CM Russell Wildlife Refuge
The Charles M. Russell Wetland Management District starts just 24 miles away from the center of Roundup. The mixed grass praries of Lake Mason National Wildlife Refuge provide the perfect habitat for over 50 species of marsh, water, and shore birds. Most notably, Lake Mason provides refuge for at risk birds including the Mountain Plover, the long-billed curlew and the Sprague’s pipit. Across the District the most common non-game birds in the uplands are horned lark, vesper sparrow, Brewer’s sparrow, Savannah sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, lark bunting, and Montana’s state bird, the western meadow lark.
Greater sage grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, and gray partridge thrive across the District with the greater sage grouse being the most abundant upland game bird.
Raptors such as northern harrier, ferruginous hawk, red-tailed hawk, golden eagle, burrowing owl, and short-eared owl are often seen foraging or nesting. In winter, rough-legged hawks and bald eagles are common.
Canada geese and twelve species of ducks nest in the District. The five most common breeding species, in order of abundance, are gadwall, northern shoveler, wigeon, green-winged teal, and mallard.
Marsh and waterbird spring migration usually begins a few weeks later than the waterfowl migration (around mid-April). Most species continue north to their nesting areas although several species remain to nest including the black-necked stilt, American avocet, ring-billed and California gulls, marbled godwit, and Wilson’s phalarope. The fall migration is generally September through mid-October. Peak shorebird migration occurs during May (spring) and August (fall). The number and diversity of birds using the District is greater during the fall migration than the spring migration. Throw your boots and binoculars in the car and spend the day exploring this hidden gem.
The Musselshell river winds past the edge of town and the mile long riverwalk is a great, flat, beautiful, and easy walking trail where you can take in the fresh air and find the next bird on your life list.
With banks and skies filled with robins, woodpeckers, wren and water fowl, you will be surrounded by birds and their songs on this walk. You are also likely to see Montana's state bird the Western Meadowlark with its beautiful and discerning song.
The walking trail starts at the south end of 2nd street east where there is an information kiosk complete with a map of the trail.