Yesterday I bought a birdbath. This is the first birdbath I have ever owned. I placed it not far from the front door to the house, and in front of my office window, so I could see it while I work. The bowl is glass and has a light underneath that charges during the day and shines at night. My birdbath is night-bird friendly.
Are there other birds in the Northwest who enjoy a late night, or are owls the only ones?
It doesn't matter, because my birdbath is for all the birds. I even hung a birdseed bell on a tree branch nearby to entice the birds to bathe or drink at their leisure. There is only one problem—one of my children is deathly afraid of birds, and having a birdbath near the front door may keep her from exiting the house.
I am not sure what triggered this fear, or even when it started. It could have always been there—dormant and lying in wait to strike at an unspecified future date. Kind of like an adult nut allergy. Unlike an adult on-set food allergy, there did not seem to be any precursor signs. It didn't start with a slight itch in the back of the throat or a rash. It seemed to appear in a single day with a severity I was not expecting.
It became apparent one fall day in Portland, Oregon. My two daughters and I were sitting on the brick steps leading down into Pioneer Square while my husband scouted some spots for art installations. It was a cool day, breezy enough for a light jacket but the skies were clear and there was no sign of rain. As we sat soaking up the sun, a group of pigeons decided to do the same and swooped down to take their place at the base of a trashcan a few feet from where we sat. As they flew overhead (close enough to hear their wings flap, and feel the air displaced around our faces) my daughter yelped and ducked, covering her head with the her denim jacket while turrning in circles to give herself a 360 degree view of the offending creatures that may approach from another side.
It was comical at first, and I am ashamed to say I laughed at her antics. I could see she was trying to laugh too, and play it off as an exaggerated gesture. She was wary as we continued our walk toward the bank of food trucks down the street. She would flinch at the sight and sounds of birds alighting overhead. We decided to get something to eat, each of us choosing a different cuisine. As we walked, it became apparent that the saying "animals can sense fear" is true. A group of pigeons (lets call them a gang), led by a one-eyed, feather-tweaked despot, were following us wherever we turned. Keep in mind, we did not yet have any food on us, and they passed up several sidewalk buffets of gyro, mac n' cheese, and chow mein to keep us in their sights.
When we stopped, they stopped. When we turned, they turned. When one of us ran down the sidewalk with a look of sheer terror, they followed. Since that day I have not witnessed that level of commitment from a band of pigeons again (or a single one, for that matter). I have noticed though, that birds seem to seek my daughter out. It stands to reason that word-of-beak In the avian community is extremely efficient.
Regardless of my daughter’s birdly magnetism and extreme fear, I don’t have plans to move the birdbath. Does this mean I love birds more? No, it just means that my home has two exits and one of them is gong to get use a bit more now.