I love sitting in my back yard. A lot goes on that I would miss if I wasn’t sitting still, being quiet and paying attention. A good cigar helps in the sitting and watching process, by the way.
This past week I lit up a stogie and proceeded to thumb through my latest Golf Digest, hoping to glean enough information to knock a few strokes off my game. Actually, a few wouldn’t make a dent, I need a dozen or more strokes to go away.
But while I was reading, four bluebirds flew to one of our bird baths and had the times of their lives. Two or three would hop in, splash around, chirp and then fly up to a nearby branch to preen. Then it was back to the birdbath, where water was flying in all directions. Next to robins, I believe that bluebirds are the splashiest bathers.
They were no more than fifteen feet away, but didn’t seem at all concerned of my presence. I think they know that I am the one responsible for free mealworms in their bowl while they are nesting.
The bluebirds bathed for at least 15 minutes, then were off to parts unknown.
I have always advised fellow birders that the best way to attract bluebirds to your backyard is with water. We actually have 6 sources of water in our backyard alone, and during winter, we keep a heater in the major birdbath so our feathered friends can find water year around. A bird can actually go longer without food than without water. Water is vital in attracting birds year round.
Once bluebirds find an available water source, they are apt to stick around and consider your birdhouses as nesting sites come spring. Often, they will check out your boxes in the winter, well before spring. Bluebirds like to plan ahead.
So, if you want bluebirds next spring, give them a good source or sources of water right now.