La grande dimensione ed estensione del Montana rende questo Stato dimora di un eco sistema diversificato, che ospita una varietà di flora e fauna.
Potremmo fare una lunga lista, ma basti solo dire che esistono 427 specie di uccelli, 14 anfibi e 20 rettili, 19 specie di grandi mammiferi e 96 di piccoli mammiferi. Per l’appassionato di pesci si contano
almeno 31 pesci per la pesca sportiva e 59 allo stato libero.
Il Western Meadowlark – Sturnella neglecta – è l’uccello simbolo dello stato del Montana.
La Mountain Goat – Oreamnos americanus – meglio conosciuta come Rocky Mountain Goat é una “capra di montagna” che si trova solo in Nord America, ma nonostante il suo nome vernacolare non appartiene alla famiglia delle capre, bensì alla famiglia dei bovini. Si trova in alta montagna, tra picchi e vette, abile scalatore ed arrampicatore, spesso in fase di riposo in luoghi ove difficilmente possono giungere predatori. E’ in assoluto il simbolo del Glacier National Park del Montana.
Sempre in tema di animali simbolo, l’orso grizzly è il simbolo dello Stato del Montana: Ursus arctos horribilis. E’ il più grande carnivoro del Nord America. Può raggiungere, in piedi, fino a 2,4 metri d’altezza e pesare 680 kg. Corre ad una velocità di 56 km. Occhio quindi! L’animale è omnivoro e si nutre di una varietà di piante, bacche, radici e licheni, ma anche insetti, pesci e piccoli mammiferi. Prima dell’inverno aggiunge centinaia di chili di grasso per affrontare il letargo. Il grizzly è considerato una sottospecie dell’orso bruno e differisce per la dimensione, le grandi zampe ed il profilo concavo del muso. Ha anche la caratteristica di una grande gobba sul dorso, un ammasso di muscoli che usa per scavare. Gli esperti ritengono che esistano meno di 1000 esemplari negli USA occidentali. Infatti, è nella lista delle specie a rischio estinzione sia in Nord America sia in Canada. Il Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center a West Yellowstone offre ai visitatori l’opportunità unica di apprendere, vedere e apprezzare tutto sull’orso grizzly e sul lupo grigio grazie ad una vasta serie di programmi educativi ed alle esposizioni. Aperto tutto l’anno, si trova in prossimità dall’entrata ovest dello Yellowstone National Park nel Montana.
Le Pryor Mountain serbano il fascino di una piccola mandria di cavalli selvaggi: i Mustangs delle Pryor Mountain. Le Pryor si trovano sul confine tra il Montana ed il Wyoming. La terra è aspra, con elevazioni tra i 1.200 ed i 2.400 metri. Il paesaggio si presenta con vaste praterie, campi, alberi e deserto arido. Il clima d’inverno è assai rigido mentre le estati sono molto calde e secche. Si presume che i cavalli siano d’origine spagnola, come emerge da studi genetici eseguiti nel corso di lunghi anni. Se vi capitasse di vederli, trovereste delle corrispondenze nel mantello con la razza europea di lignaggio spagnolo. Si pensa che questi cavalli siano scappati da mandrie originali appartenenti ai Nativi, e che alla fine abbiano trovato in questa zona il luogo più sicuro per vivere in libertà. Come per molte altre mandrie di cavalli allo stato brado, i Mustang delle Pryor vivono in gruppi di famiglie.
Infine, a titolo di curiosità: i cigni trombettieri al Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge sono i più grandi uccelli acquatici del Nord America, raggiungendo fino a 11 kg; s’accoppiano per la vita e vivono fino a 30 anni!
Miriadi sono quindi le opportunità per avvistare ed ammirare la fauna nel Montana.
La Bob Marshall Wilderness Area (nel nord ovest dello stato) ad esempio racchiude tre aree selvatiche: Bob Marshall, Scapegoat e Great Bear. Il nome deriva da Bob Marshall che fu esperto forestale, pioniere della conservazione e co-fondatore della Wilderness Society. E’ uno degli ecosistemi di montagna più completi e preservati al mondo, il genere di area selvatica che chiunque possa immaginare: aspre vette, laghi alpine, cascate, prati verdeggianti abbelliti da ruscelli vivaci, foreste di conifere troneggianti e grandi valli fluviali. La zona selvatica che include la North e South Forks del Sun River e la Middle e South Forks del Flathead River, scorre per 96 km lungo il Continental Divide – lo Spartiacque Occidentale.
