I know that last year right around this time I wrote about and probably boring you to tears with stories of the woodpecker family that moved into the dead palm tree in our courtyard. Well, they are back! Because the tree still stands, they moved right in and I am delighted. As neighbors go, they are not bad at all.
For the most part they keep to themselves, they don't play loud music late at night and they never ask to borrow tools that will never be returned. I can see them from the kitchen window and I do enjoy watching them, staying updated on the goings on.
Usually if we go outside, they immediately either go into their little house or they fly up into one of the nearby trees until we leave. But occasionally, if I'm just watering my little potted garden or sweeping the courtyard, the birds will stay and watch me. I talk to them softly as I go. It's just nonsense talk really, I am just trying to get them accustomed to my voice. They tip their heads from side to side while I chatter away probably thinking I am a total wierdo. That's ok, I'm fine with that.
It occurred to me recently that as the temperature and the humidity is rising, that those poor birds must be very thirsty. Generally I see them (and other birds) bathing and drinking from puddles in the driveway and even in the streets after a good rain. But what happens if there is no rain? Do they just go thirsty? Poor little creatures. What they needed was a birdbath!
Now, as you know, I already have that rock with a depression in it that I keep filled with water for butterflies and dragonflies and bees, but it's far too small and shallow for a bird. So hmmmm I needed an idea. I am pretty good at re-using and re-purposing things so I put my brain to work and looked around.
As it so happens there were 5 big concrete pavers left over from the reno. I decided that if those were stacked, that would be a great base for a birdbath. Now I just needed a basin to go on top. A little more searching revealed that the catch dish for my largest plant pot, once cleaned up, would work just fine! I was very excited.
I told Tim about my idea. He listened and nodded but didn't comment. The very next day, he had to do a quick run to one of our local home improvement stores. Upon his return, he asked if I would help him unload the car. Of course! As I neared the car, he opened the back and there was................................
An actual birdbath!
Well that's not true. I think it's supposed to be a planter. BUT I put a brick in the bottom to keep it stabilized, and the basin that sets into the top which the store intended to be filled with soil and plants instead I filled with water! Let's call it a birdbath!
I decided to put it at the very end of the courtyard, the complete opposite end of where the chairs and tables and potted garden are. Coincidentally, where it sits is also near the woodpecker tree. Nice. I has nice clean water, and easily cleaned basin, it's in a protected area near trees, shrubs and a wall for their feeling of safety and not near a peopley spot. It sounded perfect.
Except that, they haven't used it. You can always tell when birds are using a bird bath even if you don't witness it. There always ends up being little feathers and dirt in the water (from their bathing) and sometimes a little birdpoop too, dang it. But the water is just as clean as it was the day I set it out. Drat. What I needed to do was a little more research.
So among the things that I read about successful bird baths is that they water level is important and of course that depends on the size of the bird using it. Also a non-slip surface is helpful. And a bright colour. Birds are attracted to bright colours. Dang.
I put some flat rocks of very sizes in the basin with the water so shorter birds wouldn't drown. The rocks also help to create the non-slip surface, but the plastic basin itself has a few ridges that might help. The colour, however, I cannot do a thing about. So I'm not sure how to solve that.
To date, the birdbath sits unused. And I suppose if they decide to completely ignore it forever it can always be turned back into it's original purpose as a planter. But for now, I'm going to give it a little more time. Maybe it's just a new idea and like a lot of people I know, birds are resistant to new ideas and changes. For now, it remains a hopeful birdbath and I will continue to wait and see.
And it does look pretty cute in the courtyard.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.