Archive for April, 2018

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 8 – What is that Noise? Woodpeckers!

Friday, April 27th, 2018

What’s that noise? It’s the tap-tap-tap-tap-tap of woodpeckers on your stovepipe, siding, or nearest power pole. If it’s music to your ears, great! But if not, Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull, is here to give you strategies to cope with the sounds of spring.

Hi! I’m Sandy with Birds & Beasleys. Today, we are going to talk about flickers and woodpeckers and how you either love them or hate them. This time of year, a lot of people hate them.

Flickers can do a lot of damage to a house while they are trying to find nesting spaces, looking for food foraging, or looking for mates. So, first I need to tell you, nothing really is guaranteed. So, I’m going to give you a couple of ideas if you have a flicker or woodpecker issue on your home.

The first would be, what is the flicker doing? See the flicker up on your chimney, pounding on the silver cap, what he is doing, is he is drumming and trying to make his territory. What he is doing is okay, he is not causing any trouble, he is not hurting your chimney, what he is doing is trying to look for a mate. Yes, it is irritating but it will go away once the season of breeding is over. So, that is the easy one.

The second one is I have a flicker going up and down my house, drilling little holes, I would say, check to see if you have a bug issue, because they are probably looking for food. Now the one that causes you the most trouble is when you get a hole that is this big and the material called the dryvet or cedar homes. What the birds are learning to adapt to is that they can get through to the small surface, get into the insulation, way easier to make a nest in insulation than digging out a tree.

Flickers tend to be high, they always seem to pick the side of the wall that has the highest expanse, always higher than your ladder. So, you can try a couple of things. The first would be, how do you scare them away from the hole? So, you can get out there with your super soaker gun, a hose, or whatever, you could put up some things that we have that people have had luck with. ScareTape up around where the hole is. Guard’n Eyes is the big yellow balloon. Some people have had luck with an owl, this is not usually the best one. Probably the best thing to do, if you can, is to cover the hole. So either get up there, you can put netting from the eve down the side of the house, put some metal up there, that’s the most long-term, even though that’s expensive. Some people have luck with the flicker house, this is a wood duck house behind me, a little smaller version of the flicker house. You can put that over the top of the hole.

Again, nothing is really for sure. You can try lots of different things. Remember, they are protected, so you cannot hurt them, but just try to get them to move on. If you just a mating pair there, that will get rid of the rest of them. And if I knew how to do it, I would be rich! So, good luck with your woodpeckers, call if you have other questions.

Fresh Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Fresh ideas for Mother’s Day & free gift wrapping! Open Saturday and Sunday. Come down and have a look around.

May 2018 Featured Products: Pottery, Prints, Wind Chimes & More!

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Come by Birds & Beasleys this May to check out the featured products available. The products featured this month include Susan Carroll pottery, John Ashley prints, Birthstone Wind Chimes, and more. Find out more about these unique products below.

Marissa Davis Prints: Marissa Davis is a Montana native and has beautiful artwork available at Birds & Beasleys. If you are interested in purchasing new artwork, check out Marissa’s work.

John Ashely Prints: Award-winning photographer and conservationist, John Ashley, is from Kalispell, Montana. Come see his new collection of affordable wildlife prints on canvas at Birds & Beasleys.

Ceramic Bird Baths: Birds & Beasleys has a variety of ceramic bird baths available for purchase in multiple colors. Stop by the store and take a look at the bird baths you can place in your garden this spring.

Susan Carroll Pottery: Susan Carroll pottery is unique and each piece is hand-painted. Hummingbird feeders, biscuit cutters, and donut cutters are just a few of the Susan Carroll pottery products available at Birds & Beasleys.

Birthstone Wind Chimes: Birthstone wind chimes are the perfect addition to your garden. Birds & Beasleys has many different types of wind chimes available, come by and take a look.

3 Montana Chicks Products: Birds & Beasleys carries many 3 Montana Chicks products, including pin cushions. Keep checking the Facebook page and stopping by the store to take a look at the 3 Montana Chicks products available.

Springtime on Last Chance Gulch

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Stroll on down to Last Chance Gulch to savor this beautiful spring day with us. People are out and the creek is flowing once more. Open 11-4pm Sundays!

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 7 – Tips for Placing Nest Boxes

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Finding the best spot to hang your new nest box can be tricky. Which direction? How far from other boxes? Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull, is here with tips for ideal nest box placement so your backyard birds will feel right at home! Check out Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 7 – Tips for Placing Nest Boxes.

Hi! I’m Sandy with Birds & Beasleys. People ask us this time of year, how do I put up my birdhouse and what is the best location to do it? So, I can’t tell you exactly why a bird will want to move into your house, but I can tell you three easy things that will help you get it more attractive to a bird. So, today we will be talking about bluebirds and swallows which are mainly who use these houses.

So in the Helena area, it is location, it is where can the male bird see the entrance to the hole, and where is your house in comparison. In Helena, typically the weather comes from the southwest, so you would want to point your house with the hole north to east, so you have this 45-degree range here of where you would want to put the birdhouse, so that’s one thing to think about.

