The annual nongame check-off, marked by the flying eagle on Montana’s tax-return forms, provides funds for nongame wildlife management and encourages public awareness and enjoyment of species, like the common loon.
A contribution to Montana's Nongame Wildlife Program helps manage many species important to wildlife viewers such as raptors, bats, and owls. And every 10 dollars donated may be matched one to three times with federal dollars.
Montana has the largest common loon breeding population in the western U. S. However, of the estimated 40-70 loon pairs, only 22-26 successfully nest. Nongame check-off donations help fund projects carried out by biologists and volunteers to improve loons’ nesting success, monitor population trends and educate water-based recreationists and wildlife viewers about the loons’ needs for quiet in their nesting areas.
Another species that benefits from tax form check-off funds is the black-backed woodpecker, a Montana species of concern. It primarily inhabits recently burned forests. Flammulated owls are beneficiaries, too. Little information has been documented on this owl species’ abundance, distribution or productivity, but that began to change with a two-year survey of the owls’ breeding and biology.
Watch for the flying eagle on the 2009 Montana income tax form to contribute to this work and Montana's nongame wildlife species management.