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From chickadees to Cooper’s Hawks, most birds love a good bath. Some birds get the fluids they need from their food, but many birds need a drink at least twice a day. Water is essential for birds, and supplying clean water for them to drink and bathe in is a great way to help maintain native bird life.
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Providing Water for Birds
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote.
Baltimore Oriole song, https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/244844491#_ga=2.258704841.2129676523…, 0.32-.34]
Wren or robin, finch or chickadee—most birds love a good bath.
[sound of splashing water]
Bigger birds, too—a Cooper’s Hawk may stand and splash in a birdbath for half an hour. Bathing helps keep feathers in prime condition.
[Cooper’s Hawk call, https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/256916281#_ga=2.94521567.2129676523.1…,, 0.0-0.3]
Some birds get the fluids they need from their food, but many birds need a drink at least twice a day.
In natural settings, birds may drink or bathe at the shallow rim of a pond or stream, or in puddles. We can recreate this in our built environment by placing bird baths at different heights, including right on the ground. Small birds may visit only shallow birdbaths, an inch or two deep. Putting rocks in the birdbath gives birds a place to rest and preen and keeps insects from drowning. Water is important not only during hot or dry seasons when it’s in short supply, but also during the cold season when natural sources may freeze.
Water is essential for birds — and supplying clean water for them to drink and bathe in is a great way to help maintain native bird life.
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
[Baltimore Oriole song, https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/244844491#_ga=2.258704841.2129676523…, 0.32-.34]
Today’s show brought to you by the Bobolink Foundation.
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Senior Producer: John Kessler
Production Manager: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Cooper’s Hawk COHA ML195709 B Maguire
Baltimore Oriole ML24484491 B Walker
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2021 BirdNote March 2021 November 2023
Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# bath-03-2021-3-30 bath-03
Sources: F.M. Bradley, editor. Projects for the Birder’s Garden. Yankee Books, 2004.