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Fish & Wildlife of the Montane Forest

The montane forest is home to a variety of wildlife species. Some of these animals are year-round residents like the snowshoe hare, while others are seasonal visitors such as the Lewis' woodpecker that migrates south for the winter. Wildlife species listed on this page were selected because of their adaptations that help them survive in a forested mountain environment. Click on the images below to view the Animal Field Guide .

Montane Forest Mammals

Mammals found in a forested ecosystem are adapted to a life associated with trees. Many species, such as red squirrels, spend a great deal of time in conifer trees while others, such as black bears, use trees for escape cover or for a place to forage. Adaptations include the curved sharp claws of the American marten to aid in climbing; the dark fur of a wolverine for camouflage in the forest shadows; the large paws of a snowshoe hare that help it travel through deep snow; and even the white hair of a mountain goat that helps it blend into these cold, snowy environments.

Black Bear   Mountain Lion   Fisher   Wolverine   Canada Lynx  
Black Bear   Montain Lion   Fisher   Wolverine   Canada Lynx  
 
Red Squirrel   American Marten   Snowshoe Hare   Porcupine   Southern Red-backed Vole  
Red Squirrel   American Marten   Snowshoe Hare   Porcupine   Southern Red-backed Vole  
 
Montane Forest Birds

Forested birds are adapted for a life associated with trees. Birds tend to occupy specific layers of the forest. The Western tanager nests and feeds on insects high in the trees, while a dusky grouse nests on the ground feeding on seeds and insects, and the Northern pygmy-owl requires a tree cavity for its nest. Some birds such as the Clark's nutcracker, are associated with white-bark pines, as they feed on the cone seeds, and in so doing, help disperse and plant new trees, especially in burned areas of a forest.

Black-backed Woodpecker   Mountain Chickadee   Dusky (Blue) Grouse   Northern Goshawk   Great Gray Owl  
Black-backed Woodpecker   Mountain Chickadee   Dusky (Blue) Grouse   Northern Goshawk   Great Gray Owl  
 
Western Tanager   Northern Pigmy-owl   Dark-eyed Junco   Clark's Nutcracker      
Western Tanager   Northern Pygmy-Owl   Dark-eyed Junco   Clark's Nutcracker      
 
Montane Forest Herps (Amphibians and Reptiles)

Forested amphibians and reptiles have adapted to a short growing season. This is the primary reason that not many species of amphibians and reptiles are found in these northern habitats.

Columbia Spotted Frog   Long-toed Salamander   Rubber Boa      
Columbia Spotted Frog   Long-toed Salamander   Rubber Boa      
Montane Forest Fish

Cold-water fish need the clean oxygenated gravel of high mountain streams to spawn. Although they may live as adults in larger rivers, they annually make a journey to these mountain streams to lay their eggs and for the young to hatch and grow. The clear waters of these streams make it easy for these fish to find aquatic insects by site.

Westslope Cutthroat Trout   Mountain Whitefish   Arctic Graying   Bull Trout  
Westslope Cutthroat Trout   Mountain Whitefish   Arctic Grayling   Bull Trout