Fallon County Timely-Tips

Turn your yard into a bird haven

By Sherry Vogel

Turn your yard into a bird haven

Spring has sprung! One of the joys of this time of season is the melodious song of birds chirping. If you enjoy awakening in the morning to the harmony of a bird chorus, then entice them to visit you by providing a bird-friendly habitat.

Birdscaping is a very rewarding hobby that helps create an inviting sanctuary in the fauna and flora of your own backyard.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you design this habitat. You will want to keep these three basic bird necessities in mind:

#1. Food: Plant seed-producing foliage for year-round bloom. Three factors to keep in mind as you plant is what time of year the plant provides fruit. You will want to plant a variety so that plants will be blooming year around. There are three busy feeding seasons: Spring to summer when birds are nesting – they are in need of lots of food to raise their young.  Late summer to fall, many birds are feeding to prepare for travel during migration time. Wintertime is survival time when most food sources are scarce. You play a big part in a bird’s health and maybe even a bigger part in its survival over the duration of the winter.

Be aware to place feeders within three feet of a window or over 30 feet away in order to prevent bird strikes against the window pane. Also place the feeder strategically away from where prey may be lurking, such as bushes and trees.

#2. Provide a multitude of nesting and hiding spots:

Evergreens are ideal; they offer year-around protection.

Offer a variety of deciduous trees/shrubs, especially fruit, sap, or nut-producers. In zone 4a, where we live, trumpets, crab apples, black chokecherries, pagoda dogwood and elder thickets are good hearty choices. Shrubs and tall grasses lure ground nesters. Flowers are also good choices as many birds feast on them or insects that feed on the flowers. Many bird friendly flowers that thrive well in Fallon County are Aster, Beard Tongue, Elderberry, and Holly Hock.

Set up man-made birdhouses. Avoid any house made of metal, as it tends to heat up in the summer sun baking its inhabitants. Secure your birdhouse so that gusty Montana winds will not cause it to come crashing to the ground.

#3. Supply clean water. Birds will likely not stop at unclean water sources, so clean frequently and change water daily in baths. Birds tend to love bathing in fountains with moving water.

Birds play a valuable role in our ecosystem. What better hobby than to protect our local environment while enjoying the antics of our little feathered friends?