Acorn Woodpeckers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, White-breasted Nuthatches And More Visit The Waterfall

by Larry Jordan on August 16, 2009

Acorn Woodpecker Male Juvenile photos by Larry Jordan

It’s summertime and the living is easy, as long as you have water!  When the temperatures rise in the summer, birds need a good source of fresh water in which to drink and bathe.  Birds and mammals alike, have a great need for water to survive.  Not only is water the body’s main coolant, it also is the transport medium for nutrients into, and waste products out of, the body.

Black-headed Grosbeak Juvenile

Birds have a slight advantage in that their body temperatures range from 104o to 108o Fahrenheit.  However, when the ambient temperature gets above the bird’s body temperature, they must lose heat through evaporative cooling.  Since they don’t have sweat glands, one way for passerine birds to lower their body temperature is by panting.  Another method birds use to lose heat to the environment is to dilate the blood vessels going to their bare, scaly legs.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Perhaps you have noticed that you don’t see too many birds out and about in the heat of the  day when the temperatures are high.  During these hot summer months, birds will forage early in the morning and in the early evening when the temperatures are more forgiving.  During the hottest time of the day, you will find them in the shade or in the water trying to stay cool.

Anna’s Hummingbird Female Juvenile

Providing a fresh water source is not only essential for the health of your birds, it provides you with endless entertainment.  Watching as different species of birds fly in and out of your bird bath or fountain, splashing about as their friends look on, or even join in the fun, can be very amusing.

American Goldfinch and Pine Siskin Enjoying The Flowing Water

Western Scrub-Jay Juvenile Getting A Drink

These are just a few of the birds I have coming to my water feature to drink and bathe.  For more information on providing fresh water for your birds, read my post on “Waterfalls, Ponds and Fountains – Birds Can’t Resist Moving Water.”  Then get on over to Birdfreak to see the rest of the entries in Bird Photography Weekly.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Mick August 16, 2009 at 2:56 am

Great photos of the birds and the waterfalls and ponds etc all look beautiful. I must investigate the solar powered ones!
.-= Mick´s last blog ..Rainbow Lorikeets =-.


Birds 'n Such August 16, 2009 at 4:57 am

Great post Larry! Enjoyed the photos and learned something too!
.-= Birds ‘n Such´s last blog ..Great Egret – Bird Photography Weekly =-.


Natalie August 16, 2009 at 5:17 am

The composition of the pictures with the birds and the water are great! I like the acorn woodpecker a lot!
.-= Natalie´s last blog course – flowers =-.


Larry August 16, 2009 at 7:44 am

@Mick thank you very much. I love my little water feature. It attracts birds like crazy and it’s nice to have the sound of running water nearby. It makes us feel like we are camping next to a stream

@Alan I’m glad you enjoyed it. I had fun photographing these guys from my back porch yesterday

@Natalie thank you for your kind words. Acorn Woodpeckers are one of my favorites. They are indeed a comical bird and fun to watch!


ramblingwoods August 16, 2009 at 4:54 pm

This is a great post Larry. I try to convince people that even if they don’t want to be bothered with bird feeders, a bird bath can be a life saver. I keep misting down my flowers and the hummingbirds are right there as it got really hot here all of a sudden…Michelle


Rob Ripma August 16, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Awesome pictures, the Acorn Woodpecker shot is beautiful!
.-= Rob Ripma´s last blog ..Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Behavior: Bird Photography Weekly =-.


Amber Coakley August 16, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Hi Larry!

Water and birds are the best combination ever, IMO. I have 5 water features around my house so that I can hear and see the water just about anywhere. If I pass a window and see a bird splashing around, I freeze – put my life on hold for as long as the little bird is in the water – then resume whatever I was doing.

Just today I braved the heat to do some maintenance on my little frog pond. I cleaned out some plant material that was growing in a little too much, and installed steel edging so that I can keep grass from growing into the beach-entry side of the pond. I found a few tadpoles in the debris I cleaned out and happily put them back.

The birds that visit your water feature are outstanding! All the water features in the world would not draw such a diverse and beautiful group of birds to my own yard. The pics are great – I sure enjoyed them!
.-= Amber Coakley´s last blog ..Bird-friendly coffee & Grounds for Change =-.


Larry August 16, 2009 at 9:45 pm

@Michelle you are right about that! If you love birds, keeping a birdbath will at least give them some relief from the heat

@Rob thanks for the comment. Interesting the behavior of the woodpeckers in your post

@Amber you have 5 water features? Wow! Isn’t it amazing how much wildlife comes to the water as soon as you build it? We had frogs the day after we put water in the pond!

Thanks for the great comment. I love sharing.

It must be hot in Texas too eh?


Arija August 17, 2009 at 1:11 am

Love your post of birds cooling off and their need for help in hot, dry weather.
.-= Arija´s last blog ..Bird Photography Weekly ~ 22 New Holland Honeyeater + 1 =-.


Frank Kratofil August 17, 2009 at 6:16 am

Very nice series of shots Larry


Amber Coakley August 17, 2009 at 6:20 am

Yep, 5. As much for me as for the birds, dragonflies, frogs, and yes-snakes. I even had a baby red-eared slider (turtle) once.

…And yep, way too friggin’ hot here in Texas for me to be out at 2pm. Honestly though, as hot as it gets, overall – I would say that we’ve had more cooler weather this summer than I can remember. Why-o-why don’t I wait for the cooler weather to toil in my garden!? 🙂
.-= Amber Coakley´s last blog ..Bird-friendly coffee & Grounds for Change =-.


Ladynred August 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm

These are all beautiful birds. My favorite are the yellow and the blue birds.


Larry August 17, 2009 at 9:59 pm

@Arija thanks for the coment

@Frank thanks a bunch buddy! You still didn’t leave your link

@Amber very cool way to get critters around the house! Thanks for the great post on conservation organizations!

@LadynRed thank you very much


chris August 18, 2009 at 6:34 am

Hi Larry,
Wow what a gorgeous set of pictures! I love that hummingbird!
.-= chris´s last blog ..Second target species: The short-toed eagle =-.


gwendolen August 19, 2009 at 7:19 am

Oh great, you have your own little waterfall. 🙂

What a super way to attract birds ánd get beautiful photos, Larry.
.-= gwendolen´s last blog ..Lady M =-.


Kyle August 19, 2009 at 11:13 am

Beautiful shots, Larry, although I have to admit the first is my favorite. Acorn woodpecker is on my “reeeeeally want to see someday” list!
.-= Kyle´s last blog ..Willet Stay or Willet Go? =-.


Larry August 19, 2009 at 8:12 pm

@Chris thanks a lot! I am patiently awaiting the fall hummingbird migration

@Gwen a water source in the yard is a must! I love my little corner of paradise, and so do the birds!

@Kyle they are very fun to watch. They truly are clowns. If you come to California, you are welcome to visit and I’ll show you many Acorn Woodpeckers 😉


Ambika August 20, 2009 at 8:56 pm

We had a very hot summer this year, and there were many reports of dead birds being discovered in people’s gardens, esp Pittas, which are migratory.
Maybe if there was more water around these birds could’ve survived…
Then there is the problem of mosquitoes breeding in standing water!
.-= Ambika´s last blog ..Tree guards, bagworms and argiopes =-.


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