We are always saddened reading an article about loss of wildlife, loss of their habitat or wildlife heading toward extinction. This week brought news of the decline in numbers of several bird species affected by West Nile Virus. The birds primarily affected are the American Crow, Blue Jay, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, House Wren and Eastern Bluebird. In Virginia and Maryland the Chickadee population is in drastic decline as a result of the virus. In the Northeast, the Eastern bluebird population is down by 44% for the same reason. 44%! That is a lot of birds. Mosquitoes carry the virus, introduced in the United States only a few years ago, and now that we are heading into summer this these losses may increase.
There is much you can do to help stop the spread of this disease. Water is vital for birds, but the water in your birdbaths must be changed frequently. Dump any standing water on a daily basis. Mosquitoes can breed only in still water. Another extremely effective device is a Water Wiggler. It runs on two “D” batteries and constantly stirs the water in your birdbath, eliminating any worries about mosquitoes breeding in your bird water. An added benefit of the Wiggler is the fact that birds are attracted to moving water, so you’ll have more avian visitors. Each Wiggler take two “D” batteries and one set of batteries should last you all summer.
You can see a picture of one and even buy some over at our web site www.fatfinch.com. It is in the Birdbath section. Get one for each of your birdbaths and keep your birds and yourself healthy all summer long. (Drippers also work to keep the water moving. We have one that attaches to the edge of the birdbath, hooks up to a faucet and drips every few seconds. That also will defeat mosquito breeding.)
There is good news this week also. An entirely new Hummingbird has been found. More on that next time. Now it is time to go wiggle some water.