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Fountain a Watering Hole for Drought-Affected Birds

by on October 08, 2014

Townsend's warbler. Photo: Lee Greengrass
Townsend's warbler. Photo: Lee Greengrass

California’s historic drought is bad, but at least we can still turn on the tap. Not so for most of the state’s wildlife, which for the most part have to find what they can on a parched landscape. Unless, of course, they get a bit of help from us.

There’s an ornate, classical looking fountain on the main lawn by the Patterson House at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont that has become something of a watering hole for thirsty birds this fall. Bird photographer Lee Greengrass was out there in late September and captured what can only be described as some pretty elated birds splashing in the fountain waters. Elsewhere, the park has stopped irrigating the pastures and the farmyard lawn, and is cutting 60 percent of the water used on the cornfield by installing drip irrigation. But Ira Bletz, the acting interpretive services manager for the East Bay Regional Park District, said the fountain has been kept on for the benefit of wildlife.

“During our ongoing drought, it provides an important source of water for birds and bees, both native and honeybees,” Bletz wrote in an email. “Just a couple of weeks ago, I watched a red-tailed hawk take a 10 minute bath in the fountain.”

Bletz said during the summer and fall the district had recorded more than 70 species of birds at the park, which offers an oasis from a browning suburbia.

Greengrass said he happened to see a lot of happy warblers on the day he was out there.

 

Townsend's warbler. Photo: Lee Greengrass

Townsend’s warbler. Photo: Lee Greengrass

Townsend's warbler. Photo: Lee Greengrass

Townsend’s warbler. Photo: Lee Greengrass

Townsend's warbler: Photo: Lee Greengrass.

Townsend’s warbler: Photo: Lee Greengrass.

Townsend's warbler. Photo: Lee Greengrass

Townsend’s warbler. Photo: Lee Greengrass

Chickadee. Photo: Lee Greengrass

Chickadee. Photo: Lee Greengrass

Wilson's warbler. Photo: Less Greentree.

Wilson’s warbler. Photo: Less Greentree.

Wilson's warbler. Photo: Lee Greengrass.

Wilson’s warbler. Photo: Lee Greengrass.

Bees visit the fountain too. Photo: Lee Greengrass.

Bees visit the fountain too. Photo: Lee Greengrass.

Photo: Lee Greengrass.

Photo: Lee Greengrass.

Go see them for yourself! Here’s a link to Ardenwood’s bird checklist.
See more articles in: Wildlife: Birds, Mammals, Fish

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2 comments:

Green Bean on October 10th, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Wow! These are some glorious photos! Thank you for sharing.

Lanigan,miguel on October 14th, 2014 at 6:28 am

Splendid photographs. Have a drought, provide water, and the birds will come.I saw I had a very slow drip-leak in a hose bib and put it on my do list until I looked out and saw a Bluejay getting a couple of drops at a time, then tilting his head to swallow. I rigged an unused, twelve-inch, porcelain pie dish to catch the drip and it has become a watering hole and spa for a variety of birds.

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