Because looking at photos of dead or dying vegetation is not inspiring, I opted this month for something a little different, something outside the natural areas altogether. This something is in my own backyard, a three-quarter acre tract in a subdivision south of town.
A busy landscape comprising a long list of native Texas trees and shrubs, groundcovers and trails, our place looks about as sad as anyone else’s. That said, it’s nonetheless teeming with life—all because of one thing: water. We have a pond, which is home to mosquitofish and frogs; a birdbath; a water bowl once used by our cats; a bucket near the pond; and a relatively shallow plastic storage box, next to which is a small metal bowl.
Everyone has their favorite watering hole. The deer like the blue bucket. Some birds prefer the waterfall in the pond, while others opt for the birdbath. The armadillos are drawn to the storage box, which serves as their “pool” on occasion. The skunks and possums use either the small metal bowl or the plastic box, which they reach by stepping up on a brick I added for that purpose. The raccoons—all six of them—move between the pond, where the game camera has caught them cavorting, and the plastic box, where the Ring camera captures their fun.
The message here is twofold: First, everyone is thirsty, even the bees and other insects. So setting out a bowl of water or filling your birdbath is an act of kindness indeed. Second, it doesn’t take much water to bring wildlife to your garden. You may be amazed by what you see.
** Note: If bees are attracted to your water, add something for them to land on; a rock or even a wine cork will work. Without this, they can easily drown. Drowning is also a danger for birds, such as screech owls, who attempt to bathe in open rain barrels, which should always be covered.
— Susan Hanson, Editor, The Loop.