Plurimi i musei di storia naturale e diversi i rifugi, le riserve e i centri di recupero. Aggiungete al vostro itinerario di viaggio ampio tempo da dedicare a quest’aspetto quanto mai affascinate dell’esperienza di viaggio nel Montana!
NATIONAL BISON RANGE REFUGE
The National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge is located just south of S Alish Mountains near Moiese , Montana. The “Bison Range” is administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Currently the reserve sustains from 350 to 500 bison.
It was created in 1908 and is one of the oldest wildlife reserves of the USA. It consists of more than 7,000 hectares and is home to over 200 species of bird life as well as bison, deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, white-tailed deer, mule deer and black bears.
When we speak of bison, we speak of ‘ American Bison , because the buffalo is found in Africa – the Cape Buffalo – or the water buffalo in Asia; the American Bison was called “Buffalo” in a long time so that today the names are interchangeable. The European relative is the European bison, rare species, which survives in small numbers in some European reserves. The b isonte adapts to life in the grasslands; the thick coat protects it from the summer sun is from winter winds. The thick winter coat is well insulated so that the snow can remain on the back without melting.
Animal strong, sturdy beast that does not suffer in the wilderness. Brucellosis that is attributed to the herds of bison, actually is a cattle disease that has been passed in some areas to bison. The herd of Bison Range à vaccinated against this disease and alter in cattle and is certified free of brucellosis.
The bison is unpredictable and can be very dangerous. Appiano slow and docile, but they are agile and can run as fast as a horse. The Bison queue can often become an alarm system. If it falls loose and naturally turn it means that the animal is undisturbed and peaceful. If she is tense and extends outside it means that the animal is noticeably agitated. If the tail is stiff upwards, it means that the bison is ready for the post and that there should be located well elsewhere, but avoid run!
The male bison weighs about 907 kg, has heavy horns and a large hump of muscle that supports the huge head and the thick skull. The bison has a thick shaggy coat on the head and a thick mantle, even in summer. This emphasizes the tonnage as well as protect the struggles. E ‘often in a bad mood and roaring and fighting during the mating season, from mid July throughout August.
The females weigh as much as the males, the horns are more close together and arched. Those of older females meet on the head. The hump of muscle is smaller and softer disgruntled mantle. The young are born from mid-April to May , they are reddish in color during the first months. Females are very protective of puppies and can become very dangerous, most of the male, when they have a little to the right side. Just for the open prairie grazing the Bison Range is a great place for the public to observe and photograph the wild fauna. There are ring route to be made by car and walking routes.
Be careful when visiting the Bison Range There are wild animals: not push them together if you’re walking or you risk being injured. Pay attention along the route on foot since the Bison Range is where live the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake rattlesnake. This is a very rare and unique area, since the majority of rattlesnakes is located east of the Continental Divide Western Continental Divide of the Great Plains. The North West of Montana has several huts of wildlife – Wildlife Refuges – and of aquatic bird protection areas – Waterfowl Protection Areas – designated to protect the multitude of Canadian geese, mallards, pochards testarossa, pintails, American wigeon, the spoonbills north, teal with blue and green wings . Other land volativi such as pheasant and gray partridge nest in this area, as well as numerous songbirds. This area also protects the peregrine falcon . It ‘a strong focus area for nesting as well as winter migration of hawks of various other species.
Make spotting wildlife in their natural environment is one of the best experiences in southwestern Montana . In this area there are many nature reserves . These are part of a national network of protected public lands for the conservation of fish, wildlife and flora. Then make a lovely day out in one of these reserves and you can not only do special meetings, but also to photograph a variety of animal species. The nature here is at its best!
BLACKFOOT WATERFOWL PRODUCTION AREA – Ovando
The Brown Lake is a shallow lake and production of about 200 hectares. Surrounded by clumps of sagebrush and aspen. It ‘a place that offers both guaranteed sightings of bald eagles, ospreys both, especially in spring, and in general of water birds. The swamp in the northeastern corner of the lake is a good place to spot the American avocet, the Canadian goose blackbird with a yellow head, the sandhill crane, common loon, American white pelican, and Bartramia longicaudia. the common loons, American white pelicans, and upland sandpipers are Often seen here in the spring. The black tern nests in Browns Lake. Most of the avifauna is easily observed by a dirt road that half goes around the lake. In summer a walk on top of the Marcum Mountain, north of Montana Highway 200, offers an interpretative Terrace and can meet the determined hiker with a look at a covey of grouse. In winter you can spot from the road numerous deer and fawns.
