Thursday, June 28, 2007
Dinosaurs Get Thirsty Too
Most paleontologists agree that those feathered creatures that flit around our gardens and occasionally compromise visibility through our windshields are descendents of ancient dinosaurs. So I’ll just take it on faith that they’re correct.
With the exception of some neighborhood crows that wake me up, I’m pretty chill with boids in the ‘hood. I’m not a binocular-toting birder, but from a purely functional garden point of view, they’re a bonus. They eat insects--the big raptors will even dispense gophers and other pests. Hurray, I say!
I’m all about having our landscapes appeal to as many senses as possible, so let’s add their color, movement, and songs. So what’s not to like?
My favorite landscape design is lovingly tended by a couple of avid birders. The small garden is a veritable airport terminal for guests who fly in from who knows where. A custom iron “tree” of feeders is dead center off the patio. All forms of hummingbird feeders hang from fences.
But my favorite feature is the custom fountain crafted from an old Maytag washer. The white enameled exterior was crafted into giant flat stair-stepped leaves where water trickles from one to the next. Birds of all sorts alight on the edges of the leaves, take a gulp, splash around in the lower pool, towel off, dust on some talcum powder and off they go. And you can see it from inside the house as well.
The point is (I know, the suspense was killing you) these guys need some help this summer. Santa Barbara had super-low rainfall, so there are fewer natural fresh watering holes. Please do your part. If there’s somewhere in your garden you can provide fresh water (not algae-ridden primordial soup) that would be great. And you don’t have to be in a drought-stricken area to look out for our buddies either. It’s just a good thing to do.
One more thang. Plant diverse gardens with lots of local native plants ‘coz them little dinos gotta eat too!
More info? Check with your local Audobon folks.