Helpful Tips for those New to Birding. <<< Back To Top of Page >>> To introduce people to our unique Australian birds, And learn from them how to live a […]
Helpful Tips for those New to Birding.
<<< Back To Top of Page >>>
To introduce people to our unique Australian birds,
And learn from them how to live a healthy and happy life.
NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.
Enjoying the Humble Birdbath Experience
Enjoying the Humble Birdbath Experience
One of the most enjoyable experiences we have each day is watching our local native birds drink, wash and cool off at our birdbaths. This can be quite entertaining. Birdbaths can be purchased from Garden and Landscape Centres or homemade by just fixing a large dish or bowl, firmly to a small table or very secure base. It is important the bowl does not move when birds land on it, otherwise they may not return. You will notice in the following video that it is helpful to the birds to have places nearby where they can land and access the baths from. Notice how they use the pole next to the baths, and the advantage of shading the baths under a tree.
Refill it with fresh water daily and clean it out weekly to remove the build up of sludge, and other debris, then refresh the water and let the birds do the rest. Some birds return several times throughout the day, and are very appreciative when you top the baths up regularly. We have found having a large and small bath next to each other advantageous, as it allows several birds to make use at the same time. Click on photos to enlarge them.
In Australia the land of drought and hot summers, finding water to drink and bathe is the bird’s most pressing need. Providing a constant source of clean water is the best thing we can do for our native birds, and a birdbath is the most practical means. Over time the birds will get to know you and allow you to come closer as they learn to trust your kindness.
Birds cool down by standing in the water as their legs and feet are the only exposed flesh areas. Birds also bathe to remove dust, dirt and parasites, such as bird lice. Rigorous washing assists in pre-preening and remove old feathers, as well it helps to cool them down on hot days. Most serious bathing is usually followed by preening their primary and tail feathers somewhere nearby, as they may need a further wash to remove more feathers and lice. You will see them extracting preening oil from a gland near their tail and rubbing it with their beak over their feathers to strengthen and condition them (see images below).
Sometimes they just want to have fun and bring the whole gang for a pool party, as seen below:
The birds will thank you for providing daily for their needs, and sing for you at your birdbath, like my resident pair of Magpies.
If you want to feed native birds, in particular our many Honeyeaters and Lorikeets, plant several nectar producing native shrubs, including the many beautiful flowering species of Bottlebrush (Callistemon) and Grevillea. It is also important to keep any cats away. It is wise not to feed human food to Australian wild birds as it can cause them to develop an unhealthy dependence which can lead to them becoming aggressive and destructive. Clean water is the bird’s most important need, as they know how to find the food best suited for maintaining their health.
In order to allow birds to permit you watch them feed, drink or bathe, remember to practice bird etiquette:
- Avoid direct eye contact with the bird as this is threatening to them.
- Move very slowly around them with no sudden movements.
- Sit and remain seated in a spot nearby. Eventually over time they will draw near when they realize you are not a threat.
- Remain quiet and try not to make any noise. Birds have super sensitive hearing and are easily startled and frightened, as it is their main means of protection from predators.
- Keep a distance of at least 2 meters to start with. Over time as they get to know and trust you, they will allow you to sit within several feet away.
- The birds are watching you when you least think and communicate their findings to other birds, so keep their baths clean and filled daily and they will frequent them and bring their friends.
- Make sure any cats and dogs are not around when you are wanting to view the birds. Enjoy the Birds !