My birdbaths finally defrosted and had their first customers today. Last week they had 6 inches of snow piled on them. I enjoy watching the enthusiastic bathers, even if it means I have to refill the bath a couple of times a day. This time I was lucky; the robin is splashing in the melted snow water. I have a lot of fun watching the bird antics, no matter how common the bird.
When I see them collecting nesting material, hunting for worms, raising their babies and watch the young ones learn to fly, it confirms why I don’t use poisons in the garden. I’d rather tolerate a little diversity in the lawn, pull a few weeds by hand, and buy disease resistant plants than endanger the wildlife or my family.
This is a picture of the area last summer. The Hydrangea paniculata is on the right, with Campanula posharskyana ‘Camgood ‘ (Serbian bellflower) under it. Matteuccia struthopteris (ostrich fern) is behind to the left, Athyrium ‘ghost’ (ghost fern) in front of it, and some double flowering impatiens between. All of these do well on the shady northern side of the fence with an hour or two of sun in the morning.
The next birdbath is the most whimsical decoration that I have in the garden. Here it is last summer in the dappled shade, surrounded by a variety of ferns. They appreciate the extra water when I empty and clean the birdbath. There is the ubiquitous M. struthiopteris (ostrich fern) which manages to pop its head into just about any shot I take in the garden. The other ferns are Dryopteris expansa (spiny wood fern), Adiantum pedatum (Northern maidenhair fern), and Athyrium (lady fern).
Often in the spring and summer, there is a lineup on the tree branches next to each birdbath with customers waiting their turn. If there is a boisterous flock at one bath, the smaller birds might quietly take a drink in the other. In our dry climate, I know the birds appreciate them, and I get hours of entertainment from watching them. Do you have birdbaths in your garden? How do you encourage wildlife?