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Unexpected Sprouts

January 5th, 2011

We have a heated bird bath on the side porch by the bird feeder. The birds especially love it when it’s cold and all the other water is frozen. We see birds at it all the time. I empty it out and add fresh water several times a week since birds can be dirty.

Yesterday when I went out to empty it I noticed that a sunflower seeds a bird had dropped in there had sprouted. I guess the warmth of the water provided the perfect conditions despite the below freezing temps outside. What a funny little thing to find in the midst of the cold winter.

You can see all the junk in the water, which is exactly why I empty it out and refill it several times a week. Every couple weeks I scrub it out with vinegar to get rid of the mineral deposits and the germs.

We love providing this service for our little feathered friends. My dad always teases us about creating welfare birds, but they provide us with a lot of entertainment throughout the cold winter months. We gladly pay the little electric it costs to keep them well watered and for the seed and suet we feed them. (we even put filtered water in their bird bath since I’m sure chlorine and all those other chemicals aren’t good for them)

Do you provide any kind of water for the birds in your garden?

10 Comments to “Unexpected Sprouts”
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Unexpected Sprouts #birds #wildlife #winter […]

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  2. Nebraska Dave on January 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Nope the birds in my yard must fend for themselves. My mother-in-law had bird feeders before she moved into an apartment but it was a never ending battle with the squirrels. You think birds are messy? Squirrels are times 10 messier. Her experience has hindered my feeding the birds in the winter.

    Have a great bird feeding day.

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    • Susy on January 5, 2011 at 10:13 am

      Yes squirrels are very messy and they always used to break our bird feeders. We used to have a never ending battle with them, nothing seemed to keep them away. So Mr Chiots “takes care” of them now, and a bonus is that they make super healthy natural food for the garage cats.

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  3. Michelle on January 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I don’t…I’d like to…but busy with other things I suppose. I do love the birds…chickadees frequent my Japanese maple…they’re my favorite. And I don’t think you’re creating welfare birds…more like thankful, warm birds. :)

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  4. Sincerely,Emily on January 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Yes, I would say your birds are spoiled, but I know they are happy and healthy birds. Since you want birds around the help control bugs in your garden at growing times, I think that heated feeder is a bonus to keep them around and happy, then they will give that back in return with your bug control. Two weeks ago I started filling a bird bath because I noticed a swarm of birds around a bucket that gets filled from a leaky gutter when it rains. Those birds were so happy I decided to break down and fill an birdbath that was sitting out back unused.

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  5. annie on January 5, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I’ve been wanting to get some bird baths but it hasn’t happened yet. Instead, what normally happens is I end up leaving my 1020 flat out in the garden after I transplant, or some kind of bowl I scooped up grit for the chickens with and those get filled with rain and then I just leave them for any wildlife that needs it… Until it gets too warm because then we’re into serious mosquito territory down here.

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  6. Mrs. Whimsy on January 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    What a perfectly wonderful little surprise to find growth in the middle of the winter!

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  7. Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm on January 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    For many years I had a pond with a shallow stream. The birds used to bathe in the stream all summer long. I love watching and listening to them! I miss it.

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  8. Seren Dippity on January 6, 2011 at 2:18 am

    I keep several shallow watering bowls full of water around our property, many are just terra cotta planter bottoms. Especially during the summer. The birds love them as bird baths and there is always a “line” as birds wait their turn and much bickering about some bird not willing to share. But they are not just for birds to bath in, they are also for the bunnies and squirrels to drink from. With our hot summers it gets mighty dry and the first summer we lived here we kept seeing squirrels and bunnies trying to drink from our pool. The chlorine is not good for them, and I don’t want them falling in!! Another benefit of keeping the water available? The birds don’t peck at my veggies as much. I think they sometimes go after tomatoes just because they are thirsty and need water.
    I keep the water available through the winter too, but do not see nearly the same activity level as I do during the summer. The feeders though are a very popular; I have multiple feeders in my dining room windows and am treated to a wonderful show breakfast and lunch each day as we all eat together.

    When I lived in Houston, the squirrels and the birds competed for the seeds I put out, but I didn’t mind. The squirrels are just as entertaining as the birds are as far as I’m concerned. My indoor only cats love sitting on the window sills and watching the shows. I call it “kitty tv”.
    Here in Dallas, my bird feeders are unmolested by the squirrels because we have hawks that patrol the area. I rarely see squirrels outside the wooded area. The plus side of that is the bunnies and squirrels rarely mess with my garden.
    I’m trying to attract more birds so the will take over monitoring the garden for hornworms and cabbage loopers!! This year we will be putting up a Martin house with hopes that they will work on the mosquito population. I want other bird houses too, but haven’t yet done the research on which ones have a chance to actually attract birds in this area.

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    • Susy on January 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      I do that in the summer as well, for the toads, salamanders & other insects. The birds don’t use those much, probably since I have a dedicated bird bath.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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