Keep It Moving BY THE WILD BIRD CENTER, WEATHERFORD, TX Moving water sings to birds just as birds sing to people. It’s the sound of summer, the sound of life. So if you want to enjoy more birds more of the time, try serenading them with water. Remember how you feel when you are exploring and hear the enticing sound of moving water? When you offer that same joyous discovery to the birds, you’ll increase both the number and kind of visitors that regu- larly stop by. Unfortunately, once summer hits, water sources can be hard to come by for our feathered friends. Whether it’s the result of ordinary variations in rain- fall for your region, or a full-fledged drought emergency, birds and other backyard wildlife suffer right along with us when water levels drop. Birds need water daily for cleaning and for preening, for drinking, to cool them- selves off on hot days, and to help remove parasites. The good news is that you don’t have to have a half- acre pond to make most birds happy. Getting water for birds is relatively simple. Birdbaths are extremely versatile. They can be large or small, round, square or free-form; they can stand out as a focal point or disap- pear into the landscape; they can be mounted on a pedestal or set flat on the ground, clamped to a deck rail or hung from a tree. 46 But, while getting the water into the yard is simple, getting the birds to find it may not be. Birds are a) creatures of habit and b) highly dependent on visual clues. Sometimes the best place for a new bath isn’t in one of the usual spots and isn’t on a regular flight path. But there’s a simple secret to helping the birds find water quickly and easily; make it move. Moving water increases the chances of birds finding it in two important ways. The ripples reflect light, caus- ing it to sparkle and making it more Water wiggler visible. Moving water will also make noise, and birds have small but very efficient ears. Drippers, misters and preformed “waterfall rocks” are two great choices for creating moving water for birds. Drippers are most often designed to operate on water pressure with a connection to a water source like a faucet. A flow-control valve allows you to “turn down” the water volume until it drops into the bath as slowly as you like. Drippers are available in a variety of styles. Some are free-stand- ing and drip into the bowl, some sit in the bottom of the bath while others attach easily to the edge of any bird bath. By regularly adding fresh water to your bath, drippers also help keep the water clean and cut down on bird maintenance. Waterfall rocks don’t require a water source, but they do require electrical power. They create a natural feeling in the garden by recirculating water in the bath. The sound will attract your backyard birds to stop in and investi- gate. Waterfalls may attract different birds such as Bluebirds or Buntings (if you’re lucky)! Misters provide a fine mist for flying through which is perfect for smaller birds like hummingbirds and are a great low-maintenance way to increase your bathing options. Moving water not only helps you attract birds and helps you keep your water clean, but it also minimizes the chance the mosquitoes will use your bath for breeding which is a win-win for all. Bring more color, song and beauty to your backyard this summer with a bird bath, mister or dripper. Your birds will thank you!