female house finch visiting our bird bath
This summer, with such dry conditions, we decided to create and set up birdbaths for our feathered wildlife friends in search of extra water stations and maybe a refreshing bath. This was another case of "if you build it they will come". We improvised and made 2 birdbaths using 2 metal garden obelisk trellises and 2 large plastic flower pot saucers purchased at our local garden supply stores.
We made sure to set up the birdbaths near shrubbery so they wouldn't feel exposed to their predators.
The 2 birdbaths were ignored for about a week and then first a couple of sparrows would land on them and splash around in the water. Then the house finches kind of took over one of the baths, eventually using both. They usually came in flocks of 4 or 5, male and female. We didn't see house finches around our garden before so this was a surprise. They drank water from the baths and sometimes bathed in them. It was so much fun to observe them splashing in the baths because they seemed to really enjoy themselves, cooling off in the heat. While one bathed, the others would wait their turn, sitting on the branches of our cape honeysuckle shrub next to one of that bath.
Every day when I came home from work in the evening the baths were dry. I knew they weren't drinking that much water, and figured that some was splashed out while they were bathing. So every day I refilled the baths.
Now that the weather has cooled off somewhat as we near the beginning of October, we haven't seen the house finches around anymore, or even the mourning doves that would just sit on the rim of the the larger birdbath.
Maybe the house finches were just here to make their nests, raise their babies and then migrate? I certainly miss watching them happily splash in the birdbaths. Yes, it was extra work every evening, rinsing out the baths and wiping the greenish moss/algae that would grow on the stone we placed in each bath,and refilling them with water. And then I had to clean them well once a week with vinegar and water, to prevent any spreading of disease among the birds.
But it was worth it. We provided the birds with water, they provided us with entertainment and song.
And we'll do it again every summer from now on.