Birds to brighten your day: Part XI (Bonus edition)

Photo by Chris Bosak Gray Catbird at birdbath.
Photo by Chris Bosak Gray Catbird at birdbath in summer.

In keeping with the birdbath theme, but expanding on it a touch, here is my For the Birds column from two weeks ago that I hadn’t posted here yet.

Water is a vital part of bird habitat. This is true for backyard bird habitats as well. I will admit, however, that I sometimes get lackadaisical about keeping my birdbath filled with fresh water. My house and yard are set up in such a manner that I can’t have my feeders and bath in easy view from my back windows. The bath, therefore, got relegated to the side yard and I don’t often look out those windows.

Often, it’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind,” and the bath goes dry. Then the bluebirds came around and made me pay more attention. I know what you’re thinking: Oh boy, there he goes with his bluebirds again. I don’t have a good comeback for that other than to say: Yes, here I go with my bluebirds again. But I promise it’s not all about bluebirds this time. I walked outside the other day to throw some mealworms on the deck railing when I glanced into the side yard and noticed that a bluebird and junco were in the birdbath. I also noticed that the birdbath was filled with leaves and the birds were struggling to find the last drops of rainwater that were still in the bath.

Had I known that my bluebirds were going to be thirsty as well as hungry, I would have paid more attention to the birdbath this winter. I immediately cleared the bath of the leaves and what remained of the rainwater, gave the bowl a quick scrubbing, and poured a gallon of freshwater in. Within 10 minutes, two male bluebirds were enjoying a drink of water. They both scampered when a female bluebird flew in to get a drink.

Over the next several days, I noticed chickadees, juncos, blue jays and a titmouse taking advantage of the water source. There were also goldfinches. Lots and lots of goldfinches. I typically don’t have a whole lot of luck attracting goldfinches, but this winter, for whatever reason, I am loaded with them. And, yes, they like to visit the birdbath a lot.

Usually, robins are my most frequent birdbath visitor. I have seen plenty of robins around lately, but I haven’t had a single robin visit the birdbath — at least not when I have been watching anyway.

Now back to those bluebirds. I figured when I saw them for the first time a couple weeks ago it was going to be a one-day visit and they’d be gone. When they showed up the next day I figured they would be gone after a few more days. But here it is, weeks later, and they are still here daily.

There are at least four of them but I typically see only two. It won’t be long now until they are looking for a home to raise their young. I am thankful that their visit reminded me to be more mindful of maintaining the birdbath. It has been fun watching the birds go back and forth from the feeders to the bath this winter. Especially those bluebirds.

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