freezout lake wildlife management area birding trails


From Fairfield, four miles north on US 89.

General Information

Grasslands and marsh bursting with birds. An Important Bird Area and Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site. Bird watching highlight at 11,000-acre Freezout Lake is migrating flocks of up to 100,000 snow and Ross’s geese, moving through in bunches from mid-March to mid-April. For waterfowl and songbirds, best viewing is mid-May to mid-July. No fee. Hunting in fall. Commercial-use, including guided tours, prohibited.


Marsh, grasslands, shelterbelt.

Highlighted Species

Eared grebe, Franklin’s gull, common tern, Forster’s tern, black tern, cinnamon teal, tundra swan (spring, fall migrant), sora, Wilson’s phalarope, American avocet, black-necked stilt, marbled godwit, willet, Eastern kingbird, yellow-headed blackbird, vesper sparrow, savannah sparrow, clay-colored sparrow, common yellowthroat, American pipit (migrant), marsh wren.

At Freezout Lake: western grebe, Clark’s grebe, red-necked grebe, American white pelican, snow goose (feed in area fields much of day), Ross’s goose, Eurasian wigeon (migrant with American wigeon flocks), green-winged teal, red-breasted merganser (migrant), bald eagle, Swainson’s hawk, upland sandpiper (north end), great horned owl, Say’s phoebe (north end), western kingbird.

Migrating shorebirds (mid-April to mid-May, mid-July through August): greater and lesser yellowlegs, sanderling, semipalmated sandpiper, least sandpiper, Baird’s sandpiper, pectoral sandpiper, long-billed dowitcher, common snipe and red-necked phalarope.

Winter: northern shrike, rough-legged hawk; sharp-tailed grouse visible (shelterbelts); gyrfalcon (long shot); snow buntings, Lapland longspurs may mingle with horned larks.

Facilities and Services

Vault toilets, camping, excellent birding brochure. Interior roads all-weather, but county roads to west impassable when wet. All services in Fairfield.


Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 4
4600 Giant Springs Road
Great Falls, MT 59405