Create Super Joy in Your Backyard
By: J. Marlando
As long as the weather permits you will nearly always find my wife and I sitting in the patio in the late afternoon sharing a glass of wine and our day’s experiences. We also share lots of time simply listening to the silences of the yard and watching the birds drink and bathe in the birdbath.
There is truly a happy experience having and observing a birdbath in the yard; a super joy for the birds and for the observers. Historically the natural birdbaths were shallow streams, holes in rocks and depressions in the ground holding rainwater. It makes common sense that somewhere along the line us humans observed the birds drinking and bathing and thought something like, what a nice thing it would be to have birds visiting my yard. Thus, the idea to attract birds with feed and water evolved.
When exactly the birdbath was popularized is difficult to say because especially during the Dark Age, people did not hold animals or birds in much esteem. This was thanks to the French philosopher Rene Descartes (1596—1650) who convinced much of the world that animals were more akin to machines than actual living things and had no emotions or feelings. And so if you couldn’t eat an animal or work it, what good was it?
What we do know is that the transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau began feeding birds at Walden’s Pond in 1845 and no doubt others with his same sentiments followed his lead.
We believe that the wild birds we attract to our yard serve as a wonderful reminder of our
connectedness to life and all the living things in it; as said there is just a joy that arrives with the birds that visit each day.
You can make your own birdbath if you wish—for smaller birds even a plate or pie pan will do. But commercial bird baths are not very expensive and they add to the beauty of your yard. Here are a couple of examples:
The baths attract birds and incidentally, if you become very enthusiastic in your bird watching you can call your local Division of Wildlife and find out how to “birdscape.” That is, how to plant the flowers and shrubs that will attract more birds to your yard. Sometimes even adding one new shrub will give you and the birds who visit a great deal of pleasure.
There’s not much to know about maintaining a birdbath—since birds love to bathe, you need to keep fresh water in it and never fill up your birdbath too full. Some birds have poor depth perception and so will not dare to plunge in for a quick cleanup if the water looks too deep. It is also a nice idea to put a twig or tiny branch leaning against the inside of your birdbath so birds can use it to ease into the water, testing the depth. Many birds have great vision, however, and will jump into the water without giving it much thought. Beyond this, all you have to do is lean back and enjoy. I will add this though: Backyard bird watching helps to relieve the stress and anxiety that accumulates in most of our days; it simply gives you the contentment of being in connectedness with nature and that, really can be…super joy!