a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation and
propagation of native waterfowl and their habitat. Habitat
destruction and predication have caused a serious decline
in the numbers of native ducks and swans in western Montana.
The Foundation's goal is to secure protected rest and nesting
areas for native waterfowl. Also, this wetland ecosystem provides
a unique setting for a diverse variety of educational opportunities.
Nestled in the scenic Mission Valley between
Flathead Lake and Nine Pipes Wildlife Refuge, the thirty-acre
Montana Waterfowl Foundation is on a major migratory path
for waterfowl. The Foundation grounds range from dense forest
to marshy bottomlands, and include nine ponds of varying sizes.
The land is owned in its entirety by the
Foundation. Presently, five acres are predator safe. A Foundation
priority is to have the entire property secure in order to
provide safely for nesting birds. A portion of the site is
located on a reclaimed fish hatchery, and several of the remaining
ponds hold crawfish and native rosysided shiners, with one
pond being used for the raising of west slope cut-throat trout.
The crawfish and shiners provide a natural diet for wild and
captive ducks. Pathways through the grounds allow ideal viewing
of our varied wildlife habitat and its occupants. Bird watcher's
and photographer's blinds offer the opportunity to observe
waterfowl in their natural environment. Thirty nest boxes
are placed on the Foundation grounds and more are needed.
Three aviaries with running water hold ruddy ducks, pintail,
cinnamon teal, ringneck ducks, Captive snow geese, trumpeter
swans, and hooded mergansers share a large pond with wild
mallards, wood ducks, pintail, bufflehead, goldeneyes and
other waterfowl that pass through the valley. In keeping with
our goal to provide a safe and natural environment for these
waterfowl, there is an ongoing effort toward the restoration
of native aquatic vegetation which is crucial to their nesting
and dietary needs.