Archive for the ‘Let’s Ask Sandy’ Category

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 19 – What about Fall Bird House Maintenance?

Monday, September 24th, 2018

What should you do to maintain your bird house in the fall? Find out what Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull thinks is the best way to keep up with your bird house. Sandy gives you tips on how to clean it out to make it a roosting box for the winter.

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 17 – B&B Seed vs. The Other Guys’

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Why should you buy our seed? Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull, is glad you asked! Sandy gives you the skinny on our seed varieties’ quality and type versus the competition.

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 16 – Fill those Hummingbird Feeders

Monday, August 6th, 2018

Hummingbirds are beginning their migration south. Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull, explains how you can help them have a successful journey in this episode of, Let’s Ask Sandy!

Hi! I’m Sandy with Birds & Beasleys! Today’s “Let’s Ask Sandy” question is: Where are the hummingbirds and should I take down my feeder? The answer is no, please don’t take down your feeder. The birds are migrating back right now. So what you’re going to see is the adult males are starting to migrate south, they’ll be doing that the next couple of weeks. Then following will be the juveniles and the females. So, it’s really important you put a feeder out and fill it up. Remember the ratio is four to one, four cups of water to one cup of sugar. Put it out because you are going to be the gas station for those birds if they pass through. Keep your feeder up through mid-September until you see your last bird, a couple of weeks after you see your last bird. If you have any questions, give us a call. Remember, it’s been an odd hummingbird year. Maybe we will get some more in August than we did in July. Thanks for asking Sandy!

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 15 – Where Did Hummingbirds Go?

Friday, July 13th, 2018

Wondering where the hummingbirds went? Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull, explains hummingbird behavior and how to best maintain your nectar feeder. Come visit us this weekend! Open Saturday and Sunday.

Hi! I’m Sandy from Birds & Beasleys. Today’s questions is, what happened to my hummingbirds? Where are they? Where did they go? What should I do? Well, there’s probably a couple of things going on.

The birds are probably fine. They are migrating, they are either going to pass through or they are coming back down. Or maybe they knew it was cold and icky in June and they’re waiting. Hard to say. My guess is that there is good foliage out there, there’s lots of flowers, lots of nectar. The birds are probably eating naturally, they don’t need to depend on a feeder. So when we say it’s a good hummingbird year, it’s because the birds are coming to our feeder because it is a poor natural food time. If it was a poor hummingbird year for us, it means great flowers, not so much a push to the feeders. So, that’s one issue.

The other thing is what’s going on now is that the heat is coming in. The time to really watch your nectar, look at your nectar, see if it’s cloudy, change it often, it might be as much as every day or two. If you start to see it get a little cloudy, turn it, because the birds will not eat it if it has fermented.

Lastly, what else happens in the summer, ants come in. Ants come down, they stay on a trail, they come off a hook down a wire, into the moat. If you put a moat in and put some water, the ants will drown, it will keep them off your feeder. But if the ants can jump on your feeder, they will. Also, think about maybe vaseline on your hook. That will help deter ants. And finally, if you start to get bees, get the product Skin So Soft, AVON Skin So Soft, which we carry and you might have it in your drawer. Put a little bit on your finger, rub it over the holes, that helps deter wasps and bees from coming in on your feeder. So, if you have any other questions, call us down at Birds & Beasleys.

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 14 – Summer Heat – It’s Hot Out There

Friday, July 13th, 2018

The forecast calls for SUMMER. Birds & Beasleys owner Sandy Shull is here to show you how to help your backyard birds cope with hot, dry days. Stay hydrated out there! #wildbirds #birdbaths

Hi! I’m Sandy with Birds & Beasleys. Today, we are talking about what happens with hot weather. What happens to birds, what happens to animals, what happens to people.

Well, the simple thing is water. Everybody needs water. Even Downtown Walking Mall has water now. So, what I want you to do is think about a bird bath. Is it full? Is it clean? What am I wanting to do?

