Before leaving the United States on my road trip to Alaska, I had one more American wildlife sanctuary to visit. Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the western edge of the northern Great Plains and 12 miles north of Great Falls, Montana, has a well-deserved reputation for its abundance and diversity of birdlife. The American Bird Conservancy designates it as a Globally Important Bird Area. After a morning there, I know why.
Despite its name, Benton Lake is actually a 5,000 acre shallow wetland created by glaciers thousands of years ago. It is an oasis for water birds.