Kalispell Montana Wildlife – Other
Wildlife is prevalent in the Kalispell, Montana area. I recently wrote about the thrill of watching a healthy herd of elk as well as the always-present deer and turkeys. There are other animals that can also be found in our Kalispell woods.
Although the most common animal sightings in our area are turkeys, deer and elk, there are many other animals we’ve either seen or seen sign of.
Coyote: We only saw one coyote, and he was moving too fast to even get a photo. One day a few years ago, we were taking one of our walks down the driveway and we heard something coming our way. As we watched, a coyote bounded across the ground, racing towards our neighbor’s ranch. A few seconds later we heard frantic squawking of turkeys. You can just imagine what happened.
Mountain Lion: We haven’t actually seen a mountain lion with our own eyes, but a few days before we saw this paw print, our neighbor indicated she had seen a mountain lion walking towards our property. A few mornings later as we walked down the driveway, the first thing we saw was a tuft of deer hair and some blood. And then we saw the cougar prints. As we traced the steps, we found out the lion killed a deer near our neighbor’s property, and dragged it up the hill and across our property. He probably dragged that deer a half mile or more. Mountain lions are obviously extremely strong.
Wolf: We’ve seen a lone wolf, once a month or so ago, and once last summer. Both times it was too far away and left the area too quickly for us to get a photo.
Ermine: While we’re not 100% sure what we saw was an ermine, we saw a white thin weasel like animal sitting on a log in the forest. Apparently, ermine turn white in the winter. This one sat watching us and then skittered away never to be seen again.
Red Tailed Hawk: Red tailed hawk are large birds of prey, with wingspans of 4 to 5 feet. We often see them, usually gliding in big lazy circles in the sky while emitting their unique mournful cry. However, we’ve also seen them closer to the ground. As seen in the video above, once we saw one sitting on a log watching us walk by. He was waiting for us to leave the area so he could start munching on the dead animal that was on the ground right below him. The second time we saw a red-tailed hawk in action, it swooped down behind our house to catch a rabbit. The hawk was successful and the video includes a short clip of the hawk taking off with the bunny in its talons.
Rabbits: We see rabbit prints quite often in the winter. We’ve seen one running under our shed, but otherwise they stay out of sight. They’re around but for the most part not visible. Except to the hawks.
Squirrels/Chipmunks: We see these often, similar to most parts of the United States. They seem to delight in teasing our dog. They’ll zip up a tree when they see us coming and then start their “ha-ha-ha” yelling. They also love to rip pine cones apart and leave huge piles of pieces in specific areas. The squirrels and chipmunks around us are not starving.
Grouse: We’ve definitely seen grouse. One dive bombed our window in an apparent suicide mission. He was tasty.
Black Bear: Black bear are common in my area. We’ve seen a mom and her cubs in a nearby valley while out on one of our forest walks (we back tracked out of there quickly). We’ve seen multiple black bears in various places. And we ran into two bears on another walk down our driveway and they skedaddled up into a nearby tree (see photo).
Grizzly Bear: We haven’t seen a grizzly bear on or near our property, but they are around. We’ve seen paw prints recently up behind our home. So they’re out and about!
Birds and Butterflies: There are too many types of birds to count, and butterflies keep the meadows bustling with activity during much of the Spring and Summer.
Bottom line, there is no shortage of wildlife in the Kalispell, Montana area. If you spend any amount of time outside you are bound to see something! It’s part of what makes Montana so amazing.