Much of the country has been experiencing a record-breaking heat wave in the past few weeks. We have all been suffering, but thankfully many of us have air conditioning and water on tap. While we stay in our climate control, the birds outside are struggling in the heat and can have difficulties finding sources for drinking water. For those of you who do not typically cater to backyard birds, you can do one small task that would help your local population enormously. Simply set out a bowl or cup of water for them to drink. I am not speaking to the backyard bird watching community, or habitat gardeners, but the person for whom wildlife gardening is not your thing. Keep it simple! You don’t need to over think it, create a ‘sanctuary’ or even spend time on the project – just walk a bowl of water outside and set it on the ground. That’s it.
The only considerations you need to keep in mind are:
1. Make sure the rim of the container is one that birds can perch on and grip as they bend down to drink. They have small feet!
2. Be certain that the water level is up to the rim of the container. Birds don’t have a long reach!
3. Be certain the container is heavy enough not to tip over when something lands on it.
Anyone can do this no matter how busy you are. If you live in an apartment, townhouse or condo you can still set water on a balcony or porch. Again, don’t over think it and worry about rocks, bathing depth or location – birds are very adept at finding a water supply. Use what you have and set it where you can. During a heat wave as we have been seeing the priority is drinking, not bathing.
You do not need to run out and buy supplies, just check your kitchen for whatever container will work.
Of course if you want to get fancy with your water, go ahead. The above photo is from a friend who lives in an apartment. He came up with a large metal bowl to use and was concerned the rim was too wide and slippery for birds to perch on so wanted to place a rock in it. The first rock he found was large, but it is fine. Go ahead and giggle at his creation – I did, he is my friend after all – but the birds won’t give a rip. They will still drink. This actually will provide a good landing area for them. The gentleman who set this up is not a bird watcher, does not make a science out of attracting birds but wanted to help. His system will. I am willing to bet he gets visitors to his balcony and who knows, he may become interested and add a more permanent water feature in the future.
Even if you aren’t a gardener or not inclined to create a habitat, be kind and please set a container of water out for wildlife. It’s such a simple thing that can do some good. You may even discover you enjoy your bird visitors.
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