BIRDS ARE FLOCKING TO WATER DURING THE DROUGHT

Cardinal waits his turn

Cardinal waits his turn

Most of Georgia is suffering through drought conditions. For example, in my neck of the woods, not a drop of rain has fallen on my yard during the past 42 days. When it is this dry, our backyard birds and other wildlife need water to bathe and drink more than ever before.

With this in mind, if you want to do something that will be a tremendous benefit your bird neighbors, and provide you with excellent bird watching opportunities, keep that birdbath that has been bone dry most of the summer full of fresh, clean water.

If you do not have a birdbath, buy one. The best birdbaths are shallow (one to one and half-inches deep).

If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying a birdbath, common items such as trashcan lids, pie and cookie pans, and plant saucers, can be used as substitutes.

It is always a good idea to place a birdbath fifteen or more feet from a shrub or other cover, as this will reduce the chances that hungry predators will capture the birds drawn to your backyard oasis.

It is important to keep a birdbaths clean. Often birds foul the water by leaving behind feathers and droppings. In addition, algae often grow in a birdbath when the water is not regularly changed. This poses a health risk to the birds. With that in mind, periodically clean your birdbath with a stiff brush and weak bleach and water solution (one part bleach to ten parts water). After cleaning the birdbath, thoroughly rinse it out before refilling.

With weather conditions this arid, once you fill up a birdbath, it should not take long before the first of what will prove to be a steady stream of birds will begin arriving. These visitors will include cardinals, tufted titmice, Carolina chickadees, brown thrashers, chipping sparrows, eastern towhees, eastern bluebirds, northern flickers, brown-headed nuthatches, and many others.

During the past few weeks, my wife and I have been amazed how many and often birds have used our four birdbaths. I have seen up to six species of birds bathing and drinking at the same time.

Right now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, creating a backyard oasis is arguably the single most important thing that you can do for your bird neighbors.

 

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