Sandhill Crane taking a long drink of water in last rays of the day, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico. December 2020
Recent visitors to one of my heated water features
During drought, small efforts by us can dramatically help wildlife. Hundreds of birds visit my small heated bird bath every day this winter. The freshwater sources I provide them are a hit, more so than my bird feeders.
In the summer months, honeybees enjoy these same sources of freshwater. I raise honeybees and notice hundreds of bees collecting water from these sources all day long. They prefer these clean, freshwater sources to the many ponds neighboring my property. Dripping water faucets are another favorite water source for bees. Water is important for cooling the hives and softening the stores of honey stored in the hive.
It is common sense that wildlife needs water to survive. It also makes sense that they prefer clean sources of water. Birds seem to prefer moving water in a stream or water features and ponds that include bubblers or waterfalls.
Keep your birdbaths and water features clean. This avoids the spreading of disease and reduces the spread of mosquitoes. I replace the water in my birdbaths every 4 days and clean them with a mild vinegar solution and scrubbing brush every couple of weeks or notice algae growth.
If you are a landowner with irrigation ponds keeping some water in your ponds versus draining them dry each time you irrigate helps provide shelter for waterfowl and provides wetlands valuable to many species.