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.