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Pine Butte Guest Ranch


Birding the Mountains and Prairies with David Sibley 2

June 02, 2012 - June 08, 2012

Pine Butte Guest Ranch



A rare opportunity to spend time in the field with one of the world’s preeminent ornithologists, David Allen Sibley, in one of the world’s most extraordinary natural places. Sibley says, "I love visiting Pine Butte Guest Ranch. It's so comfortable, and the staff takes such good care of you, but you walk out the door and into one of the most wild and scenic parts of the lower 48 states. The birds are incredibly diverse, with a unique mixture of prairie and mountain, east and west, north and south."  You'll have three full days in the company of this noted ornithologist and artist and a small group of dedicated birders. Birder extraordinaire, Keith Hansen, will join us as well and lead our explorations after David's departure. All in all, it promises to be a tremendous week of adventure and discovery. Your life list will definitely gain new entries! (pdf) download an itinerary

The Nature Conservancy's Pine Butte Swamp Preserve and the surrounding wild lands are in a dramatic transition zone. It's here that where the Great Plains abruptly give way to reefs of the Rocky Mountain Front. The result is an extraordinary diversity of habitats that is a bonanza for birds and wildlife. In short: A birders' paradise!

During the week, we’ll traverse native short grass prairie, mountain foothills, a large fen wetland, rich riparian corridors, and vast coniferous forests. As with each of our natural history workshops, there will be plenty of opportunity for questions, discussion and simply taking in the beauty and solitude of this very special place.

Field trips entail van travel along with daily walking and hiking over varying terrain. Our hikes are conducted at a leisurely pace, with frequent stops for natural history observation and discussion. The length of these hikes will vary from 2–5 miles round-trip, at elevations ranging from 3,500–6,500 feet.

The Instructors: 

Pine Butte is honored to be hosting world renowned birding guide, author and artist David Allen Sibley. David has set a new standard in birding guides with his talent and dedication as both ornithologist and painter. It would be difficult to overstate his contribution to the birding community, and our good fortune in having him instruct a Pine Butte natural history workshop. He has generously contributed leadership for outings through The Nature Conservancy’s Migratory Bird Program. Birding with David is a truly rare opportunity, and combining his instruction and company with the intimate setting of the Pine Butte Guest Ranch and Montana’s  Rocky Mountain Front will create a once in a lifetime experience.

Keith Hansen will be co-leading this workshop. He is a wildlife artist who specializes primarily in the imaginative and accurate illustration of birds. Currently Keith is putting the final touches on a Field Guide to the Birds of the Sierra Nevada. Keith has illustrated numerous books on birds, including one for the Conservancy entitled "A Guide to the Nature Conservancy Preserves of California.” In addition, Keith has created innumerable illustrations for organizations such as, The Audubon Society, Point Reyes Bird Observatory, and various Bird Tour Organizations.


Enrollment and Cost: 

Price includes lodging, meals, airport shuttle, and all activities. Cost is $2500. Please contact Pine Butte Guest Ranch for more information.


You’ll stay at the historic Pine Butte Guest Ranch, set in a spectacular mountain valley surrounded by thousands of acres of wilderness. It’s the perfect place to "get away from it all" and enjoy outstanding food and cozy lodging.

Learn more:

What to bring


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