Quenching a Thirst

California’s drought is taking its toll on thirsty wildlife. Many sources of fresh water are depleted.ย  Birds and mammals are struggling to quench their thirst.

So while I’m happy to let my lawn die while at the same time watering trees with my bath water, I’m choosing to share some of our fresh water with the critters that need it most.

Our small, re-circulating water fountain continues to flow.

new water fountain

This thing weighs a ton. It took all three men in the house to move it from the car to the back patio

water fountain closeup

New fountain closeup (the copper fairy is a gift from Boomdee)

We have a bird bath hanging from a branch of a maple tree

water wiggler in fountain

Bird bath and water wiggler. The wiggler keeps the water fresh and discourages mosquitoes

and the newest addition: a pair of dog food bowls.

squirrel drinking water

Quenching his thirst at the water bowl

Last week I spotted a squirrel on the patio umbrella, sipping from a rivulet of water formed by the morning dew. I filled a plastic bowl with water and wedged it into the rock wall. Within minutes the squirrel was having a drink.

squirrel on umbrella

Squirrel drinking from a small rivulet of water

A few days later, a mourning dove swooped in for a drink from our bird bath. They’re large birds, so she couldn’t land on the small bird bath and instead sent the bird bath swinging and sloshing water.

Over the weekend I bought two, heavy-duty dog watering bowls and placed them outdoors on the hutch. The bowls are sturdy enough that they can’t tip over, but accessible to larger birds, opossums and squirrels. As you can see, above, the squirrels found them immediately.

As we draw to the end of another long, hot summer, I’ve become acutely aware of the value of every last drop.

Nothing in all Nature is more certain than the fact that no single thing or event can stand alone. It is attached to all that has gone before it, and it will remain attached to all that will follow it. It was born of some cause, and so it must be followed by some effect in an endless chain. – Julian P. Johnson

If you live in California, I would like to issue a small challenge: The next time you stop to quench your own thirst, think about sharing a bowl of water with the creatures in our midst.


Then and Now: California’s depleted reservoirs

Wildcare: Live well with wildlife

Water Wiggler: attracts birds while keeping mosquitoes at bay

35 thoughts on “Quenching a Thirst

  1. Your fountain adds such a sense of WATER to the garden. Lovely! You birdbaths are wonderful too. We have two fountains, two bird baths and one critter water hole for the wildlife. Even the hawks use it. This drought is horrendous and fire season is coming….


    • This drought is horrendous and I fear for the arrival of the Santa Ana winds. It’s hot and dry here again today, and I suspect it’s the same at the Holler.

      I would love to see your place one day, Cindy. You are the epitome of someone who walks the walk. So much around you to attract wildlife, with you and your camera there to capture the highlights for us all. Brilliant.


  2. I so agree with arlingwoman. You are in a special category because most of us would not have thought about those poor critters looking for a drink. I liked the way you manage to get water out there without attracting mosquitoes. I’ll look into it. I’m too swamped and tired to read blogs tonight, but I always stop at yours. It lifts my spirit so. I’ll do a search of bird baths with water wigglers. Loved the fairy on your continuous fountain from Boomdee. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know anyone with a heart as big as yours.. ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep shaking us up. We need it. Hugs and thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marlene, you are gracious and kind. Thank you. For me, providing water just feels like a natural extension of caring for the things around me. Perhaps it comes from going without. I often have an acute sense of my own good ‘fortune’ and always want to extend that goodness out into the world around me. I was listening to a story about the underground railroad this week, and marveling at the risk so many took to help slaves escape to safety and freedom in Canada. The world is full of people doing what’s right and fair, often at great risk. I wish more of that made the news.

      Hugs to you and your big heart, too. xox

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good news doesn’t make ratings. Too bad too. So many feed off of others misfortune. Guess that’s why I don’t watch the news for the most part. You are an exceptional person. One I aspire to emulate. I grew up without role models so I’m always still trying to find the people I most want to be like. You are quite high on my list. Higher as I get to know you better.


        • Now Marlene, my head is going to explode with all your generous praise. Let me put my teenager on the line. He’ll straighten you out in short order. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          You are wise to avoid the news. I snapped off the radio several times today as I just can’t bare it at times. I’m better for it. Big squishy hug coming your way. (((Marlene)))

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hey, I know all about teenagers. You don’t get smart till they turn 30.:)) I had 3 at once! What one didn’t think of, the other 2 did. And of course I was an idiot until they grew up. I got smarter as they got older. Funny how that happens. If I watch the news at all, it’s usually with the sound off and I use fast forward. I get the gist of what’s going on without getting sucked into the drama they are trying to create. I’ve met an awful lot of people in my life, Alys. I can count those that are exceptional on one hand. You are on that hand. You tend to travel in that kind of circle as well. I don’t butter people up. It’s gauche. I pick up on a person’s energy. I know you get what I’m saying. No false flattery here kiddo. I don’t have time for it. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Thank goodness for Mother Natures #1 stand in. You’re a doll to ensure the critters in your yard are refreshed. Water is such a basic need. Poor little guy running around the shade sail for morning dew, my gosh. I have two water features. Last week a flock of sparrows hung around for 3 days. They ate a mountain of seen and then they’d take a bath in the fountain. They sang like crazy too. So dang cute. Watching them fly in perfect harmony and syncronizity is just beautiful. I was calling it Kitty TV ๐Ÿ˜€

    I don’t know how the State will get thru this prolonged drought. I skipped over to the link and the photo’s of reseviors are mind boggling. It’s been very smoking in BC and Calgary today due to fires that continue to burn in Washington state. Luckily it hadn’t hit us yet. I’m past worried. My neighbour and I were talking about all these fires, she’s a nurse and said Kelowna and Vernon (south, central BC) are in misery with all the super thick.

