The magic of moving water

The magic has worked yet again and birds are flooding into the garden. Today, being warm and sunny I settled down to a few hours labour cleaning and re-organizing our garden pond. This annual back-breaker always culminates in the ceremonial connection and switching on of the pump that powers the small cascade we have at one end of the pond. Our garden list stands at somewhere around 110 species and a remarkably high number of those – small songbirds and warblers in particular – have been recorded over the years as they came to the waterfall. There was one particularly memorable May day when the count of warbler species was in the high teens. There is something about moving and tinkling waterfalls that is irresistible to birds.

Especially so on this occasion. Obviously, it is still April and there isn’t a lot of foliage around – in fact the garden looks rather like Macbeth’s blasted heath at the moment although there are buds beginning to break with the blackcurrants heading the pack as they usually do. Anyway, I turned on the power to the pump and stood back to make sure everything was functioning as it should. The pump started and I could hear the water gurgling its way along the subterranean pipe that leads to the header pool on the waterfall and then watched in relief as the header pool filled and started to spill over the lip of the cascade. Within two minutes as I stood there, not exactly discretely hiding from the avian world something small and feathered dived onto a stone in the middle of the run and started to splash about … a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Yes, that fast – it really is magic. Then two Chickadees zipped down and waited their turn.

I rushed for the camera – by the time I got back the Kinglet was drying himself in an adjacent shrub and, being a Kinglet, was immensely hard to photograph but the Chickadees posed nicely. Shortly after it was the turn of the Song Sparrows and I know the Cardinals at least will be in there before long.

As we move into summer various ferns and other shady plants will rise up around the waterfall and once again every evening can be spent on the deck with camera in one hand and cooling drink in the other while the bird-magnet continues its work.

If you want birds in your garden find some way to get a bit of moving water. Truly magical.

The famous water bird-magnet
The famous water bird-magnet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet drying itself after a bathe and trying hard not to be photographed
Ruby-crowned Kinglet drying itself after a bathe and trying hard not to be photographed – hence the rather less than National-Geographic image quality. The first bird of the season.
Second bird at the waterfall
Second bird at the waterfall
Splash - "gosh that's good"
Splash – “gosh that’s good”
Song Sparrow after a dip
Song Sparrow after a dip
"My patch"
“My patch”

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