Archive for June, 2018

Simple Tips for Helping Wildlife During Heat Waves and Drought

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

Many wild creatures can live for extended periods of time without food but… they need water much more regularly. Having convenient supplies of clean water can make a huge difference to the survival of local wild species such as birds, butterflies and small mammals, during times of extreme heat and drought such as we are seeing during the summer of 2011.

Many of the smaller creatures we might find around the home or office are not very wide-ranging and are less likely to head off to local bodies of water, while more mobile species can become dehydrated due to lack of proximity to water. Sudden hot conditions and prolonged drought throw wildlife off their normal routines and put them at risk. But you can help that situation and make a real difference to animals and plant life in your area. Here are a few simple pointers.

  1. Make a special effort to keep your birdbaths full or think about getting one.
  2. Hang a “drip jug” over your bird bath – a basic plastic milk jug filled with water with a tiny hole in the bottom. The birds will hear the drip and it will attract them for a cool bath and a drink.
  3. Put out some additional water-filled containers. Placing a couple of containers (one shallow and one a little deeper) on the ground will help other creature such as ground squirrels, raccoons, and many others.
  4. Use water-conserving garden practices such as using a generous amount of mulch to cover garden beds. This will help insects, worms and other invertebrates.
  5. Watering plants in your garden will help to keep them healthy with natural moisture and the droplets are a favorite of bees and butterflies.
  6. Don’t forget the hummingbirds – they rely on nectar from plants and summer conditions can dry up natural supplies that a good hummingbird feeder can help replace.
  7. Often communities will put watering restrictions in place during times of drought. These are good times to capture water that might otherwise go to waste. One thing many folks do is put a bucket (or two) in their shower. While you bathe, the bucket fills with drinkable water for wildlife that would otherwise go down the drain. (Make sure soap doesn’t get in the bucket.) Many communities encourage residents to install backyard rain barrels that gather rainfall from the roof and store it for drier times.

Source: Kevin Coyle, VP for Education for the National Wildlife Federation

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 13 – What to Feed New Bird Parents?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

It’s chilly and rainy outside and new nestlings need snacks. How can you help feathered parents support their new family? Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull, is here to help you figure out how to feed new parents in your neighborhood.

 

Hey! This is Sandy with Birds & Beasleys! Today’s question is what do I do about all of the baby birds right now? As you know, it’s cold and wet out there. It’s time to talk about how to take of them.

First of all, Mother Nature has it covered, but you can help a little bit. Let me look up here. Here’s an Osprey nest. We have one we’ve been watching in Missoula, this one is not it. If you get in on the Cornell Labs website, check in to the Missoula Osprey right now. She’s hunkered down, she has her wings over the top of the chicks, she’s repelling all the water, keeping them warm, waiting for the mate to bring the fish so they have something to eat. The big thing is, keeping them warm and dry and with good high-protein. This happens to be one up in Chesapeake, but it is fun. Look at explore.org as another place to look at webcams.

Here, locally what we want you to do is think about suet. So the birds are coming, they’re eating bugs and they’re eating suet. They are looking for high-protein. So, you can either put out something in a suet container, you could put out some mealworms, make sure you have out bird seed. Those adults are looking for food, easy food to give to their babies.

But if you don’t do that, not to worry, Mother Nature does have it covered, they’ll be fine. They’re just going to be hunkered down, so you might not see a lot of action at your feeders because they are keeping their chicks warm. If you have any questions, call Sandy at Birds & Beasleys.

July 2018 Featured Products: Mugs, Hand-Painted Coasters, and more!

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Mugs, Hand-Painted CoastersBirds & Beasleys has a variety of one-of-a-kind gifts for you to pick up this July! From hand-painted coasters to Montana icon mugs to huckleberry coffee, you are sure to find what you need this summer at Birds & Beasleys. Come by and see us this July!

Hand-Painted Bird Coasters: The bird coasters are hand-painted by Butte folk artist, Cindy Micheletti. These coasters are a practical, yet beautiful gift you could give to many!

