The importance of water to birds

I love getting comments from my readers. Every now and then I get a really interesting one, like the one from Sue which I have quoted below.

Happy new year Trevor!

A Big thank you for maintaining your site…

I’m in suburban Adelaide, and I put a second bath into the garden when the hot weather struck early in the season. We have always had a terracotta pot pond with water lilies that allows for the bees to drink as well having a strong enough rim for some of the larger birds. The other two are just very large terracotta pot saucers, one on the ground, the other now in a raised garden bed under a deep shade tree.The ring neck dove (Spotted Turtle-dove) nested and fledged a chick in a hanging pot under the verandah.. Much cooler than her previous nest . Blackbird got it wrong and build a nest behind the fence post on the support rail .. But the iron faces west and is only shaded part of the day. She sat the nest for a full week before abandoning it, I suspect it was far too hot once the sun tracked round. Unfortunately, mid year, the neighbours had removed the large shrubs many of them had been using.

The New Holland honeyeaters, the Blackbird and the Wattlebirds have all now learnt to associate me out watering with a wet foliage cool off. The honeyeaters will actually make a fuss until I wet the bamboo down to make a cool and safe retreat then happily make use of it regardless of how close I am.  :-) I suspect they may nest in the bamboo next year as its big enough to be a stable thicket.

All of them love it when the old fashioned rain wave sprinkler is put on.

They all seem to be learning new tricks to cope with the extra heat … with a little help from their friends.



Thank you, Sue, for sharing your delight in the birds in your garden.

If any of my readers would like to also share their experiences with birds in gardens – or other places for that matter, please leave a comment here on this article, or any article for that matter. You never know – I may feature your experiences in an article so everyone can read it.

Below I have included a few photos of birds at our bird baths.

Good birding,


Further reading:

  • Time for a bath – an article about birds and other animals which have visited our bird baths.


Spotted Turtledove

Spotted Turtledove

New Holland Honeyeater having a bath

New Holland Honeyeater having a bath

Brown Headed Honeyeaters

Brown Headed Honeyeaters

Give the birds a treat for Christmas

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater


Merry Christmas Everyone

I wish all of my readers a very merry and blessed Christmas, wherever you are.

I would be really pleased to get greetings from you – just use the “comments” section above.

Birds in the hot Australian sun:

Many parts of Australia are in the grips of an early, very hot summer, and this is especially so here in South Australia. Our capital city of Adelaide last week had a record December heatwave for over a hundred years with a string of 4 days over 40C. Yesterday was another very hot day at around 37C and today, Christmas Day, the forecast is for 38C. This will make it the hottest Christmas Day since 1945.

During hot conditions like these our birds suffer terribly. All of my Australian readers – and readers everywhere suffering in the hot, summer sun – I would like to encourage to buy a bird bath for their garden. Even putting a few old bowls or dishes of water around the garden is better than nothing.

We have had three bird baths strategically placed in our garden for many years. These have been placed so that we can watch from the room which we use the most. Many of the photos which I have used on this site were taken from that room, including that of a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater shown above, and taken in the heatwave last week..

Two days ago our daughter arrived home for the Christmas break and doubled our number of bird baths. Our children have given us three new bird baths. I hope this doubles the number of photos I can take!

I hope that you have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year.


Further reading:

White-browed Woodswallow (L), Magpie Lark (centre), Brown-headed Honeyeater (R)

White-browed Woodswallow (L), Magpie Lark (centre), Brown-headed Honeyeater (R)

Birding while doing the washing

I think I might have commented on this before, but I can’t remember where. With over 800 blog posts it would take a while to find the reference to it.

Hang on a minute: this blog has a search facility. Doh.

A few second’s search brought up this post about seeing a Peregrine Falcon while I was hanging out the washing one day last year. And the search box at the top of each page on this blog will bring you to a list of articles from the archives that help you find what you are looking for. More articles about birds I’ve seen while hanging out the clothes can be found here.

Now – back to my original reason for writing this post.

On Tuesday morning I was hanging out the washing. Nothing unusual about that; I do it most Mondays except that we’ve now changed to Tuesdays because of our university studies, but that’s another story.

In the quietness of the morning I was suddenly aware of a splashing noise. I glanced over the fence at our neighbour’s bird bath. Water was spraying everywhere, as if they had a small sprinkler going on the lawn. Now here in South Australia we haven’t been allowed to use sprinklers for several years due to the water restrictions during the current drought. What’s more, it wasn’t one of the designated watering days anyway.

On closer inspection – I didn’t have a clear view of the bird bath – I discovered two White-winged Choughs having a glorious bath, water flying in all directions. It was a warm morning and they were taking full advantage of the water provided. Of course I didn’t have my camera on me.

You can read more articles about White-winged Choughs here.