    I hope I don’t mess up your stats when I visit. I’m planning Sept 30 to Oct 7 or 8th. Does that work for you hon? Well off I go, my eyes are barely open. Night night, love and hugs xo K/P/B

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was sad to see that squirrel sipping up those little drops. I knew I had to do more. I’m delighted to hear of the party going on in the Boomdee garden fountain. What fun to watch them chatter and swim. Kitty TV…Ha!

      It seems the entire western seaboard is under fire assault. Everyone is holding their breath for the upcoming Santa Ana winds that cause horrible fires almost every year. I also heard that Colorado is suffering smoky skies from the Washington fires. It’s amazing how the winds knock it about. We had three bad days of smoke, then it all dissipated.

      I imagine this heavy smoke is brutal for people with asthma and other respiratory problems. I hope they let up soon.

      Those dates sound perfect. SQUEAL! You’re really coming. xox

      Liked by 1 person

    • Charlie, those fires are unbelievable. A friend just returned from Seattle and was shocked by how brown everything was. We just don’t think of Washington as a dry state.

      Tough times for a lot of the west coast.


  4. I join my voice with all your other readers Alys and thank you for thinking of the needs of the little creatures and thank you for keeping their needs in front of us. Your kind thoughtfulness never ceases to amaze me. As autumn approaches will things become easier for the birds and animals, will there be more dew and maybe some rain to help ease the situation?


  5. A wonderful reminder to provide for the little ones in Nature. I have a bird bath and a water bowl outside. We don’t have a drought but the birds love the water, anyway, and it seems to reduce their need to peck my fruit and berries! The water wiggler looks like a great gadget.


    • I’m delighted to read about your own bird bath and water bowls. The birds love it year round and as you say, it probably makes a big difference in fruit consumption. Bonus!

      I love the water wiggler. I think it’s overpriced for what it is, but it works well so I pay it. I knocked this one to the ground in one of my over-achieving moments. I smashed the lid but my husband was able to repair it and it’s working again.


  6. What a lovely fountain. I can imagine that the sight of water and its sound already must be refreshing. It is beautiful and the fairy has Boomdee’s name written all over it. So thoughful of you to keep your garden as a little haven for your critters. Wishing you luscious rainshowers, Johanna


    • Thanks for your well wishes, Johanna. It will be at least October before we can expect any real rain, and possibly not till November. How about you? Have you had rain off and on all summer? I remember the summer rains when we lived in Ontario, Canada. They would come on suddenly and disappear just as quickly.

      Thank you for your kind words. The fountain is soothing to listen to and can be heard from our bedroom and living room. I’ve seen a hummingbird approach it for a dip, but didn’t have my camera handy. There is nothing like it.

      Yes, that’s Boomdee alright. Can you believe how well it goes with the fountain? xox


  7. This should make me grateful for what seems like the wettest August in history over here in England. It’s currently 17ยฐC and pouring down like it has all month so far! At least it’s warm:)


    • It’s so hard dealing with the extremes on either end, isn’t it? We’re begging for rain and you’re begging for the rain to stop. I’m glad you’re enjoying warm days and hope that your extremes have not lead to any flooding. I hope the sun comes out for you and stays out for many days in a row. Is your autumn typically wet, too?

      Liked by 1 person

      • September is often nice but, yes, Autumn is usually very soggy. If we get a bad Summer it seems like it’s been Winter all year! Last year was a brilliant Summer, but the Spring brought terrible flooding which took all Summer to dry out! Villages in my county (Somerset) were cut off for weeks and Prince Charles even visited as the situation was so bad.


        • That sounds dreadful (except perhaps for the visit from Prince Charles) ๐Ÿ˜‰

          I follow another blogger who had the entire hillside flood down and fill her cabin with water. They’ve had a long year of cleaning and rebuilding. It looked terrible. I wonder if she lives in the same county? She hasn’t blogged for quite a while. I must check in and will let you know if she lives nearby.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Reading your posts has made this drought so much more real for me, not just something happening on the other side of the country and covered in the news. It’s real and it’s so terrible! Does the predicted El Nino help or hurt? I’m impressed, but not surprised, to hear about your efforts to help animals–so consistent with the impression I have of who you are!


    • Thank you, Kerry. I think that is true of so many things in life: when we know someone close to a situation it takes on more meaning. I felt that when you blogged about the Dannemora prison break. It suddenly seemed so real.

      The predicted El Nino has a 4 out of 5 chance of working in our favor, historically speaking. The good news is that it is happening (last year’s predicted El Nino fizzled out). The so-so news is that they don’t always bring rain, or they bring too much at once. If I could write the script, I would hope for a gentle inch of rain a day for a month, enough to quench the trees and fill the reservoirs, but not so much that we have mudslides from damaged, fire-ravaged hillsides. It’s a balancing act.

      And thank you for that lovely last sentence. I think I’ll go show it to my teenager. ๐Ÿ˜‰



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