Sunday, August 05, 2007

Backyard Friends

It is a lazy long weekend. The city is quiet and the beaches and campsites are likely very busy. It has been so hot and dry that I really didn't want to make travel plans when home means air conditioned comfort. The summer drought continues and the stress from the lack of rain is showing on the lawns, trees and gardens. Farmers with irrigation are harvesting good vegetables but have to sell them at a higher price to compensate for the extra water used.
We worked in the garden yesterday weeding, trimming and thinning out the perennials. I have had a small tabletop bird bath on the deck and noticed the birds have been coming to it on a regular basis. It dries out in a day in this heat so I decided to visit the nursery to look for a bigger bird bath. Well, it was my lucky day.

There were three statuary bird baths with pumps being sold at a 70% reduction in price. After reading Larry's recent post about birds loving dripping water, my consultant (the Becka) and I decided on a very heavy, but very functional model. My husband carried the massive base to the garden and in short order it was set up and running. The first visitor was a Monarch butterfly and all evening I watched our backyard birds enjoying the water.

The little chipmunk came by but stayed on the ground looking for sunflower seeds where the feeder used to be. I leave fresh water in a dish in the garden for our resident chipmunks and they have become quite tame. I have seen goldfinches on my echinacea flowers, but the chickadees were the ones feasting on them this time. They were also eating the seed heads on my peony plants. I always leave some dead flower heads for the birds. Our mountain ash tree had only half a dozen blooms this year so there are very few berries on it. Our tree man said it was not diseased, just affected by dry weather and pollution, but the birds love the fruit of that tree.
I like the sound of running water in my garden. I doubt I would go to the effort of installing a pond because of our long winters, but this is an inexpensive alternative that has earned me a few more backyard friends.


  1. What a lovely bird bath ... the birds so love running water. We have a little fountain too. Even the big robins try and bathe in it. Quite fun to watch. The little birds like to sit on the burble on top ... I call it their spa ... the blissful look that comes over them is really a hoot to see.

    We always stay home on long weekends ... why battle traffic and congestion, heat and noise, when one can enjoy ones own back yard, or lacking that, nearby park? I see so many people, with lovely homes and yards, but no one ever in them. Interesting, this need to run madly about!

  2. Anonymous4:12 pm GMT-4

    Bird baths are great but just had something get into it while I was off into town for a few hours! Our yard is really getting brown also! Glad we don't have to mow but looks bad for sure!

  3. Love the little chipmunk photo--although they drive me crazy with all their seed burying.

  4. Looks like it works well!-I love a bargain too.Nice photos-and a relaxing summer post.

  5. Hi Ruth,
    That's a wonderful birdbath. My birds love the bubbler also. What great shots you've gotten of the chickadees. I have a little chipmunk hiding out around the house, but he's not tame like your cute little one is.

  6. Oh, Ruth, your little chipmunk friend is adorable. Nice photo!

    The birds need water. We've been having your dry heat for two months now and it's not letting up.

    I think the reason I have so many birds is that my pond waterfall attracts them (the larger birds). I haven't seen chickadees or small sparrows on it.

    Nice new birthbath!

  7. Just lovely. And at such a great price!

    I didn't know birds would go for peony seed heads. I'll not dead-head mine next year.

    So you've got the splashing of water and bird chatter drifting about the yard. And a very sweet chipmunk.

    Don't you love summer?

    (Wishing you some rain)

  8. Cicero sings- While travel is great, I agree there is no place like home. I enjoyed my long weekend spent puttering about here.

    Tom- Brown and crisp pretty much describes our ground vegetation this August. Rain please!

    Donna- This chipmunk has really messed up my planters, but he is so cute!

    Larry- Thanks for the suggestion!

    RuthieJ- The chickadees are so sociable and are not afraid to come around when I am outdoors. The other birds are more cautious.

    Mary- I do admire your pond and would love to have one too. It is a real haven for the birds in your neighbourhood.

    Cathy- I have never seen the birds on the peony heads either. I was way behind in dead heading my plants. My laziness had some benefits for the birds.


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