Running Water and How the Birds Just Love it!

The weather has been gorgeous in our backyard these past few weeks, so I spent some time out back engaged in some early spring cleaning and purging. I took down our weathered and worn tent canopy and replaced it with outdoor silk ivy. I cleaned out and refilled all the bird feeders, and hung up a few new ones. And I cleaned out and turned on our outdoor patio fountain. I call her Brooke, because she babbles on and on just like one.

That got the party started!

There is no better way to attract birds to a backyard than by providing fresh water. Birds need water not only to hydrate, but also to clean their feathers for remaining in top flight condition. But the real fun begins when the water has movement. That’s because moving water, or the noise of falling water, draws birds in like a moth to a flame. They can actually hear water moving.

During the winter months, fresh water is more important than ever. Birds can melt snow to drink, but doing so uses the energy needed to maintain their body temperature.

Our running water is a small solar water pump with noise enough to bring the birds to the two pedestal baths nearby. I watched in delight as doves, finches, jays, and a particular female red-bellied woodpecker stopped in for a drink. But I jumped for joy when the yellow-bellied sapsucker decided to wet his beak… not once, not twice, but three times! This was a first ever sighting in my backyard. Woo hoo!

Woodpeckers bathing collage

During spring and fall migration, moving water in your yard can attract species not normally found in your area. According to Bird Watcher’s Digest, the top 10 birds to attract with water include:

  1. Warblers
  2. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
  3. Indigo Buntings
  4. Painted Buntings
  5. Bluebirds
  6. Hummingbirds
  7. Tanagers
  8. Orioles
  9. Cedar Waxwings
  10. American Robins

I’d be honored if any of those birds stopped by for a quick visit. I’m even now considering investing in some additional drippers and misters, and already investing in several solar powered water pumps for our backyard in New Mexico.