Seeing a bird bath brings back warm memories of watching the birds play in the one outside the kitchen window as a child. It seemed like there were always a couple of birds dunking themselves and the flapping their wings sending sprays of water everywhere, repeating it time after time - until they flew away to a branch where they would finish their grooming.
Once I had my own home, I always intended to get a bird bath, one just the right height so that the cats could not just grab a bird off the rim. I never got one for the old place and now I feel bad about that, because I didn’t understand why bird baths are important.
Fast forward to my new home and on the list again was a bird bath. Several years ago I did find just the right one that attached to the deck railing by a clamp, and in reality, is just a circular band that holds a shallow plastic saucer that is about 1-2 inches deep - so that is easy to lift off and clean. I had to have it!
That bird bath is one of the best decisions I have ever made. At first I was kind of disappointed because it didn’t seem that many were entertaining me by playing in the water but then I realized – this bird bath is perhaps the only source of clean drinking water for the birds in my area.
Perhaps the only source of water close by for the birds when the hot weather happens. That realization made me feel incredibly shallow, I never thought about birds needing to drink to survive, just like any other species. I felt bad, and then worse, when I started trying to figure out exactly where birds in the city could find clean drinking water. Sure, there are some creeks, and even a river, but there are none close to where I live. They would have to drink out of the muddy puddles on the side of the road – which also disappear when the sun comes out. I provided food, but nowhere to drink. It makes sense now, why dad had the bird bath next to the bird feeder, and every time he watered, he washed out the bird bath and filled it back up.
Last night while doing the dishes I watched three Stellar Jays (like the bird in first picture) sitting together on the rim drinking water – dipping their beaks down into the water – tipping their heads way back and gulping down the clean fresh cool water. Later I watched several Chickadees stop by and take several sips and fly away - including my little one with only one leg. Then a couple of Crows stopped by and finally a Squirrel come over to get a drink. I see all the birds in my garden except the humming birds use the bird bath to drink from every day - starting with the large Norther Flicker Wood Peckers down to the tiny, little, Bush T*ts, and perhaps the hummingbirds do too, and I just miss seeing them.
Have you ever asked yourself where the birds in your neighborhood find water to drink?