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 Bathing is for the Birds!

Birds Scene

Birds and Water

Around Gulf Harbors the attraction of birds to water is quite evident. We see all types of birds in the salt water canals and Gulf vistas. But bringing in those small birds to our back yards, especially with feeders, can involve some cost and a lot of work and maintenance. Try a bird bath instead.

Most people who go down the back yard bird feeding track overlook the most important first step. Although planting bushes that supply protective cover and planting nectar flowers for hummingbirds, and putting out a very fancy bird feeder are all important, a fresh water source for drinking and bathing should be your first step. In fact some people find that several bird baths in the yard are all they need to see the most variety of birds.

The seed eating birds like Northern Cardinal and Tufted Titmouse come to seed feeders, but so do the squirrels, raccoons, and even other undesirable rodents. A water source allows you to see both common birds and some small hard to find ones like warblers. The Prairie Warbler in the photo was busy bathing and completely ignored me at Green Key one summer.

Bird baths can be any container that will hold about 2 inches of water. Putting the water source out in the open works best, especially so the birds can detect a predator in time to escape. Keep the bath clean and add fresh water every couple of days, occasionally dropping in a cap full of bleach to control fungus and algae. There are also some new elaborate bath and water units now that include misters and fountains. Birds are attracted to the sound of water flowing or dripping and misters allow hummingbirds to fly into the mist and drink and bathe in midair.
Reprinted with permission from Ken Tracey, West Pasco Audubon.

Posted On Monday, January 12, 2009

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