• MT Mag_MA15_Cover low res

    Behind our cover: Meet the western tanager

    It’s a definite sign of spring when the tanagers come to Montana. They should be headed our way in the coming weeks.

    We featured a beautiful male western tanager on our March/April 2015 cover just for that reason.

    • Watch our cover come alive here

    Photographer Michael Gallacher captured this little guy during a mass migration of the birds into Montana several springs ago.

    Western Tanager mg

    Photo by Michael Gallacher

    Here’s a little bit more about our cover star bird: He was most likely following a hatch of bugs along western Montana rivers while making his way north during an annual migration. Tanagers are a medium-sized song bird that migrate north into many areas across Montana in the late spring. During their migration, tanagers frequent a wide variety of forest, woodland, scrub and partially open habitats, as well as various human-made environments such as orchards, parks and gardens, according to the Montana Field Guide. The male tanager is brightly colored, with a distinctive red head, while the female is olive green with yellow wing bars.

    Here’s the Missoulian story about the tanager influx.

    Get more of Montana (and get an up-close glimpse of our beautiful covers) by subscribing today!


  • Fort Peck Reservoir, present day.

    1936: Fork Peck featured in Life magazine

    Did you know that Life magazine’s first cover was a picture of Montana? 

    We went back to the archives for this one, but according to this Time.com piece from 2012, the November 1936 issue featured a cover, story and photos from Fort Peck dam taken by the wonderful Margaret Bourke-White. The story, photos and several unprinted photos were reprinted at Life.com

    She wrote about the experience in her memoir:

    I had never seen a place quite like the town of New Deal, the construction site of Fort Peck Dam. It was a pinpoint in the long, lonely stretches of northern Montana so primitive and so wild that the whole ramshackle town seemed to carry the flavor of the boisterous Gold Rush days. It was stuffed to the seams with construction men, engineers, welders, quack doctors, barmaids, fancy ladies and, as one of my photographs illustrated, the only idle bedsprings in New Deal were the broken ones.

    You can see several of Bourke-White’s cover and several photos in the Time.com blog post about the issue.

    Our May/June 2015 issue will feature at story about Fort Peck Theatre, which opened to entertain the workers building the dam. Don’t miss it! Subscribe today!


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      Pygmy owl outside Missoula. Photo by Noah Phillips

    • bald eagle

      A young bald eagle in the Flathead Valley. Photo by Whispering Peaks Photography

    • bear

      Bear takes a break near Dixon. Photo by Robin K. Ha'o

    • big buck

      A big buck sticks close to Missoula city limits. Photo @montanamagazine Instagram

    • branding

      Branding season near Canyon Creek. Photo by Mark Edward LaRowe

    • cows

      A herd of cattle near the Tobacco Root Mountains. Photo by Mark Edward LaRowe

    • geese in gibson park

      Geese in Gibson Park. Photo by Yvonne Moe Resch

    • pronghorn

      Pronghorn on the run. Photo by Whispering Peaks Photography

    • snow gees and horses

      Snow geese flyover. Photo by Whispering Peaks Photography

    • swan migration

      A snow geese closeup. Photo by Whispering Peaks Photography

    Spring slideshow: Reader wildlife shots

    If you’ve followed this blog in the past, you know that we’re pretty fond of sharing photos that our readers send us –  mostly because they send us such amazing shots.

    They came through again this spring. Along with scenic shots from all across Montana, they shared more than a few shots of animals.

    That said, here’s our spring slideshow featuring a wide range of critters frolicking under the Big Sky.

    We hope you enjoy these Montana animal shots as much as we do. Thanks so all who share their shots with us every day.


  • How well do you know Montana?

    montana-map-revwebWe tried something new today. It involves a test. But we think it’s a fun test because it’s all about Montana. 

    If you’ve read our past issues, it’ll be a breeze.

    Take our “How Well Do you know Montana” quiz here

    If you Google anything, that’s cheating… But if you want to learn more about Montana the fun way, subscribe today.


  • Photo by David Spear

    Photographing Butte: ‘A timeless town’

    We all know Butte is quite a town – but it’s a town that’s changed quite a bit in the past decades.

