Backyard birdwatching.

We have delightful developments to report on the birdwatching front: birds and more birds in my backyard.

I’m testing a solar-powered birdbath fountain for work, and was near the end of my rope with it until I realized my existing birdbath was too shallow. (The old one is a terra cotta plant dish with a lovely mosaic pattern and perched on top of a pot—sort of like this birdbath, except my pot base isn’t nearly as pretty.)

The fountain worked when I tested it in a big soup kettle, bubbling like crazy—so it was off to Wild Birds Unlimited to find a properly deep birdbath. It’s now set up at the edge of the patio, the fountain is burbling soothingly, and I’m just waiting for the birds to find it. Wish I had a picture for you, but when I picked my camera up, it was strangely light. My kids had once again pilfered the batteries—which I just recharged two days ago, on my own charger; hmpf! They think juice for their Wii controllers is more important than providing photos for my blog. They are wrong.

I’m convinced the birds know there’s some new toy out there for them, because the birdsong level got louder and considerably more excited as soon as the fountain kicked in. The racket out there is ridiculous. And I just refilled the feeder in the adjacent lilac, so we should have bathers any time now. (And if you’re wondering whether birdbaths attract mosquitoes, they don’t if the water’s moving. There are products you can buy—like Mosquito Dunks —to keep skeeters from breeding in birdbaths, ponds and other water features, but I won’t be needing those. Heh.)

While I was admiring the fountain, I noticed activity in a birdhouse in the same lilac. I put it up last spring and the birds studiously ignored it. But it’s pretty—ceramic, cobalt blue, with nice curvy lines—and I enjoy just looking at it, whether the birds use it or not, so I left it in the same spot. Now a bird couple—jenny wrens, I think—are building a nest there. One brings impossibly long twigs to the opening and jams them in while the other hovers and chirps encouragingly. (Or bossily, if you’re the glass-half-empty misogynistic type.) Some of the twigs were at least a foot long, and most of those ended up on the ground, but you’ve gotta give the bird points for effort. It looked like a tightrope walker maneuvering a balancing pole.

All of the above adds up to sweet solace on a day when I also discovered the deer finally did find and ingest my single red rose. (A clean cut on the stem, and not a rose petal in sight.) Ah, well. One nice thing about having a big yard with lots of attendant wildlife: For every minor disappointment, there’s a new marvel to take its place.

Posted on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 at 4:01 pm. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

There are 2 comments on this post.

  1. Nance says:

    We had to move our birdbath some distance from the house to get activity, but since then, they’re pretty mad about it. I don’t know what the magic distance is, but Alan says it’s best to stay out there anyway, “so they don’t shit on the herbs,” specifically the basil.

    Which reminds me to buy pine nuts tomorrow, because cuz, it’s pesto season.

    Posted at July 1st, 2010 at 5:08 pm

  2. tt says:

    I think you’re onto something. I’ve seen two birds in the bath; both kept looking over their shoulders and didn’t linger. And the birdbath is hard by the herbs to boot.

    Pesto? Groan. I gave up making it; too depressing to make this lovely stuff and have no one else in the household enjoy it.

    Posted at July 5th, 2010 at 7:36 pm

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