|Mourning Dove in bird bath, Corona de Tucson, AZ|
|Cowbird and House Finch drinking from fountain|
Watching bathing birds can be so much fun. Birds like shallow moving water best and this can be provided from a simple Water Wiggler in a bird bath to a simple fountain with a recirculating pump. I bought this simple fountain when I lived in Tucson, AZ and soon had birds galore. All it took was an extension cord and an outdoor outlet. The biggest concern was making sure the small water bucket that held the water and the fountain did not run dry. Also, I found that the small drainage hole could clog up and I really needed to have it set on a flat and level surface, but for the most part it worked well and the birds loved it!
|Grindstone fountain in my mother's yard|
Here on the east coast my mother has what I consider to be one of the best fountains of all. It's shallow but moving water attracts all kinds of birds and other wildlife. The faux grinding stone makes a perfect bathing area for the birds. Sometimes they land on the edge of the black tub and drink the water as it pours over the side. For me, I like to sit nearby and listen to the sound. If I am sitting with the table between myself and the birds they will often come and bath right in front of me! If I am standing they will fly right off!
|Juvenile House Sparrow in fountain|
Due to the different depths of this fountain, the birds can choose what suits them. I often see young House sparrows coming for a drink and a bath, as well as many other birds. One of the biggest mistakes one can make when installing a fountain or bird bath is too get something that is too deep with no shallow areas. Birds cannot bath in deep water and some cannot even lean down far enough over a steep edge to get a drink. All these things need to be considered when providing water for your birds.
|Song Sparrow bathing in fountain|
|Robin bathing in fountain|
|Gila woodpeckers and house finches drinking from bird bath in Arizona|
Some of the most fun I have ever had observing a bird bathing was at the Corona de Tucson Waste Water Treatment Plant near Tucson, AZ. In Arizona these areas can attract all kinds of birds and birders! Most of them welcome birders but you have to call ahead and get permission. Some areas are actually developed as bird habitat and are open to the public, like Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson, and Gilbert Water Ranch near Phoenix. Gus and I happened to go to the Corona de Tucson waste Water Treatment Plant on December 30, 2008. It was shortly after we bought our new Nikon D80 and Gus used the camera while I looked for birds with my bins. We were nearing the far reaches of one of the drainage ponds when we came upon this sight. I had Never seen such a large bird taking a bath before and the sight amazed me. While Gus snapped away with the camera I continued to observe the bird with delight! All of the following images were taken by Gus. we were just getting used to the camera at the time so please excuse some of the blurry images, but at least you can get the idea of what a bathing Cooper's Hawk looks like!
|Cooper's Hawk taking a dip in the drainage pond of Corona de Tucson Wastewater Treatment Plant 2008|
Bathing birds are lots of fun!