What a fun image… even though the subject is house sparrows, but c’mon… bird baths are pretty useless once turned skating rink 🙁
Aside from the skater, the one with the hat is too cute- thanks Elmer for the creative… it’s perfect! Adding a simple bath heater makes water accessible through winter months. Being a critical life force, you’d be surprised at the variety of feathered friends who will frequent a fresh water source during hard freezes. Even when there’s snow on the ground, good old H2O serves birds much more effectively.
The main mode of survival during bitter weather is to eat enough food throughout the day to store a layer of fat, enough to get them through the night. So when a bird eats snow to get water, they burn precious calories in the process converting that snow to water.
Heated bird baths however are as simple as plugging them into an outlet, thus eliminating this futile process. For use year-round, just unplug and tuck the cord when spring finally rolls around. If you have an existing bath that gets turned over for winter – stop! Just add a heater as an accessory, the newer ones are safe in most baths and they even come with manufacturer warranties these days.
Even bluebirds are more likely to over-winter if a consistent fresh water source is available to them. So nix the skating rink and the dreaded bath “turn-over” as you’ll entice more beaked buddies to your place and encourage them to stick around!
One of the oldest and most intense arguments… cats vs. birds and there’s basically two sides; birders and the people they refer to as “cat crazies”- those who let their cats roam because they believe it’s good for them. Ferals who roam are a problem for birds (but that stems from human ignorance too). Still, there are birders who are responsible cat owners and keep their feline friends indoors. We fit this category – four cats, whose outdoor time consists of a screened porch, and they’re pretty happy with the arrangement.
The neighbor “rescues” cats from the shelter, but they stay outdoors for the most part, which drives me bonkers! At times it’s infuriating, heated words have been exchanged on several occasions. The husband says “just shoot the cat”, but truth be told, I’d rather shoot the wife because it’s not the cats’ fault! Suggesting the cat sport a collar with a bell worked, but it really doesn’t help the birds too much.
A couple of cool ground bird baths are always in use around our yard, but they’re not on the ground anymore! This stinks because birds tend to bathe more naturally at this level. Enter tree stumps, large planters, small tables, and anything else that will add height to the bird baths. An excuse to add yet another, hanging style too.
The dripper birdbath now sits atop of a large planter, the big wood textured bird bath will look good on a tree stump, and the birds will definitely adjust in a day or two at most. Would’ve much rather kept things status quo, but it’s really not fair to the birds. Their lives needn’t be compromised due to the neighbor’s stupidity! And hey… one more hanging bath to maintain won’t make a big difference in the scheme of things… especially since we’re already known in the neighborhood as the crazy bird people 🙂
On the last day of 2013 it was nice to receive this note via snail mail. It was a thank you which stemmed from a resident’s simple request for a birdbath to attract some birds at the nursing home. We sent along one of the hanging bird baths, a couple of suet cakes with cages, and some easy suet recipes in hopes the kitchen staff might humor the residents – and help feed the birds on a tiny budget!
A post was published hoping some other birding businesses might catch wind of the simple request. A couple of benches would’ve been really nice for the folks to sit outside and enjoy the birds, but that was beyond our realm. It was just good to give, expecting nothing in return, and we managed a good bit of that for 2013, and will continue to do so in the new year!
Yes, 2013 had its ups and downs, from Fiscal Cliffs and natural disasters, to super storms, a never-ending winter, and government shut-downs. The Monarch migration was a bust, and bats and bees continue to perish at alarming rates. That last part may not sound very important… but just ask a farmer who grows crops. Without these pollinators the future could be grim.
So, Welcome 2014!
May winter be swift, for early nest starts and spring bulbs forcing through, for a safe and timely return of hummingbirds and all migratory birds, for a new awareness and stewardship of the nature around us, and for many happy & healthy fledges for all our feathered friends!