If you're planning to get out and birdwatch or hike a trail, make sure you check the smoke and air conditions. That advice from Bob Danley of KLYQ's Bitterroot Outdoor Journal. He suggested checking the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website for tips on how you might limit your time outside.

When you do get out there, lots of birds await, including hummingbirds. Of course, a hummingbird feeder brings in a lot of adult female and young male hummers. With help from Bob's photo below, you can figure out if the hummer at your feeder is an adult female or an immature male. Follow the numbers:

  • 1 - age of the bird. Are the back feathers brown-tipped? If so, you're looking at an immature bird. No brown-tipped feathers - it's an adult female.
  • 2 - Look at the throat - what kind of spotting does it have?
  • 3 - Sides of the breast - Is there a light cinnamon color?
  • 4 - Wings - Are they shorter, same length or longer than the tail when perched.

  • Butterflies are out there and the Viceroy has a 3-inch wingspan and likes willows near water. Meanwhile, the Monarch butterfly is looking for Milkweed and Bitterroot Valley folks are trying to encourage more of that plant to increase the Monarch numbers, which have been pretty low for the migrating flier (photos below).

    We have photos below of Damselflies. The Northern Spreadwing and the Lyre-tipped Spreadwing are about an inchd and a half in length and you can see the slight differences. Spreadwing means that they hold their wings at 45-degree angles from the body when perched.

    Wildflowers are blooming in the higher elevations, like Skalkaho Pass, past the waterfall. You can see 24 species of orchids. We have photos of Alaska Rein, Giant Rattlesnake, and Slender Bog Orchids. Bob presents all this and more on our weekly report at 7:45 a.m. Wednesdays at 1240 AM, www.klyq.com and the KLYQ cellphone app.

    hummer id tips
    I.D. tips for hummingbirds. (Bob Danley photo)
    monarch butterfly
    Viceroy and Monarch butterflies. (Bob Danley Photos)
    Spreadwing Damselflies. (Bob Danley Photos)
    Three types of Western Montana orchids. (Bob Danley photos)


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