Parker County Today August 2016 - Page 52

our stories: WILDLIFE BY DEBBIE NEWKIRK Wild Bird Center in Weatherford, Texas AUGUST 2016 PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY B irds, like people, need water to survive. Just like us, they drink it, play in it, and bathe in it. Unlike people, they don’t have a faucet to turn on to get fresh, clean water. So where do birds get their water? Finding and using water requires birds to be ingenious. As with food, most water is located visually by birds. Very small amounts of water can help sustain life, and birds find it everywhere. Puddles on the roadside, low spots 50 in a field, leaking water faucets, water run-off – all are water sources. Some birds even drink the dew off leaves and raindrops from pine needles! But for most birds, it’s the sparkling surface of a pond, stream, puddle, or birdbath that signals the presence of a water source. Once birds find water, the majority of them drink by dipping their bills in it then holding their heads up so the water flows down their throats. As for bathing, most birds need relatively shallow watering holes. Most birds don’t swim and prefer to bathe in water an inch or so deep. Ideal baths slope inward to a depth of no more than three inches. Once located and deemed reliable, visiting a water source, such as a birdbath can become a part of a bird’s daily routine. Birds learn to depend on them and come back daily to drink and/or bathe. One of