Montana Icon Mugs: Birds & Beasleys has a variety of mugs available for purchase. Some of these mugs include images of bears, pine cones, and Montana. Mugs are both a great gift or souvenir for any visitors this summer.

Blue Moose Metals Bottle Openers: The Blue Moose Metals bottle openers available from Birds & Beasleys are 100% steel and magnetic. These bottle openers are perfect for the boat, cabin, or man cave.

The Wonder of Birds by Jim Robbins: The Wonder of Birds is new to paperback and is the perfect book for any bird lover! We also have vintage bookmarks you can pick up with this book as well.

Huckleberry Coffee and Montana Chocolates: Birds & Beasleys has some delicious treats available. Huckleberry Coffee and Montana Chocolates make a great souvenir for any visitors you have in town this summer.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Attract HummingbirdsWant more hummingbirds? Tie a big red ribbon around the old oak tree.  Dig out those Christmas decorations and attach the red bows on your deck, yard crane, or other places you want to attract hummingbirds.  Red equals food for hummingbirds. And they’ll come by to check out your bows.

Then have some red blooming flowers or a “clean” hummingbird feeder ready for them to enjoy and benefit from.  Have your feeder up by April 15th. I stress, you must keep hummingbird feeders “clean”, as feeding from a dirty feeder is like a “DWI” for a hummingbird.  Mold and mildew on a feeder or spoiled nectar throws off a hummingbird guidance system. A hummingbird beats its wings about 78 times per second so staying in total control is critical.  As a result, hummingbirds will avoid a dirty feeder. There are feeders available that are totally dishwasher safe. Look for them and always buy feeders that come apart easily and feature wide mouths to the nectar reservoir.

When buying feeders, avoid products with yellow ports or parts.  Yellow is one of the few colors bees can see and they are attracted to it.  If you own one of these, use fingernail polish to paint the parts red. You can also use Avon “Skin So Soft” to safely discourage bees and wasps.  Just put a little around the feeder port. You can keep ants from getting in your feeder by hanging the feeder from an “Ant Moat or Nectar Protector.”  You fill these devices with water because ants can’t swim and thus can’t get to the feeder.

When planting flowers, I recommend native plants wherever possible.  Trumpet Vine, Honeysuckle, Columbines and Cardinal flowers are some species to select.  Regarding annuals always go with flowers with feature wide-open throated blossoms that are easier for hummingbirds to feed.

A couple of other things you can do to attract hummingbirds is to provide a mist of water, a plate of rotting fruit or nesting material.  Because hummingbirds go in and out of hundreds of flower blossoms each day, they get covered with a lot of pollen. Hummers look for a way to clean their feathers.  A fountain that splashes or a shallow bird bath is sometimes used by hummers for this purpose. Better yet, providing a mist they can fly through is a guaranteed way to attract hummingbirds.  In fact, if you put your water supply on a timer, you’ll actually have hummers lining up daily. There are commercial misters available that can be adapted for this purpose or a soaker hose can also work if strung through the air.  You can also buy nozzles developed specifically as bird misters.

Did you realize that while hummingbirds use nectar as their energy source, small insects are a hummingbird’s source of protein and minerals?  A proven way to attract lots of hummingbirds is to put out a plate of fruit (watermelon, peaches, bananas, are the best!) and let it rot. This results in lots of small fruit flies that hummingbirds love.

Last but not least, all bird species respond to you when providing them nesting material.  For hummingbirds, there’s only one proven nesting material and it must be purchased commercially.  The product is called “Hummer Helper Nesting Material” and is endorsed and recommended by The Hummingbird Society.

If you use some of the above suggestions, you should soon have lots of hummers zipping around your yard or pond.  Want to learn more about hummingbirds, check out www.hummingbirdsociety.org.

Source: The Bird Man Mel Toellner

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 12 – Are the Baby Birds okay?

Friday, June 8th, 2018

Springtime means you may encounter baby and fledgling birds in your yard or pasture. What should you do about them, if anything? Don’t worry, Birds & Beasleys owner Sandy Shull is here with a bonus -Let’s Ask Sandy!-to answer your question.

