Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Don't Forget the Birds

One of the things i love about living in Austin is getting to see cardinals and mockingbirds. We had cardinals growing up in Connecticut but lived in a cardinal-free zone up in Merrill, Oregon. I just love seeing their red flashy selves darting about in the barren Winter trees. Mockingbirds came into my life when i lived in Savannah, Georgia. I often heard their adapted calls, just like car alarms. Sad.

Birds bring beauty to the Winter landscape when most other plants are grey and sleepy. I can't afford to feed my local birds seed this year, but i often see "Thump" our resident mockingbird (or his wife or son or who knows, they all look the same) hopping about in my garlic patch or amongst the gorgeous Winter pansies - coming out with a big ole bug. Way to go, Thump!

One thing that every gardener can afford to provide their local birds is fresh water. Like most critters, and people, staying hydrated is important for staying healthy throughout the seasons. A simple bird bath, pot dish, or pie pan filled with water could be the key to the birds' survival. Be sure to crack off ice in the morning and refill with fresh, unfrozen water if you live in a colder climate - or if you live here in the land of eternal Autumn, clear out those nasty leaves.

Garden progress Mid March
My pretty bird bath when it was clean and new.

Water is also important for the lizards and toads, ladybugs and butterflies, and of course the farm animals like chickens. Your chickens can survive most temperatures without much protection, as long as they have protection from the wind and plenty of clean water. They'll drink more water during times of heat and cold, so don't forget to check that waterer daily, and clean out any messes or algae buildup. Cider vinegar or poultry vitamins can be added periodically to keep your chooks feeling their best. 

Tea anyone?
Soot is definitely a 'high tea' sort of chicken

Keep those local birds coming back to your garden by providing plenty of fresh water, and you'll have lovely color to look at all year 'round.

Do you have a fancy bird bath, or do you use simpler methods for providing water to the local birds?

This post can also be seen on Simple Lives Thursdays

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