CANYON FERRY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA – Townsend
This reserve includes over 200 hectares, and the aim is to protect the habitat for ducks, geese and game and offer wildlife watching. Above all it is an excellent place for aquatic migratory birds and many nesting birds, including the Canadian goose, cormorant, white pelican American tern, osprey. Among the mammals that s’avvistano frequently: the deer from the White Tail, the ‘raccoon, skunk and red fox. Rarely American river otters and moose. You can do biking and go eco horse in this reserve.
LAKE HELENA Management WILDLIFE AREA – Helena
This area includes 63 hectares for waterfowl protection. Watch all year in birdlife, wildlife photography. In spring and autumn, migratory periods, you have the opportunity to spot a wide range of species, from swans to eagles.
MADISON-WALL CREEK WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA – Ennis
The reserve is located along the Madison River in Southwest Montana. It provides year round habitat for a variety of wildlife, including deer, mule deer, black bear, the grizzly bear, the capercaillie, and game species that are on the Madison Range. The Bear Creek is closed to visitors since the end of the special season deer hunting, until the middle of May, every year.
Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area-Anaconda
The area includes about 22 hectares that protect elk and mule deer and provides a habitat throughout the year for wildlife, emphasizing the deer in winter, as well as offering a variety of outdoor recreational entertainment to the public. In winter they have the best chances for spotting deer and mule deer that can be seen from Highway 287. Antelopes and brown bears can be spotted in the spring, summer and autumn, as well as a variety of birds of prey, small mammals and songbirds . The Madison River is one of the major migratory corridors for the Canadian goose, snow goose, duck, gavie, swans and Canadian crane. Fur animals like beavers, lynx, muskrats and river otters can be spotted along the river and the tributaries.
It is located at the south western Montana, near the border with Idaho. The reserve provides a habitat for wildlife throughout the year, emphasizing elk and mule deer, and offers outdoor recreational opportunities for the public. S’avvista deer, white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, antelope and mountain birds from the road. Occasional brown bear. This reserve is home to a variety of songbirds, raptors, waterfowl and shorebirds. fur-bearing animals such as beaver, lynx, muskrats are active around the lakes and streams. Furbearers such as beaver, muskrat, and mink are active along lakes and streams. Martens are common in the forests, and the visitor can see the coyote in any habitat. The reserve contains one of the most diverse natural areas of the reserve system; It includes a complex of wetlands among the largest of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as well as an expansive area of grassland habitats, sagebrush steppe and forest areas. Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1935 to protect waterfowl emigration. The reserve is also the last existing zone coupling the trumpeter swan. Thanks to various efforts throughout the country, now the prosperous swan and the reserve continues to be the most important habitats for these magnificent birds in North America.
The reserve abound opportunity to hiking, fishing, photography and observation of a variety of fauna and flora. But at an altitude of 2040 meters, it is recommended good footwear, warm clothing, waterproof and good binoculars for maximum enjoyment. It is recommended to stop at the headquarters in Lakeview and admire the beautiful display on the Trumpeter Swan. The reserve is open all year from 8:00 am. at 16.30, Monday to Friday; closed on federal holidays. Although inside the reserve you can see wild animals such as moose, Canadian crane, osprey, eagles, birds numenius, hawks, owls, badgers, bears, antelopes, wolves, wolverines, arctic grayling, trout, and so saying, the reserve is primarily a habitat for birds, hosting more than 230 species. The Bird-watching is sublime with 50,000 ducks and geese and more than 2,000 tundra swans and trumpeters who gather autumn. In spring nesting period for Canadian crane.
Two campgrounds are available inside the reserve; l ‘ Upper Lake Campground has trees, restrooms, drinking spring water, areas for campfires and picnic tables and is next to the trails for mountain biking and a small grove of aspens. The Marsh River Campground is open prairie with a toilet and areas for campfires, and is the best place to spot waterfowl. There is no electricity in any of the two camps. Access to wheelchairs, toilets and picnic tables at the headquarters and at the Upper Lake Campground. Camping granted for up to 16 consecutive days in both structures.
