Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Water and Wind!

When I lived in the city, I always provided a bowl of water when I fed the birds. That worked fine. Now that I live in the country, I have discovered that the best way to attract lots of wild birds in the summertime is to have abundant water. At first, I tried offering a basin of water and some did come to it, but not as many as you might think. By accident, I let it run over a few times and it filled ruts in the nearby road. That did it! Birds came from everywhere! I counted nine Bullock's Orioles taking a bath all at one time. Once, I had 5 Pyrrholuxia all at once. They bathe and drink and drink and bathe. Even the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Kindbirds and Mockingbirds come frequently to bathe and drink.

The water also attracted a few critters. The park where I live is sort of a sanctuary for wildlife. We have a resident Jack Rabbit that is one of the biggest I have seen. He has come to drink and so have little bunnies and the prettiest (blonde, almost white) spotted ground squirrel I have ever seen came to the water once. Unfortunately, the water also attracts the unwanted--a rattlesnake came to the puddles just outside our fence last Saturday.

We used to see only an occasional quail. When the water is spraying and flowing into the ruts, the whole covey comes to drink--chicks and adults together. We have had coveys of both Bob White and Scaled Quail regularly come to the water.

Night before last, a covey of Scaled Quail came to our yard. I counted 9 or 10 little chicks. Their heads were not fully feathered and they were so cute and fuzzy. They came right up to our steps so I got a good look. They were about the size of the little juvenile male Golden Fronted Woodpecker that comes to my yard daily. 

Another thing I have discovered is that, when the wind blows, the birds that mostly fly to get where they are going don't move around much. The doves, the hummer, the House Sparrows and a few Finches will brave it but the colorful birds pretty much limit their moving around during the windiest times.

(photos from Wikimedia)

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