Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Do It For The Birds


a fall photo

The sound of happy chattering birds draws me to the porch. It is a marvelous, magical sound.

Earlier this morning as we walked in the park clouds of dust swirled at our feet and by the time we got home our socks were brown. We are in the midst of the  hottest, driest summer in decades. What little grass I have is crunchy, perennials are just barely surviving, the shrubs are drooping and the trees are dropping leaves! The wet weather streams are dry, the usual watering holes are dried up. I worry about the birds and other critters who are parched and struggling. My little birdbaths are busy everyday. But, they are not enough.

So, I've started turning on the hose to spray water all over the woodland garden. It's not for the garden, it's for the birds. Nothing makes them happier than flying through misting water.

Within minutes of turning on the spray they congregate in the nearby shrubbery. The Robins hop about in the wet soil and poke around for worms. The Cardinals sit in the tree and let the rain wash over them. Chickadees, nuthatches and bluejays fly by. They all chatter to each other like neighbors around the village well.

That's what brought me to the porch, the sound of happy chattering birds.

You could tell me I am being wasteful, but, for a little while a hostile environment becomes a cool oasis. Our best chance of rain is sometimes next week and even that is not good. Until the rains return, I will turn the hose on every day.

I do it for the birds and, yes,  I do it for myself, too.

xxoogail

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

22 comments:

  1. This was the first year I watered the garden for the critters myself. It is dry here too and they are not predicting rain for over ten days to come. I have felt so bad for the wildlife, I am so glad others are feeling the same. This is a beautiful image of the robin. Yesterday I saw a robin bathing in my birdbath and was so happy to see it, I did not bother getting the camera.

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  2. We've finally had to start watering the trees and shrubs. I turned the sprinklers on too and the back yard is filled with birds. It's such a grand sight.

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  3. The birds are forever grateful, I am sure, dear Gail. They need us to help out whenever we can. Beautifully written, my friend.
    xoxoxo
    Frances

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  4. I am cheering you on!! Thank you for taking such care.

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  5. Hot and dry here too, but not as hot as Tennessee. I never thought I'd write that. I'm so glad you're taking care of your birds and yourself too. It's a terrible summer, but we must do things to alleviate our suffering and theirs. Hugs from Oklahoma.~~Dee

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  6. June was the same for us. Just last night we finally had a measurable rain. Unfortunately it brought down large limbs. Must get out to clean up the mess. I won't complain though becasue we needed the rain so bad. The birds are thrilled to. Robins are especially struggling.

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    1. Lisa, I am so glad you got rain! Now if Mother nature will see fit to send us some, all will be better. gail

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  7. I especially love your (second) photo of the bird bath brimming over and reflecting the colors of the sky? leaves? flowers? in the surface of the water. So peaceful! We're hot and dry here in south central Kansas too, and I've just started watering. No rain forecast for over a week, with temperatures in the 100's daily. Here's hoping we all get some relief soon!

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  8. Great to see you looking after the wildlife. On our side of the pond its been a very wet summer, so no particular need to water anything. the ponds and birdwaters get topped up by themselves!

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  9. I share in your love of birds and their sweet song. Thank you for watering the birds. : )
    Jennie

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  10. I think that is great! I don't think it could be considered wasteful, those birds obviously need it and enjoy it.

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  11. Gail, same sad story in Kentucky. And though I water primarily to help plants survive, it's good to see the birds enjoying a temporary "shower". It wouldn't seem like a real garden without birds and insects, and am glad to do what I can to help.

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  12. Thank you for posting about not-so-perfect gardening conditions. Believe it or not, we're facing the same conditions here in southern Wisconsin. While the middle of the state and north have gotten rain, and thunderstorms have rumbled through northern Illinois/Chicago, we've had less than half an inch of rain since the middle of May. Add record high temps in the 90s, and plants die fast. No ban on watering yet, but I can't water everything. But you're right--turning that sprinkler on for the plants, the birds, and myself is helping me to cope. :)

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    1. I looked at the drought map and was shocked about how badly so many parts of this country need rain. I sure hope it falls on our gardens and farms soon.

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  13. It's the same thing here, Gail. Several evenings in the past week, I've heard deep rumbles of thunder, but the rain seems to be going somewhere else instead. I've been running the sprinklers for hours at a time; thank goodness we have well water or my water bill would be exhorbitant. I know the birds are appreciating it, too.

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  14. Oh, dear, I'm sorry to read about how dry it is in Tennessee! Here in the mountains of NC, we've been fortunate to have thunderstorms just when we needed them. Almost 2 inches a couple of days ago in an amazingly violent thunder and lightning storm (not good in terms of power, etc.) but good for plants.

    Keep up providing water for the birds -- they need it, for sure.

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  15. So important for the birds Gail...with all the heat our pond is great for frogs with all the algae but the birds need it a bit cleaner so the hubby is working hard to keep it so...poor critters...

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  16. You reminded me that I had an outlet installed outside near my birdbath so I could hook up a mister for the birds. I have yet to do so but I'm going to work on that right now!

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  17. It was indeed lovely post. I am glad you did this. Those birds will surely be thankful for them.

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  18. I love your description of the birds enjoying the water! What a world we live in - you are waiting for storms; we wish it would stop raining for a few days in succession.

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  19. I know the birds appreciate the water! So hot and dry!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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