SUN RIVER WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA – Augusta
Sun River is one of the most beautiful and scenic rivers of Montana, was born in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and flows south-east to Great Falls where the River meets the Missouri River. Excellent trout fishing and the mountain whitefish – typical salmonid fish of North West USA – and boat trips to the Gibson Reservoir. The reserves improves the quality and diversity of habitat for deer and other species that can be seen from mid-May to early December. The best season for birds is in spring and autumn for migratory waterfowl. You can usually see numerous deer from the county road during the winter months. http://fwp.mt.gov/.
THE MUSTANG OF PRYOR MOUNTAIN
The Pryor Mountain are located on the border between Montana and Wyoming. The land is rugged, with elevations between 1,200 and 2,400 meters. The landscape is vast prairies, fields, trees and arid desert. The climate in winter is very hard and the summers are very hot and dry.
Despite these climatic contrasts, geographical and landscape the Pryor Mountains preserve the charm of a small herd of wild horses, the Mustangs of the Pryor Mountain.
For more than a century, free horses scoured these mountains. It is assumed to be of Spanish origin, as is clear from genetic studies and blood carried over many years. If you happen to see them, you would find correspondence in the mantle with the European race of Spanish lineage. Sometimes the colors are unusual, but given the characteristics of the Spanish horse . It is thought that these horses have escaped from original herds of belonging Native, and that in the end they found in this area the safest place to live in freedom. As with many other herds of wild horses, the Mustangs of Pryor live in family groups. Traveling between these mountains you can find groups of 25 families and several stallions: families expect mostly 5-6 horses, including one dominant stallion, a mare leaders, other mares and young horses. The general attitude of the horses is to follow a leader and the Mustangs of Pryor are no different. It seems that here the stallions to take the decision for the rest of the family, while in other herds the decision is up to the leaders mares.
The herd of Pryor amounts to 120-160 heads, and the population appears to be stable despite naturalistic barriers and the presence of other mammals. There are between 20 and 30 foals every year. Because horses have very few enemies, try to limit their number; in fact, the Land Management Bureau meets and select the animals every two to maintain the desired number of garments / three years.
Traveling in this area many visitors can admire the wild horses along the Bad Pass Highway, within the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Small bands of horses are also frequently spotted from the asphalt road during the whole year. You have to look for the horses already at low altitudes, just north of the sign of the Mustang Flat.
The more adventurous visitors can meet the horses in the high mountains, on the plains surrounding the Penn’s cabin, in summer and during the early autumn months. It suggests the use of 4×4 vehicles to get in these little areas jokes.
The Pryor Mountain National Wild Horse Range is a remote area, wild and presenting highly variable weather conditions throughout the year. The roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicle, and are mostly inaccessible and impassable in bad weather.
We have to make organized expeditions, with light equipment, but with basic necessities: those who enjoy walking in the mountains brings with it only the bare essentials and provides for a water supply since this is only available at Sage Creek and Horse Shoe Bend, camping with seasonal opening.
Of course, forget the phone, because here not absolutely works!
The Pryor Mountain home to several mammals: deer, mountain goats, bears and cougars blacks. The bird has more than 200 species, but the most popular is certainly the blue grouse, which lives in the forests and high-altitude meadows.
The Pryor were so named for Sergeant Pryor, who accompanied the expedition of Lewis and Clark through the Yellowstone River Valley in 1806. This chain of mountains is the continuation of the Bighorn Mountains: the Bighorn Canyon separates the two chains. For centuries, Pryor were home to small bands of natives, especially in the southern part, more bitter and dry, which provided an ideal environment protection from the harsh, cold winters. The Natives were moving on mountain altitudes during the warmer months. Plants and animals were able to provide livelihood to the tribes. Moreover, the presence of deposits of hard stones, provided to Native the raw material for forging bullets and arrowheads, as well as work tools. It is no coincidence, in fact, that Native Crow would use the term “Arrow – Head” referring to Pryor. The Crow many consider sacred places on Pryor.
How did the Pryor Mountain National Wild Horse Range? Some inhabitants conscientious posed the problem of survival of these horses and, in 1968, a group convinced the Interior Secretary Stewart Udall to donate a territory located on the Pryor Mountains and approximately 12,000 hectares, as a public area for wild horses. This initiative was the first of its kind in the United States of America.
Following numerous initiatives to protect wild horses during the ’60s, it was entered into an Act called the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act , voted, signed and initialed at law by President Nixon in 1971. The law states that:
“Congress finds and Declares That wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; That they contribute to the diversity of life forms Within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American People …
It is the policy of the Congress That the wild free-roaming horses and burros Shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be Considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public land. ”