Mr. Chipping sparrow needs to cool off, he enters the naturally textured birdbath with gentle slope as it’s quite enticing. But surprise! You reside in Atlanta where it’s hotter than Hades right now and the bath water isn’t just warm… it’s hot 🙁
Not so refreshing… except for the gentle spray from the leaf mister above! Like the shoemaker’s daughter with worn shoes, our own mister at home is really old with a slight drip. But the drip is ideal over a birdbath as it keeps the water moving (no mosquitoes) and adds fresh, cool water on a slow and steady basis. Birds are absolutely wild for it! So much so, they sit and wait for the misters to start every morning, it’s like a virtual bird spa.
This mister is attached to an old metal… not sure what it is, but a simple plastic plant stake with twist-tie works great. Even the garden benefits with ease of mobility, moving the stake around to different sections each day. Gardens grow lush, and birds love taking leaf baths too!
When placed over a birdbath, leaf misters offer fresh and cool water for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Activity is pretty amazing on warm summer days. Stagnant water is no fun for anyone when temperatures remain in the 90’s. Adding a water feature like a dripper, solar fountain or water wiggler to your birdbath will bring it to life, entice more birds, and keeps water fresher for longer periods of time.
The whole set-up is shown below and it’s simple to recreate. The misters come with everything to be up & running in minutes! With 50 feet of tubing, it attaches to the outdoor spigot, complete with Y-valve that keeps garden hose free for use. Extra tubing is optional, and we can promise (from personal experience) birds LOVE these things!
But first the delectable mix that so many bird species seem to adore, it’s perfect for tray style window bird feeders and any type of platform or dish feeder too. There’s no measuring and it mixes up easily in a gallon zip-lock bag. With a little something for everyone, many bird species have been spotted taste testing!
- 1 No-Melt suet cake, finely crumbled (we use peanut or orange)
- 2 handfuls of shelled peanuts
- 2 handfuls of dried mealworms
- 2 handfuls of sunflower hearts
- Mix well by shaking bag vigorously
The yummy mix is full of fat & protein, and we’ve seen chickadees, titmice, cat birds, Carolina wrens, bluebirds, woodpeckers and others trying it on for size. Approval seems unanimous, definitely a keeper!
And the big visitors? Take a gander at these 4-legged birds! Living in a subdivision it’s not everyday one sees horses grazing freely, but that’s what was out there! Failing to snap a photo of them loose in the back because panic ensued and who to call was the task at hand. After reaching animal control services, I was most relieved to hear the horse’s people were indeed looking for them, and they arrived in minutes. Off they went- end of excitement for the day, the pony sure was a little cutie, he’s the one who likely pushed the gate open too!
Regardless of using tube style hummingbird feeders or basin designs – they all have feeder ports which are difficult to clean. A mascara brush is the absolute perfect solution for reaching in and and scrubbing these tiny ports. Of course you’ll want to first sanitize the brush by running it through your dishwasher, or place it in boiling water to completely remove all residue as chemicals are harmful, probably even fatal to hummingbirds.
The tiny brushes are ideal for all types of other bird feeders and their hard to clean spots. These small spaces that are hard to reach usually accumulate crud (another word for mold and bacteria build-up). It’s imperative to bird’s health to keep any feeder from growing crud in the first place.
And forget about the “red myth” for both nectar and feeders themselves… it’s not true! We think the tiny sprites actually prefer home-made nectar over commercial mixes. Plain table sugar and water is it, that’s all you need. 1 cup sugar to 4 cups of water. Store nectar in the fridge for up to two weeks. No need to even boil the water, but we boil one cup just to dissolve sugar more effectively. Adding 3 cups of cold water also alleviates any wait for cooling time. You can fill feeders immediately and hang.
So many fun styles and colors that add interest to the garden, deck, patio or balcony! Hummingbirds will go for them provided nectar is fresh and there’s no other pests around causing competition (ants. bees, wasps and yellow jackets). Leaking sugar water is the main culprit in attracting pests, so keep feeders clean and use an ant moat if the need arises. Place feeders away from windy areas as a rocking/moving feeder causes spillage. The sweet sticky stuff is a magnet for other visitors who are not so welcome.
Thanks Sephora for the mascara image above!