By Robert Lucke
This is a good time of year for bird watching for the unusually warm December has made for some unusual occurrences in the bird world.
Some folks have seen robins in their yards right along into December and in the Bear Paws there have even been a couple of blue bird sightings this late. Geese continue their meandering and slow routes south this winter and it is not unusual to see them day after day in area grain fields with the mild winter weather.
This might mean that with all the natural things for birds to eat around the area, that they would not be hitting the bird feeders quite as much. Not true. Many feeders report that birds are eating as much or more out of their feeders than normally. Maybe it is due to the availability of feeders and food this time of year or maybe there are just more birds around Havre this year because of mild conditions.
Most area bird feeders still are not satisfied. They are always looking for more ways to attract different birds winter or summer. And as often as not, one of the easiest and best ways to attract many, many birds this time of year is to provide water. Water should be double the bird count at a feeder particularly into January and February.
Some people just add hot water each morning to what has frozen during the night in their water dishes or bird baths. Others buy heated pet water dishes and use them. Those dishes seem to work as well for birds as for pets. What ever is used, that is an easy way to attract more birds and a greater variety.
Don't overlook different feeds either. Some birds will eat only suet (peanut butter suet is a favorite of many birds) and other birds will not touch suet at all but eat only bird seed. Still others feast on tiny black sunflower seeds and little else. Others (probably few in winter) like only wild thistle seed. So along with water, this time of year keep a variety of feed and you will see an increase in numbers and variety of birds both.