Another sign of Spring is an increase in bathing
While there are some birds, like Bluebirds, which will take a bath any time the water is not ice, Spring usually brings with it an increase in the number of birds bathing in our birdbaths. Of our two birdbaths, this concrete bath is far more popular than our larger green plastic bath. We think that it is because the other bath has steeper edges. The more gradual concrete slope may feel safer for smaller birds (like the out of focus chipping sparrow) worried about getting in too deep.
And no, despite appearances, the Cardinal is not trying to drown itself. Though sometimes the bather has a great deal of difficulty taking off.And here is the greatest threat to the water in our birdbaths, the Brown Splasher (Brown Thrasher).
There is something in there that they like
A couple of years ago we started hanging a Pennington Seed block on a pole outside one of our windows. It seems like every bird in the area, including a number of surprising suspects has come by to try it out. Above is a Northern Mockingbird. At first it was only one, but the first one convinced its opposite number that there was something good here, and since that time I have frequently seen pairs of Mockingbirds visiting the seed block.
Here we have a Tufted Titmouse and a Red-headed woodpecker on the seed block at the same time. Once it is eaten down, we move what is left to one of the tray feeders, and it typically doesn’t take very long for them to find it and finish it off. The recent snows had an interesting side effect. Normally, the local chipping sparrows prefer to eat from the ground or trays. They will also use standard perches. They would come over and land on top of the seed block’s cage and try to reach the top of the seed block. However, when the snow covered everything else, they discovered it was possible to hang on to the side of the cage and get at the only visible seed (everything else was under snow). Since that time, several sparrows have remembered this, and they have continued to cling to the cage to eat. This has led to a second variety of jailbird.I am sorry about the lower quality. I didn’t want to scare it off, and the sparrows seem to be a bit “nervous” about eating here. Don’t worry, it had no trouble getting back out again without help.