Friday, September 28, 2012

Watering Your Birds


Birds are attracted to moving water. And, having a bird bath or two in your yard will attract as many birds as a new feeder. In fact, it'll attract birds that don't normally visit feeders, like towhees, thrashers, thrush, vireos (like the one above) and... warblers.

Here in the Twin Cities, we've been in a drought since late August. I was watering our oak and pine trees one day when I noticed there were nearly 100 robins congregating in the damp areas. So now, when I water our trees, I give them a good soak, then I set the hose to a light spray, angle it up slightly so it arcs to the lower tree trunk by other shrubs and watch the birds flock.

A couple weeks ago I counted a dozen different warbler species, in addition to ovenbirds, veerys, towhees and the usual backyard birds.

I had fun taking photos of the birds as they literally seemed to play in the water. Here are some of my favorite photos. While they're not what many would call great photos, I like the textures and the spontaneity of the bathing birds. Hope you enjoy!  (Note that the silver streaks throughout the photos are water)

Yellow-rumped Warbler:


The yellow-rumps, like all the other warblers that I noted, also leaned into the spray with their mouths open. I didn't notice this with the chickadees, cardinals or other yard birds - just the warblers.


This little goldfinch reminds me of those old Memorex ads with the guy sitting in the black leather chair getting blown away by the sound (yes, I realize I just dated myself...).


When I went through my photos this bird threw me for a loop at first. I had assumed it was a yellow-rumped when I took the photo, but in reviewing I noticed the white tail patches and the yellow just starting on its head. It's a juvenile American Redstart.


Here's an adult female American Redstart


The next week, waves of Nashvilles came through:



Looks like we'll be in a continued drought for a while longer. If  you're in Minnesota or other drought areas where migration is occurring, set up a water spray and enjoy the birds!

10 comments:

  1. Even in non-drought years birds are attracted to dripping water. Hang an empty plastic milk jug from a tree and prick the bottom of the jug with a pin. Let it drip slowly into a pie pan. You can get fancier with a bamboo spout and a bucket.

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  2. Great idea, I like the how the images came out too, you can tell it's water being sprayed on, and they look really sharp too. Thanks for sharing this tip.

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  3. Totally wonderful..you are an excellent photographer!

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  4. Love your Wet Warbler shots! Water is a great way to attract birds...I bring a shallow pan with me when we travel and set it out. I love to spy on the bathing birds..hee hee.

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  5. No apologies necessary for the quality of the shots - these are really great loos at bird behavior!

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    1. Thanks so much for the nice comment, Lorrene!

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  6. That's "looks at bird behavior" ;)

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  7. These are glorious captures! I have not had the pleasure of seeing warblers enjoying spray such as this. My husband and I had a chuckle recently when we saw two robins happily bathing in our dogs large water bowl.

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    1. Ha! That's great, Julie :-) You must have a pretty big dog... Drag out the hose and have some fun w/the birds this weekend!

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