    Photographer David Spear has documented some of that change – and a lot of Butte’s magic – while photographing the city since the 1970s. Missoulian reporter Cory Walsh introduced readers to Spear’s new photo exhibit, “A Timeless Town in Time: Butte, Montana” in a recent story. 

    Spear came to Butte like many – a wannabe passer-by who was caught there by fascinated with the city. So he stayed for awhile and went back many times.

    David Spear first photographed Butte in the 1970s as an outsider, a Connecticut native by way of California.

    While some photographers parachute in and never come back, Spear’s fascination never waned.

    Photo by David Spear

    Photo by David Spear

    Much of Spear’s work focuses on the people of Butte.

    “I would take pictures and go back to the same places and see people,” he said. He’d show them prints and see how they were doing.

    • See a slideshow of Spear’s work here

    That’s how he was able to shoot intimate portraits of an elderly miner during his morning routine – smoking a cigarette and then wheeling his chair to a nearby bar to read the newspaper and learn who’d been arrested and who’d passed away.

    Tistol, he learned, rode a boxcar out from Minnesota in midwinter to work in the mines, and began using a wheelchair after he was hit by a truck.

    The exhibition includes two pictures, separated by decades, of Stevie Faulkner, a mentally disabled man well-known around town for offering shoe-shines.

    If you’re around Missoula anytime soon, check out Spear’s exhibit at the Zootown Arts Community Center.


  • Mitzi Baines walks her daughters Salome, 7, and Rivkah, 4, along the tracks outside Three Forks. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Come wander MT with us

    We’re big fans of what we like to call virtual getaways. We think our magazine offers that to each reader each issue. And thanks to the internet, we think Mondays are good days to do a little digital wandering. Think of it as a mini road trip from your desk.

    Here’s our suggestion this week: We featured a wandering photographer in our March/April issue with our Roaming the Riverside Portfolio. Kurt Wilson took the photos for the spread while wandering to each corner of Montana. 

    Wind blows through the mane of a white horse on the Rocky Mountain Front near Choteau. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Wind blows through the mane of a white horse on the Rocky Mountain Front near Choteau. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    In all, his Roadside Wanderings project for the Missoulian yielding a set of great stories and six photograph collections.

    Take a look at all Wilson’s work. It offers a great weekday getaway.



  • Ivan Doig

    Montana reads galore: Our new ‘Montana Books’ page

    We love telling our readers about good Montana books to read. And we’re lucky enough to have a pretty great book reviewer in Doug Mitchell, who always has a great list of good reads to share.

    "Empty Mansions" by Bill Dedman.

    “Empty Mansions” by Bill Dedman.

    He’s told us about the now infamous copper king heiress.

    And got us the inside scoop on why writers like “Fourth of July” author Smith Henderson choose to set their books in Montana.

    Most recently, Mitchell reviewed books by Montana favorites Ivan Doig and newcomer Liz Carlisle. 

    Read all of Doug’s reviews and author Q&As here.

    Still need more to Montana reads? Subscribe today! 


  • MM_Park2Park 500x500 teaser

    Yellowstone! Glacier! Come with us on our Park-to-Park journey

    We’ve got National Parks on the brain this month at Montana Magazine for a couple reasons.

    For one, we’re preparing to send our Park-to-Park issue where we’ll take readers from Yellowstone to Glacier and back again in a couple ways (spoiler alert: there’s a map and a couple can’t-miss features.)

    For example, take writer Kelsey Dayton’s story on Yellowstone’s “geyser gazers.”

    The feature showcases not only the geysers of Yellowstone, but the self-appointed stewards of the geysers. They’re a set of people who dedicate years’ worth of vacation time to documenting the activity of geysers. Their data allows rangers to guide millions of visitors around the park, so they can have their own geyser gazing experiences.

    Our Park-to-Park issue ships to subscribers on April 30.

    Also, the National Parks Service launched its Find Your Park campaign this week, as it gears up for the 2016 centennial of the National Parks System. The new website includes several videos – including this one where Grand Prismatic in Yellowstone makes an appearance.

    Still want more from Glacier and Yellowstone? We’ll help you find the people and place that make Montana’s national parks special year round in Montana Magazine. Subscribe today!

    – Jenna

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