. Additionally, Kate is the field trip coordinator and website manager for the Bitterroot Audubon Society. She also enjoys gardening and biking in her spare time.