|Hanging Bird Bath|
December has been extremely--actually, completely--dry in the Town Mouse garden and beyond. And while some of the neighbors put out birdseed to feed our feathered friends, nobody seems to remember that they also need water. So bird baths in my garden have been aflutter with birds of all sizes - and visitors at times remark on the racket they make.
I think it's partly because we have a flock of (non-native) house sparrows this year - but mixed in with them are other birds of similar size. Regrettably, they're all very photo shy - so you'll have to trust me on some of the identifications.
I know I have goldfinches (the females especially look like sparrows but smaller) and house finches - usually just 2 can fit on the hanging bird bath.
The hanging bird bath is very popular because it's so safe - no cat can reach up. So I make sure I fill it twice a week. Even large-ish birds try at times - I often see a beautiful black and white phoebes, and have even seen a mourning dove (that didn't work out, though).
|Chickadee at Christmas Fountain|
The chickadees live in and around the garden. They like to nest in the nest boxes and I hear their happy song often. They're fond of the Christmas fountain, which I received as a gift a few years ago. It initially had a build-in solar thing that made it bubble, but that's been broken for a while. The birds don't seem to mind...
|Junco (?) at Saucer Bath|
One very simple bird bath is a saucer on top of an upside down pot. I initially put a very thin layer of sand into this bath, and the birds liked it because it made it less slippery. Now time has roughened the shiny parts and I just add water once or twice a week. It's a surprisingly effective arrangement, and can easily delight 5 or 6 house finches -- one or two taking a bath, the others just having a drink. I've also seen juncos at this birdbath and at the Christmas fountain. They also like to nest in the garden - one year under a sword fern, and last year in one of my blue pots, hidden by an iris.
The most popular fountain this year has been a large solar fountain with several terraces for bathing and drinking. Squirrels and raccoons like to use the large bottom bowl, the other bowls are visited different birds - last weekend, even a large flock of starlings. Just like everyone, I have mixed feelings about starlings - but after reading the very excellent book Mozart's Starling, I'm quite curious about these very smart birds.
The fountain came with the house. Mr. Mouse and I replaced the existing plug-in fountain with a solar powered fountain. It's a great solution: the fountain is awake when we are, but doesn't use power when we're asleep.
I refill this fountain once or twice a week and clean it once or twice a year. This benign neglect seems to lead to accumulation of spiderwebs and other materials that the hummingbirds like to use for their nest - and surprisingly, it's also their favorite fountain for drinking (they like the running water).
Now that we've finally had a little rain, the birds will find puddles and saucers and other places in my neighbor's garden and the crowds will thin. But I know that come summer, we'll again have the most popular watering hole for miles!
And really, I so enjoy the birds. Which made this Christmas present from Ms. Country Mouse extra special!
|Wonderful Bird Socks from Ms. Country Mouse - Thanks!|