Enjoying Birds

Reader Contribution by Bruce Mcelmurray
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For us one of the joys of living where we do is the abundance of birds in summertime.  We have a variety of birds whose habitat seems to focus mainly around our home.  To name a few of the species we have –  stellar jays, western tanagers, wrens, mountain chickadees, robins, junco, fly catchers, woodpeckers, sapsuckers and hummingbirds.  These are but a few of the many species that we see regularity. 

When I take the dogs out for their morning potty break, the first of many daily potty breaks,  the sound of all those birds singing in the morning is better than any orchestra. The harmony and blending of various notes is remarkable in how they all come together to sound like  harmonious music.  The cacophony of various notes coming from all directions and different species of birds is amazing and wonderful to hear.

This time of year some are building nests to raise their young while others have already hatched chicks and are busy feeding them.  We cease to cut trees this time of year so we don’t accidentally knock a nest out of a tree.  Sometimes the nest is in a tree that is brushed by a falling tree. There will be time later for removing dead trees. We had strong winds that blew down a very large aspen tree, creating a domino effect.  We noticed a chick just learning to fly that had apparently survived being knocked out of a tree when the wind blown tree fell.  We simply don’t want to take any unnecessary risk in damaging or destroying a nest by cutting trees down at this time of year;  however, little can be done when it happens naturally. 

We have an abundance of insects for the birds to compete for.  By having them nest around the house we don’t have much of a problem with insects.  We have several bird houses that we put up which they seem to nest in year after year.  We always take them down after the bird family abandons them and clean them out for a new family to use again.  We also keep two hummingbird feeders out for the three species of hummingbirds we attract.  We have rufus, black throated and broadtail hummingbirds.  We also have larger birds like the grouse, owls, raptors and wild turkey which the trail camera recently captured a photo of.  We have occasional visits from two species of eagle – the golden eagle and the bald eagle.  So not only do we have deer, elk, bobcat, coyotes, mountain lion, black bear and an occasional wolf or lynx we have many feathered friends that we enjoy sharing habitat with. 

The two springs on our property provide ample water for the birds and we have thinned the undergrowth and trees to provide good flying corridors.  Waking up in the morning to the various birds singing is better any day than the buzz of an alarm clock.  They start their songs shortly before 5:00 A.M. so we are always up early. We enjoy watching our birds and observe them raise their young for future generations of bird watching.  They reward us with serenades daily and keep our insect population in check