Posted in Creatures, Oh noes!

We need a dust bath decoy

I am an idiot.  Of all the things to forget about with gardening, I forgot about sparrows and dust baths (aka sand baths).

If you don’t know about this habit, the crazy almost rolling popping they do in such cases is them trying to fluff their feathers out to get the dust as near to their skin as possible.  The dust on their skin helps act as a deterrent to pests that would live there and annoy and possibly sicken the birds.

So if you see something like that, the bird hasn’t gone mad.  A cluster of them fluffing and flinging doesn’t mean they are a performance group.  It’s just self care.

When we first noticed depressions in our one small kitchen garden patch, we assumed it was critters digging for the seeds.  Now this was mostly due to where the depressions were.  Yet in my brain it didn’t seem right because it didn’t have a clustered pile of dirt that one would presume to see flung behind the digger.  Nope, not even trace bits of such.

Then today, as I was sitting here at my desk waiting out the hottest part of the day, I noticed the sparrows descending upon our kitchen garden, and doing what they do–take a dust bath.

Of course now I am kicking myself for not making sure we had either more mulch or cover crops down.  Those poor direct sown carrot seeds in particular never had a chance.

Sometimes, in order to get to some bare dirt, they have been known to even remove clumps of peat or mulch.  With that in mind, we are plotting to make a pristine dirt only decoy dust bath in an equally open and sunny spot to lure them away from the kitchen bed while also finally doing what we should have done for many reasons already–covered the dirt between the crops in the kitchen bed.

I am so glad we took this break today, and also that I can see the kitchen garden bed so clearly from my window.  They were only there for a few minutes bathing, then they all took off.  I could have easily missed the moment and thus still been in the dark.

I did try to get a picture once I was done being astonished at how forgetful I was, but before I had it turned on, they had taken wing.  If you search online, you can see many examples so you know to what I am referring if you’ve never seen it before yourself.

Of course, thinking about making a dust bath only reminded me that I still haven’t finished de-rusting the cute little metal bird bath I picked up in the fall last year.  I need to dig out my wire brush and get cracking on restoring that as well now that the heat has settled in for summer.

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