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)
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!