There is no better way to get birds flocking to your yard than a good source of fresh water. A bird’s need for water in all four seasons is so strong that even species you never expected will be attracted to a strategically placed water source.
Birds are very opportunistic. If a birdbath is not available, they will accept water in almost any device or indentation, even the tiniest puddles that would hardly get your shoes wet. By adding a water feature to your backyard habitat you can have a focal point of interest that benefits your feathered friends.
The most natural spot for a bath is close to the ground. Water at higher levels not only appeals to some species, it reduces the bird’s exposure to cat attacks. A soaking wet bird is no match for an aggressive feline. Locating a birdbath near trees improves security against raptors. Plus, branches are an easily reached perch from which to preen in safety.
Motion on water’s surface or the noise of falling water is like a magnet to the wild birds. If you don’t have room for a recirculating waterfall, any device that moves the water or creates a sound will do the trick. Dripper, misters or small pump driven fountains that keep water moving have the added benefit of preventing mosquito eggs from hatching.
You can create your own dripper by hanging an old watering can over your birdbath on a sheppard’s hook. Angle the spout so that just a small dripping action is achieved. An old bucket with a tiny hole on the bottom is an acceptable alternative.
If you have a lawn irrigation system, you can connect it to a birdbath for a continuous water flow. Run a line with a spray emitter from the drip system to the place where the birdbath is located. Every time the irrigation system goes on, fresh water flushes out the bath, refills it and assures the birds always have a source for bathing and drinking.
Whatever your space or topography allows, providing water in your bird-friendly yard is an integral part of the birdscaping plan. The birds won’t care if it’s an elaborate bathing structure or an upside down garbage can lid. They simply want a reliable, clean source of water all year long.
Enjoy your birds!
Wild Bird Depot is located on Rt 11 in Gilford, NH. Steve is a contributing author in major publications, a guest lecturer at major conventions in Atlanta and St. Louis as well as the host of WEZS 1350AM radio show “Bird Calls” with Lakes Region Newsday @ 8:30AM. Wild Bird Depot has donated over $5,000 to local rehabilitators and local nature centers since 1996. Be sure to check out our blog “Bird Droppings” via our website www.wildbirddepot.com. Like us on Facebook for great contests and prizes.