h + 2 ohhhhs
that would be water, people. the subject is water. water, specifically, for the birds.
oh no, they moan. she’s at it again. the bird lady is flapping her wings. she’s squawking, she is. she’s going round and round like a broken bird record.
now, now, good people. calm down in your nests. this won’t be a lecture. more like a soft little nudge of the gentlest elbow. it’s just that the news is so stunningly good. and so stunningly simple.
for years i have heard my bird-loving mama cajole and remind, put out the water. well, you know how things go when your mother reminds. you forget. you get busy. you don’t do what she says.
but my bird buddy, that tim joyce fellow i told you about. the one i am talking to for my birdscaping story.
well, he said, ‘put out the water.’ and somehow i listened. actually, barbara the wiser (aka my mother) gets due credit here.
see, at the fancy bird shop they sell all sorts of gizmos for giving your birds plain old tap water. and the pricetags for these thingies? they start at $49.99 and go skyward from there.
well, ol’ barbara the wiser she never met a gizmo she thought that she needed. so she rummaged around, down in the basement, in the garage, and she came up with a banged-up plastic plant saucer that would do just the trick.
years back i had put down the cash for one of those water heater-upper coils; the problem was, since we moved here four years ago i wasn’t sure if i’d seen the darn coiled thing.
presto, it was, believe it or not, in the logical place, right there in the garage, nestled with other bird things, next to the garden things.
so, my mama, she plugged it in. just plain old tap water, the coil, the saucer.
and what to our wondering eyes did appear?
listen up, people, this is the good part: birds by the dozens, birds by the flock.
it is as if some magic elixir was out there in the saucer. some bird cocktail that’s got them all chirping. yo, they are warbling, one to the other, there’s water on maple. take a dive, take a drink. or some bird flutter like that.
so the moral of this little tale is no more than this: if you want the birds, put out the water.
more essential than seed. cheaper, by far. all you need is a tap and a spigot, a saucer, and a means to keep it from turning into a big block of ice.
certainly, you could pop for one of those coily gizmos. i haven’t seen one for less than $49.99. or, try one of these, nearly for free:
barbara the wiser heats up a kettle of boiling water and pours it atop the ice that’s formed overnight.
the fine folk at the cornell lab of ornithology, about the smartest bird folk in the land, suggest putting an ordinary lightbulb into a flower pot, and then setting the saucer of water on top of the pot. the bulb, plugged in and turned on, mind you, will put off enough heat to keep your bird bar ice-free and fluid.
a few other watery bird things you might want to know: the no. 1 reason a bird needs its water, is not simply for drinking but rather for bathing. yes, it’s true. a bird stays warm under its feathers. but for optimum fluffing, the feathers need to be clean. a bird with clean feathers is a bird who is cozy and warm. a bird in need of a bath is a bird who can’t fluff his feathers.
finally, you might love this little bit, a bird as it breathes exhales moisture with each little breath. i don’t yet know how many breaths a bird has per minute. but i’m hot on the trail of that little bird fact. for now, just know, that your bird it needs water. you do not want dehydrated birds tipping and flopping all over your world.
more to come. for now, class dismissed….
Wow, I’m going to try this today. Even a tend-to-be-lazy-when-it-comes-to-birds person like me should be able to master this one. Will let you know the results.
I’ve become somewhat of a bird lover ever since a hummingbird built her golfball-sized nest three years in a row just outside my door (she came back to the same place each time). Since then, birds of all sorts have flocked to my front courtyard and birdhouses are a staple around here. One year a little finch built her nest in the wreath hanging on my front door. We truly had a ‘bird’s eye view’ through the peephole and watched those beautiful little eggs hatch and then witness the babies take their first flight to the tall trees. These mother birds are a study in faithfulness and even though I put out food and water during nesting season, I’ve neglected them in the winter months thinking they flew to warmer places. Not so any longer! I’m heading out to the garage right now …