Fargo backyard is home to hundreds of birds
Kevin Kautzman's backyard is home for many Martin birds. Their behavior may tell us when winter is coming.
FARGO — Birds circling the neighborhoods of Fargo is a familiar scene. For one man, the birds are like family.
"Well, I've raised these birds for 30 years. For my Dad. They come from Brazil, and they hatch here. And then they migrate back to Brazil" said Fargo resident Kevin Kautzman.
Kautzman is an expert on Purple Martins. He started creating habitats for the birds in Mandan. After 25 years, he moved to Fargo and brought the birds with him. There are hundreds that call his backyard home. Biologists at Concordia College say there is a distinct reason why.
"It usually is one of the taller structures around so you can't put it right next to your house or other trees, it's got to be kind of out in the open" said Dr. Mike Bush, a biology professor at Concordia College. "They've become very picky and choosey with what they like, to the point where they really don't use any sort of native or natural nest cavities anymore, at least east of the Rocky Mountains".
Kautzman's bird house checks all the boxes. It makes a prime location for a personal bird show. Over the years, he has picked up on their habits like when they might head out for winter.
"Right now, I think it's going to be a later winter. That's what I'm seeing, because the hatchlings are not full fledged yet" Kautzman said.
It may be too early to get your hopes up on a late winter. Birders in the area are seeing more and more species already on the move or stocking up on food which is a sign winters coming faster then we may want.
"They're definitely starting to see the migrants head down further south" said Dr. Joe Whittaker, a biology professor at Concordia College.
Kautzman and the biologists at Concordia College both say Purple Martins will always come back to the same place after migration.