Usually by April spring has already sprung here in North Georgia, but 2013 is quite the contrary. This should be the scene, when heated bird baths are removed for storage and birdbath drippers take their place. Not so – not yet anyway 🙁
Yesterday morning when I went out to feed the birds (a daily ritual)… my hands were actually numb! Wet, windy and downright freezing cold, birds were puffed up like little balls, trapping air pockets between feathers to stay warm. It’s really tough on the insect-eating birds because there’s no insects yet! Migrations are under way, but landscapes are not very accommodating at this point. What was it- like 15 inches of snow in IL last week…. uuggh, it’s enough of winter already, hummingbird feeders went up last week for Pete’s sake! They just don’t go with heated bird baths.
Later that day a friend told me it was a record-breaking temperature, the highest low temp for GA on record since the 1880’s. Well today was beautiful, with projections in the 70’s and 80’s for the next few weeks. Maybe it’s a sign that spring is finally here to stay? Let’s hope so! And if it’s not, this birdie may be heading further south real soon!
It’s pretty cool when you can take an item and make it work for something other than its intended purpose. Surely there’s some scientific name for it? I do this kind of stuff all the time around the yard/wildlife habitat (which is my little slice of heaven when time allows).
This bird feeder bracket for instance, serves a leaf mister perfectly. Being a raised front porch, the bracket attaches to the porch rail and sits just right above native salvia and clematis. The beautiful thing is that the bracket can be moved if and when an area becomes too saturated from the mister.
Action? The buzz and flutter of activity in summer is stupendous! Both butterflies and hummingbirds dance, play and flit back and forth constantly. Although the salvia draws them in, the star attraction is definitely the gentle mist of water. Looks a bit strong in this photo, but it’s really not at all.
Even song birds will sit on the bird feeder bracket and very tip, just waiting for the water to start! Imagine that – birds attracted to a perch where no feeder exists! Just a downright shame there were snow flurries in Atlanta this morning 🙁 Come on spring!
An essential element for life, like the air we breathe, water is a simple, inexpensive way to entice more birds to your yard. Many species who don’t visit feeders or use nest boxes will frequent a bird bath. The only responsibility with a pedestal, ground, or hanging bird bath is keeping the water fresh, not only for birds, but for other health reasons too.
Recently the New York Times reported that in the Long Island area, the health department has actually been checking residents’ birdbaths and imposing fines for dirty bath water… no kidding! Four people have received hefty fines too-as the city is taking the situation quite seriously. The reason is stagnant water and the fear is the dreaded West Nile Virus spread by mosquitoes.
It doesn’t matter what kind of birdbath you have, or may be planning to purchase in the future. There’s a simple solution to avoid stagnant or standing water, and that is to keep it moving! Known fact: Mosquitoes can not lay eggs in moving water. Bath accessories like Water Wigglers, fountains, bird bath drippers, and leaf misters all keep water moving… and the birds absolutely love them! These create visual magnets for avian friends, and they run on batteries, solar power, or from the garden hose. Plus they’re simple to install and keep bath water cleaner longer.
Take a plastic, gallon milk jug and create your own dripper that works great, even in a hanging bird bath. Simple to do and very inexpensive, pierce a pin hole in the bottom corner of the jug. Secure the jug (through the handle) to a sturdy branch above the bath using rope, wire, or even a large S-hook. One gallon of water dripping through a tiny pin hole will last for days! Simply refill the jug for continued use. The movement will catch birds’ attention, and keep mosquitoes from laying their eggs. It’s a win-win situation for all!