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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tanking up

There's not much water around, and the forage is dry.

So the deer have been tanking up at the bird bath. Last night Split Ear arrived first. I saw the camera flash from my desk. He ran when I put the spotlight on him. Broken Antler came a couple hours later.

I top off the bird bath before dark, and it's dry in the morning. These two guys emptied it -- 2 gallons.


Beverly said...

Yeah, but you love it [offering water to da creatures]! I'm betting you already knew who the culprits were.

My dog, nearly as big as those deer, does the same thing; leans right in and empties the thing. I have a 5-gallon, clean bucket of water for him right next to the hydrant, but he seems to like the various bird-baths and frog-puddles I leave about the yard. (Perhaps because the wasps also use his water bucket? I wonder if he’s been stung.)

I was just exploring a bit about bird-baths…and the fact they freeze here in the CO Mountains during winter-time. I’ve been looking for a solar device that would act as bird-bath heater that also would run a very small pump…for an existing birdbath. I can only find the pumps…seems heaters have to be plugged in. WHY?

The well-pump at my cabin (where I used to live, off-grid here) was attached to a golf-cart battery that was charged by a single solar panel. Surely there is a way to do something like that and attach it to a ‘reasonable’ little heater & pump …that would store enough juice to last through the night. I noticed the solar-fountain was only a fountain and not a heater, but someone who knows such things should be able to build one that is BOTH…doncha think?

Dang, now they have solar-rechargers…even backpacks that are solar and re-charge electronic devices…why not something to keep water unfrozen, and moving, in a little bird-bath in the wintertime?

But I digress… thanks again for your awesome photos and stories that are great fun!


Camera Trap Codger said...

How about using a tropical aquarium heater in the bird bath and running an outdoor extension cord to it? I believe you can buy small circulating pumps intended for bird baths--or maybe they come with the bird bath. But I don't know how well they work in subfreezing temperatures. There's gotta be some suppliers for these things on the internet.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. I'd like to use one your earlier camera trap images in an exhibit at a New Mexico State Park visitor center. I'd be happy to give you more information.
Please contact me at sbartlett (at) splitrockstudios.com. Thanks!

Beverly said...

LOL The whole point of solar was because I don't have any outside electrical outlets! (It's a very old house). Besides...I like being green. :)

I suppose batteries aren't all that green, but to use solar to charge 'em up and heat a little bird-bath and run a little pump shouldn't be difficult...I'd think.

Yes, I've found the little pumps online, even some that run on solar; but nothing that will keep the water warm enough to keep the pump from freezing. It get's pretty cold at 7000', even in Southern Colorado. I'll keep looking. Thanks again!

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