The west side of Glacier is typically forested, gradually sloping terrain with an elevation gain of 7,032 feet from the lowest point (at 3,110 feet) to the highest point (10,142-foot Mount Stimson). Since the base elevation is considerably lower on the west side, and is situated in a mountain valley where temperature inversions do occur, birds have been known to arrive at lower elevations two to three weeks earlier in the spring than on the east side. The west side is also slightly warmer, with mild winds, and has a moist, humid climate reminiscent of Pacific Coast rainforests.
Characteristic vegetation here includes lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce, western white pine, western larch, western red cedar, grand fir, black cottonwood, western hemlock, pacific yew, Douglas fir, subalpine fir, whitebark pine and an incredible variety of deciduous shrubs. Only half as many active glaciers are found on the west side of the Continental Divide. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, and helpful general information.
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