When you visit Montana you can expect to see a wide range of wildlife, from small mammals such as shrews and jumping mice, to the black bear and mountain lion. There are approximately 20 species of large mammals that occur in Montana and nearly 100 small mammals. Montana also has numerous species of bird, including the Great Horned Owl, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and the Whooping Crane.
The best places to view the wildlife are the national parks.
The Glacier National Park in Montana is home to bighorn sheep, elk, mountain goats and both black and grizzly bears. This is a very popular area for hikers, with over 700 miles of trails to explore. As well as the wildlife, the park also has over 1,000 different plant species.
In Yellowstone National Park, you can find the largest herd of bison in the United States, as well as moose and grey wolves. You may even be lucky enough to spot a lynx, which is currently a threatened species.
There are various types of habitat which are home to different species, so viewing from an area where there is a habitat overlap may give you the best experience. For example, if you are watching a prairie next to some wetlands, then you may see wildlife from both habitats.
When visiting the national parks, it is important to keep a safe distance between yourself and the animals. You must also keep to the designated trails to avoid upsetting the ecosystem.
If you are a keen birdwatcher, then Montana will be a treat for you. There are several birding trails which all offer a different experience.
The North-eastern plains birding trail will give you the opportunity to see eagles, pelicans and the yellow warbler, among many others. If you visit the Custer Country South-eastern birding trail, you may see burrowing owls, mountain bluebirds and prairie falcons.
When bird watching, please take care not to disturb any nesting areas or feeding sites, as this may cause distress to the birds. As long as you stay on the marked trails, the birds can be enjoyed from a distance without causing a disturbance.
Whether you are interested in seeing the large grizzly bears or the tiny hummingbirds, Montana is a paradise for wildlife lovers, with numerous different species to enjoy.