Hi! I’m Sandy with Birds & Beasleys! Today, I get to be outside, which is exciting because I want to talk about what happens outside.

The question we’re getting right now is “What do I do when I find a baby bird?” It’s a hard question. So the first thing you need to do is stop and don’t do anything. Sit back, look at the situation, and try to decide what’s going on. Is it a baby bird that has feathers? Is it a baby bird that doesn’t have any feathers? Is it injured? Are parents near? So look again, and say to yourself, “Oh, it’s a bird, he’s hopping around, he looks healthy, he’s got most of his feathers on, and I think I hear an adult is feeding him.” Leave the bird alone. Now, 99% of the time, the birds are fine. It’s hard to watch, but you need to go ahead and leave them alone. The parents are feeding them, the birds has flegged.

If you find a bird that doesn’t have many feathers or has few feathers on it, look around to see if there’s a nest near. You might be able to see a nest where the bird has fallen out. If you can see that nest, you can pick the bird up. It does not matter about your hands, on the smell that’s kind of a wives tale, old myth. Put that bird back in the nest if you can find the nest. If you can’t, put it in a safe spot. Pick it up, put it up in a tree, put it in a bush, so it has a sporting chance.

The hardest thing is Mother Nature is cruel sometimes and we have to let the birds do what nature does. If it is a bird, like a raptor or an eagle, Montana WILD has the license to take it and they can help rehab it or take it to the vet to do some kind of repair or get medical attention.

Unfortunately, in Helena, we do not have some kind of rehab person for a non-raptor. So, no one legally can take a bird home with them. So, what I would say is put the bird up in a tree where it is safe, where the parents might be able to find it. Try to step back, it’s hard to watch. About only 10% of birds live their first year. It’s part of nature. It’s not a pretty sight, but it’s part of what we do. Know that you have probably saved a bird by putting it up in a bush where it is safe, away from kitties. When in doubt, give us a call. We’ll give you moral support. We’ll talk you through it.

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 11 – All Aboard the Last Chance Tour Train

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Hop on the Last Chance Tour Train (Helena, MT), this summer! Take in the sights and learn about Helena’s rich history. This affordable attraction is a great way to entertain visitors. Treat them to a free gift thanks to Birds & Beasleys and other downtown businesses like the Holter Museum of Art. (Watch closely for a cameo by Sandy Shull’s mom and store founder, Jane Beasley!)

Hi! I’m Sandy with Birds and Beasleys and today I have my mom, Jane Beasley, with me. So, today’s Let’s Ask Sandy is, “What do I do when I have company in town? I want to do something fun!” You ride the Tour Train!

The Tour Train started June 1st, and it is a fun time! Adults are $9, Seniors are $8, Kids are $7, and under 4 is free. Ride the train, see what’s going on in town, find some good folklore. And here’s the fun part. If you ride the train and bring in your tour train ticket, you get a free gift, which happens to be one of mom’s little bird pictures, our honey, our bird book, or some playing cards, along with five other merchants, Imagine Design, Bert and Ernies, GMac’s Pottery, the Carousel, and they’re all willing to give you a free gift if you ride the Tour Train.

So, get on the train! Bring your friends, bring your family! It runs all summer long, check out their website for the times, or we can sell you a ticket here at Birds & Beasleys. Thanks for stopping by and ride the Tour Train.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Birds & Beasleys

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Here at Birds & Beasleys we have great Father’s Day gift ideas for your groovy dad! From coasters to Last Chance Train Tour Tickets to beautiful artwork, you are sure to find exactly what your dad needs this Father’s Day. Birds & Beasleys has a variety of gifts available for you to pick up for your dad before Father’s Day on Sunday, June 17th. Birds & Beasleys offers free gift wrapping in the store. Also, we ship anywhere in the United States. Give us a call at 406-449-0904 if you have any questions. We are here to help you find the perfect Father’s Day gift for dad this year!

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Helena, MT 59601

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