More for the birds

Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky arrived this morning with a collection of astonishing bird-related birthday presents for me: a ground-hugging bird bath, a Water Wiggler for the bird bath, and a hanging metal mesh bird feeder in the shape of a penguin. (There’s always something penguin-related.)

None of these is a standard item for the yard or patio, but Elizabeth has been cultivating birds in her own backyard and now knows a lot about bird gear. (Oddly, though she lives only about six blocks from me, she has bird visitors I do not: hummingbirds, chickadees, and parakeets, in particular).

The bird bath. I know, you’re thinking of a shallow bowl (of stone or metal) on a pedestal. That is not the recycled poly bird bath (made by Songbird Garden) I now have:

(#1) In red; it also comes in three other intense colors

Ad copy:

Enjoy watching your birds bathe where they feel most comfortable! This low profile birdbath keeps birds low to the ground, their favorite place to bathe. With a wide variety of colors and a unique design, this birdbath will look wonderful wherever you place it!

The Water Wiggler. This is a water agitator for bird baths. Birds are said to be attracted to the bubbling, and the agitator is a protection against mosquito(e)s, which breed in still, not moving, water:

(#2) The Water Wiggler, from Allied Precision Industries

The penguin bird feeder. The No/No penguin metal mesh wild bird feeder (from Sweet Corn Products), on the CountryMax store site:


The ad copy:

Made of rust-resistant powder-coated metal, the sturdy all-season feeder holds black oil sunflower or safflower seed, which dispenses through its all-over diamond-mesh design. This special design prevents water from pooling inside, keeping seed fresher longer, and it offers ample surface space for a wide range of clinging wild birds to feed — up to 15 birds at a time.

Meanwhile, the text on the box cries out, first in English, then in French:

The Dapper Penguin attracts more birds!

Le Pingouin Pimpant attire davantage d’oiseaux!

The French would appear to be about the ‘pimped-up penguin’, but that’s quite likely to be wrong: the 16th century French verb was pimper (with present participle pimpant ‘alluring or seducing in outward appearance or dress’); pimper became obsolete, but pimpant survives  with meanings like ‘spruce, neat and smart, dapper, well turned out, snappy’. The connection to English pimp (whose own etymology is unsure) is, apparently, dubious

Bonus: the chickadee. I haven’t sighted one on my patio, but Elizabeth tells me that one was chirping in the crape myrtle tree on the street in front of my house when she arrived this morning, so I will hope.

From Wikipedia:

(#3) (photo from the All About Birds site)

The chestnut-backed chickadee (Poecile rufescens, formerly Parus rufescens) is a small passerine bird in the tit family, Paridae.

It is found in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and western Canada, from southern Alaska to southwestern California. It is a permanent resident within its range, with some seasonal movements as feeding flocks move short distances in search of food.

… Its habitat is low elevation coniferous and mixed coniferous forests. In the San Francisco Bay Area this bird has readily adapted to suburban settings, prompting a range expansion.

It’s a small, handsome bird, with a rufous-bown, black, and white plumage (above).


One Response to “More for the birds”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Yesterday (9/5), some birds clinging to the penguin feeder and enjoying the seed; plus, two of my four squirrels yearning, so far without success, at it. And then, this morning, while the day wasn’t yet hellishly hot, a chickadee finally turned up on my patio, a flash of bright colors. And though no birds have yet splashed in the bird bath, one by one the squirrels have ventured to sip some water at the edge — a good thing on a day like this.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: