Birding with Jerry Hall: Water attracts birds to yard
Let's hear it for water.
Cara Wernli and Jane Little of Woodcreek have a small pond with a recirculating water feature in their back yard. It's amazing how much wildlife is attracted to this little oasis.
Frogs, foxes, deer, possums, raccoons and squirrels have all dropped by, not to mention a long list of birds ranging from Louisiana waterthrush to red-tailed hawk (which caught one of the frogs) to eastern screech owls.
The pond has been so productive they made a PowerPoint video of the 65 bird species that have visited. The video runs about 18 minutes and is a real testimonial to the power of water to pull in avian attractions.
Donna Lehr of New Braunfels is another believer in water. She and husband Larry recently set up a rocky artificial stream in their yard and it immediately pulled in the birds. In addition to the usual resident species, she reports yellow, Blackburnian and Nashville warblers, common yellowthroat and a gray catbird.
The water feature does not have to be fancy, a simple birdbath will do wonders in attracting birds. Just keep the water clean and cool and you'll be surprised at what shows up. I've had a golden-cheeked warbler and a white-winged dove take turns splashing in my birdbath. Of course, the deer will also drink the bath dry on occasion, but I figure they deserve a nice, long drink on these hot summer days.
Don't stop with just one bath set up lots of little pans and dishes around your porch, deck or yard. I've found certain birds like to return to their favorite dish Carolina chickadees in particular will drink and splash around in one shallow dish that seems to particularly meet their requirements.
So fill 'em up, folks. Water will attract all sorts of interesting critters.