Trina Machacek: Birds bathing in the fence line

Trina Machacek

Trina Machacek

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I really like my yard. Apparently so do the birds for miles and miles around. I thought about doing a bird bath once a long time ago. Let me set the stage first.
I have cats. No, I am not the proverbial cat lady. HAHA. I just live rurally and cats are a must as to keep mice and all outdoor little furry things out of my silverware drawer! So again, I have some outside cats.
As my yard grew and the trees grew, birds soon became part of the landscape. I watched them play in the sprinklers and my thought was to buy some sort of plastic bird bath. Cute right? Well as I was looking at one many moons ago on a trip to a farm supply store to buy parts for a baler, I mentioned to my other half how cute it would be to put one out for all the birdies. In his so grown up and been there seen that fashion he tells me, “Uh, you realize that if you do get one it will be like making a buffet line for the cats.” AARRGGHH. No birdbath was then or ever purchased.
Until recently when this happened. My number of cats has gotten smaller recently and they seem to busy themselves out in the field for the most part. Well until I come out the back door with a can of cat slurping wet food. A treat for sure. But. Yes, a kitty cat purring “but.” For the most part, my cats don’t seem too interested in the birds that live in the trees in my yard. So, a birdbath came bubbling up again in my brain.
Just a few short weeks ago, I bought a watermelon and cut the end off and slurped the red goodness of the first one of summer. As I sat there, tummy full and the empty bowl-shaped end was in my lap, I thought how cool it would be to use it as a bird bath. Again, cute huh?
Well just so happens that there is a faucet in my back fence line that is tee-d off of a hydrant and the connection isn’t perfect. It drips just a titch. Enough so that some birds have taken to landing on the barbed wire at the dripping water, straining necks until they can get a few drops scooped up in happy beaks. Several come and go and flitter there all day long. The water drips on the grass covered ground. I took that red and green bowl out and put it under the drip, drip, drip of the leak.
It took a few days and some courage but soon one bird was spotted in the makeshift bath. Then another and another. It soon became a communal bath. They flit and flutter and always wash under wings and fluff tails until they just sparkle. It’s an amazing thing to make something that brings you closer to a world you sometimes don’t have time to slow down and enjoy. I had company recently that told of living down in the deep south of South Carolina, where the world is so different than it is for me living in the wild dry west. South, the air is wet with water and the ground is wet with water and well just everything there is wet with water. We talked of bugs, really big bugs and snakes, really big snakes and things that I will never have to deal with. She told of driving in the summer and the bugs sounded like rain on the windshield. I laughed and laughed but in reality, I would not enjoy that experience. I am a dry lander for sure.
I would imagine though that if I were to find myself living there, I could cut the end off a watermelon and put it out under a dripping faucet and birds would be drawn to it like they are here. However, there her birds I am sure would just laugh at another place where mosquitos lay eggs because there is so much standing water. Here, water never sits long as the birds slip and slide and frolic in any escaped water that just happens to land in the end of a watermelon some crazy lady sets out under a dripping faucet. That is one of so many reasons I love where I live.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her books are available online wherever you buy books or email her at to buy signed copies.


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