- Water is important for life of birds and butterflies as well as other creatures.
- A water source can draw animals in for viewing.
- Offer water in ways that are safe for the wildlife.
Make sure to offer for the species you have. Those in areas with lizards might find a mist on a timer a few minutes per day is enough. Butterfly enthusiasts can put a shallow container with sand or rocks in it – perches for butterflies to be where they’re able to get the water without getting *in* the water. Hummingbirds also often prefer a mist – easily done by a trigger nozzle on a hose held at the mist setting. Hook it to a stand over flowers and water the birds and the flowers at the same time a couple times per day.
It’s often said a pump that circulates water – making the sound of running water – will serve as a virtual magnet for birds. A birdbath can be made but make sure you do it with the bird’s safety in mind. Use something that is only a couple inches deep. If you don’t have a circulating water system be sure to dump and clean the waterer every few days – clean water is needed and standing water can become contaminated with feathers, feces, dirt and other things. Use a little $1 scrub brush, give a quick scrub, water your flowers with that and refill for the birds.
Get a birdbath with a rough textured bottom to it. Avoid runoff from chemicals or neighboring lawns and keep the water source clean. If algae builds up use a half cup bleach to the water, scrub and rinse thoroughly before refilling. For this reason you’ll want your birdbath to be easy to access and easily cleaned. Avoid a location where there are lots of shrubs by the bath – eliminating cats or other predators from the water area. Location in the open helps the birds feel safe about being there. If you have a pond which isn’t as easily dumped – be sure to consider luring insect eaters to your yard! A purple martin colony, barn swallows or other birds will keep insects including mosquitoes at bay.
Once put up give it a little time – birds often won’t go right to something new. Once it’s been there a short while they’re more apt to use it. On areas such as ponds that are deep enough a bird can get caught and drown give them a safety – secure a couple of branches out over the pond. Regular tree branches or limbs near the surface of the water, secured firmly, give a branch to get to should a bird get trapped trying to get out of the sides and not be able to. Even an old decorated pan from the kitchen will do – put some gravel or decorative rocks down and it’s a water source. Remember too small containers like this are apt to go dry faster to both birds and evaporation – fill it daily or as needed.
With so many bird feeders available when people think of a bird bath it’s still normally the pedestal fixture in the yard that comes to mind. These are easy to find and work well – but don’t overlook other types. Adapt something to hang in the tree. Something at ground level is a natural addition too – keeping in mind to keep it in the open so cats don’t surprise them. Remember baby birds aren’t coordinated and apt to fall in and drown without extra measures taken.
Those in the northern climates might wish to offer water year round to birds. Having a heater for the birdbath available is easy to do and keeps the ice away. You might in addition to the heater have a cover that covers 3/4 or so of the area – this will make the heater more efficient.
Birds will gravitate to a place that has food and water and a safe place to “be” – and it’s nice to sit out and watch them.
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