It’s Bird Nesting Season in Missoula

By SILKE JAUCK

About three months ago, we decorated our trees, our barn, and the fence posts in our garden with ten bird houses.

I even announced it here at Make it Missoula to our migrating birds, that we offer free room and board. We learned about cavity nesters and built bird houses with small entry holes.

For platform nesters, we designed special bird houses, even hung up a bat house.

With great excitement, we anticipated our first winged guests. We checked almost daily, but not a single bird had moved in. All bird houses remained empty.

We consulted our neighbors and were told that birds often don’t accept a new house right away. It takes a year or two for them to move in. Big disappointment in our family! Was all our effort for nothing?

A few weeks ago, when mowing our lawn, I noticed a very agitated Killdeer limping with a seemingly broken wing in front of me.

The next day, I noticed two very agitated Killdeer with injured wings trying to distract me from a mulched area in our garden.

As soon as I was further away, the broken wings had miraculously healed and the birds flew away. And then I noticed a small bowl in our mulch, filled with four little, brown speckled eggs.

The nest was so well camouflaged, that none of us had noticed it. Just a few days later, four small Killdeer babies hatched and are well guarded by their parents.

We still smile about the irony: We hung up ten bird houses, which remain vacant, while our bird family consisted of six ground-nesting Killdeers.

So it goes in the Missoula bird world.

Happy bird season!

– Silke

 

Silke's birdhouse sits empty, as the birds chose to nest on the ground.
Silke's birdhou...
Killdeer chicks in their camouflaged nest.
Killdeer chicks in t...
A mature killdeer plays possum to distract from the nest.
A mature killdeer pl...

 

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Silke Jauck is a German native and Missoulian by choice. She and her family have packed and unpacked their suitcases and moving boxes in four continents and have finally settled in Missoula and called it home. She lives with her husband, three daughters, and a dwarf rabbit in the Target Range neighborhood. Silke is the publisher of Friendship Book, a made-in-Montana keepsake and activity book for children ages 6-12. She also has a blog about life hacks at Silke Good Ideas, and you can visit her Make it Missoula blog archive.