The Bitterroot Valley has experienced an increase of families this month - and more are coming. We're talking about birds. The fledglings are hatching every day.

This week's Bitterroot Outdoor Journal had some advice for those who'd like to help birds "build the better nest." Bob Danley suggested leaving some grasses, string, twigs, even hair on your compost pile or even on a high post that the fliers can spot on their way by. He's found studies that report a lot of activity after the babies are born. For instance, a typical Yellow Warbler female brings 1,560 food items to the nest until the young fledge. However, the overactive Tree Swallow pair bring in up to 8,000 insects a day to the kids in the nest. And, if you see young bird alone on the ground, leave it alone. Its parents are nearby, watching. (Keep the cats away, though.)

If you locate a nest, get the family involved with observations from a safe distance and start your daily journal or photos or even some artistic sketching. The nests are all around and the morning and evening songs can guide you to some of the nest "apartment complexes." By the way, so far this year over 209 different types of birds have been spotted in Ravalli County.

Other flying things include butterflies and the sunny afternoons are bringing them out. Bob saw a Snowberry Checkerspot (photo below), found near the snowberry shrub. Dragonflies are becoming numerous with the California Darner making an appearance last week. (photo below) It actually is not confined to water sources.

Bob's pick of the shrub species this week is the Greene's Mountain-ash (photo below), with a height of up to 9 feet and cream colored flowers with round petals in a flat-topped cluster. The wildflowers are, well, wild - with over 60 species greeting the day. Grab a book and identify a few. We have a composite photo of many Lily species found in the Bitterroot. The bitterroot Outdoor Journal is heard Wednesday mornings about 7:45 a.m. on the KLYQ Bitterroot Morning newscast.

California Darner dragonfly. (Bob Danley Photo)
Snowberry-checkerspot Butterfly. (Bob Danley Photo)
Green's Mountain ash. (Bob Danley Photo)
Variety of Bitterroot Valley lilies. (Bob Danley Photos)

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