So, birds are wanting to come. There’s a lot of young birds out there right now learning to fly and they need water to survive. So, fill your bird bath. I encourage you to take a rock or a piece of wood and put it in your bird bath so that if the bird falls in, they can swim over to it and get out. Sometimes bird baths are too deep, so don’t make them too deep, add rocks if you need to.

The other thing is my bird bath is getting green or my bird bath is getting red. That is algae. This time of year the algae is starting to grow. Get a brush. We have great brushes at Birds & Beasleys or get a brush. Scrub it out. Flick the water out, put fresh water in. A little bit of bleach, like I would say just about a glug. Let it sit a little bit, I would cover it so the birds can’t use it. Let it sit for a half-hour, an hour, so it kills the algae. Take off the lid, put more water in it. Toss it on. With that dilution, it will not hurt the grass and it will help kill the algae. So again, when it’s hot, algae grows, just keep your bath clean. The cleaner the bath is, the healthier the birds are. Thanks for checking with Birds & Beasleys!

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 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.

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.

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 10 – Hummingbird Gas Stations-Part 2

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Birds and Beasleys owner Sandy Shull is back with more information about feeding hummingbirds at your house. She tells you what to look for in a feeder, how to fill it, and how to care for it so your backyard birds stay healthy!

Hi! This is Sandy with Birds & Beasleys. I still want to tell you about a few hummingbird things.

“What kind of feeder should I get?” is a good question. There are lots of feeders out there, there are a lot of beautiful feeders out there. Let me tell you what to look for. We think you should pick a feeder with perches. There is an ongoing controversy with perches versus non-perches. We like perches because the birds will come in, they’ll land on the perch and feed, you’ll get to see them. Others believe that they should feed naturally because flowers don’t have perches. We, of course, want you to see them. That is number one.

The other one is we like a reservoir feeder like this one. So that the food is down here and when the wind blows they don’t drop. There are some beautiful feeders out there that have a little dripper, but what we find is that when they get swinging it gets to be a bubble in there, which then means you get ants and bees. For us, this reservoir one is really easy. This is my favorite feeder, it’s called the Fast Feeder. It’s not the most beautiful feeder, but it’s the easiest feeder. It comes apart, it’s very easy to clean, the plastic is good, you fill up the feeder about this full, you swing it on, you walk outside upside down so you don’t drip nectar in your kitchen. As you walk outside, you flip it really quick and hang it in the tree. Keep it up for a couple of days, when the fluid becomes cloudy or you see some mold in there, it is definitely time to change it. This time of year, you don’t need to change it as often, but in the summer, you might be changing it daily if the heat gets to it.

Then, if you’re really really patient, we have a little handheld one, you can put a little feeder nectar in there. Stand out, I say with a nice cold drink, sit in your chair, have a drink, and feed some birds. Thanks for calling Birds & Beasleys! Call us if you have any questions about hummingbirds.

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 9 – Hummingbird Gas Station

Friday, May 18th, 2018

The hummingbirds are back! Our customers often call with questions about how to feed and what to feed these delightful visitors. Sandy Shull is the font of all bird-related knowledge. So we say, let’s ask Sandy!

Hi! I’m Sandy with Birds & Beasleys. Today we are talking about hummingbirds and hummingbird feeders. We have had many questions coming our way here lately.

The first is: Are hummingbirds here? Yes, they are. They’ve arrived! We have seen them in town. We have heard about them up in Grizzly Gulch. So, put your feeder out there, it is time to get them out and get those little birds refueled from their long trip. Some of them may still be migrating on North, so they may just be using yours as a fuel station or a gas station. So, put your feeders up, it’s time.

The next question is: What do I put in my feeder? It’s a ratio of sugar water. It is four cups of water to one cup of sugar. Any kind of ratio thereof. It might be two cups of sugar, eight cups of water. Put it together, put it on the stove, boil it really quick so it dissolves. Let it cool. Put it in your fridge and then let it fill up your feeder as you go. You don’t need to fill up your feeders all the way this time of year, fill them up just a little bit until the birds really start coming. We will see most of our birds in June and July, but right now there are some hungry birds out there so get your feeder out.



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February 2019
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