You want to think about where to put it in your yard. And then you want to see where the birds are perching. So a male bluebird or a male swallow will take two or three perches, you will see them on a wire, a fence post, on your car mirror, they’ll take about three spots, they’ll bounce back and forth. So, you will say the male is perching here, here, and here, this is north, this is east, I want the bird to look this way. Then you think okay, then I am going to point it so the male can look at the entrance and protect it from other intruders. But then you say, my house is over here, then you want to tweak it just a little bit maybe so you can see it from your house.

Another thing to think about is let’s say you have two bluebirds in your yard, one male bluebird is perching here, here, and here, and this one is perching here, here, and here. You don’t want to put the house right here because they will both try to protect it. So, what you want to do it point it towards that male or that male and that will help them do it.

Also, think about, if you have a swallow, the same kind of concept, but if you have a swallow in the yard and a male bluebird in the yard, you might want to put the houses back to back or side to side so those males can’t see both entrances of the house from their perch.

So I can’t tell you it’s a magic way to do it, but it will certainly help them pick your spot. But remember, it is not a done deal until the female is in the house. You might see a male bluebird take a couple houses and she comes in and gets to pick. So, until you see her, it is not a done deal. Thanks for checking in with Birds & Beasleys.

Keep Your Birds Safe

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Keep your birds safe with the help of Birds & Beasleys. Birds & Beasleys has a variety of products available to ensure your birds are staying safe throughout the year. Watch the video and stop by the store to see the different ways you can keep birds safe.

Birds in Snow: The Birds are all right!

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

How do our feathered friends cope with spring snow events? Sandy Shull shot this short video of Bohemian waxwings and Robins snacking on crabapples at her house. Sandy says, “birds hunker down next to buildings, eat berries, and manage fine. Spring snows are part of Mother Nature; they are going to be okay.”

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 6 – Buying Binoculars

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

Whether you’re a birder, hiker, or hunter, a good pair of binoculars is essential equipment for your outdoor adventures. How do you know which pair is right for you? Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull, shares what the pros know about choosing the right pair for you in Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 6 – Buying Binoculars!

Hello, I am Sandy from Birds & Beasleys! I want to take a moment to show you about what you should know when you’re looking to buy binoculars. We carry a basic line of binoculars with a good optic for its value. These are the things you want to know.

First of all is what do the numbers mean. So, they will say 8 by 42, 8 by 34, 10 by 50. The first number is the magnification. That is how many times it is from your eye. So like if you are watching a bird and you look out with an 8 power binocular, you would be this close, but use a 10 power binocular, it comes closer, but you feel the view get smaller. And if you have a little bit of a tremor, it is a little bit harder to hold it still. It is not a good one, there is no special reason which is better, 8 or 10, it is a personal preference. So that’s the magnification.

The second one is the size of the diameter of the glass. So this one here is an 8 by 42 versus this one which is an 8 by 32 and then this is an 8 by 50. So, look at the difference of the glass. So what does that mean when you are going to get a glass? The bigger the glass, the more light it lets in and the more you will get to see and probably a little bit clearer. It also means it’s a bit heavier glass. So this one, which is an 8 by 50, a hunter might like because they tend to be looking far distances in low light situations, like dawn or dusk. But if you’re a hiker, you’re not going to take this couple pound binocular, you are going to want something a little bit smaller, like an 8 by 32 or I like the 8 by 42 because I am not a hiker and it tends to be in my car. So, the first thing is to decide, what is the magnification you like? What is light? How are you using it? Are you hiking? Are you biking? Or are you just using it from your backyard?

The next step is how does it fit your hands, so are you sharing it with anybody or do you just get to do your own. So when you grab a pair of binoculars, grab the binoculars and put them up to your face, see how you focus, if you find yourself looking like this to see how you’re focusing, it doesn’t fit you right because you are trying to find out where that focus button is. You should just see that completely safe. So, look up, see if you can find it, focus, perfect. But if you’re sharing it, hand it to someone else and say “How is it working for you?” So, that’s the next thing to how it fits your hand.

The other piece that no one really knows about is what do the eyecups really mean. Eyecups up, eyecups down. Eyecups up, mean you’re looking at it without your glasses and you get to see the full. Eyecups down, mean you’re looking at it with your glasses.

So, that is a simple thing to think about before you get binoculars. How are you going to use it? How much magnification do you need? Are you sharing it with someone? Do you have a little bit of a tremor or you are running around a lot so you are huffing and puffing? What is your budget? Yes, a $3000 pair of binoculars is beautiful, but are you really going to take them out in the rain? Are you going to take them hiking? Would a $200 or $300 binocular do the same thing because you can’t really tell the difference? Some people can, some people can’t. We carry the Vortex line, which we really like. Come in and ask us more. We have a small selection, but it is a good selection and what we think works for birders. So come ask us and we will see you when you get there.

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