Saturday, October 20, 2012

Chumming for Birds

Technically ‘chumming is a fisherman’s term -- to throw out bits of chopped fish as bait.  Instead of bits of fish for fish I put out water to attract birds.  We were camping in the high desert.  No surface water for about ten miles.  We’ve camped here off and on for over thirty years.  There used to always be a leaky faucet .... but no more.  Maintenance has done an excellent job of making sure no water is wasted.  Whenever anyone uses a campground faucet, the birds hear and come flying in for the few sips that land on the concrete.  At least there were birds in the area.  In many areas of this arid high desert birds are scarce.  

I took the liberty of nestling a pint of water amongst some rocks. Directly over my pint of water I hung a sandwich bag filled with more water and with one pin hole pricked into the bottom.  The birds came immediately.  As long as I kept water in the tiny pool, it was never quiet for more than a few minutes.   First came the robins , the bullies.  they did their best to monopolize the pint of water.  

.... so pleasant sitting at the picnic table in the Indian summer sun and watching one bird after another crowd around and drink.  One robin sipped 38 times before leaving!  Eventually eight species of birds and two mammals drank.

For more about my little pool and some photos go to my blog:


  1. What a wonderful and creative opportunity, Elva, and you really made the best use of it! Beautiful.

  2. This was so much fun to read about Elva! And your sketches are fabulous. I also loved the photos on your blog. I've got to remember to do this next time I hike in the mountains. thanks for sharing it.


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