A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Water for wildlife? Question answers itself

Written September 3rd, 2020 by Hasso Hering

This doe ventured on the patio in order to get a drink of water from the bird bath on Sept. 2.

It’s nothing new that deer wander through our yard outside of Albany. They’ve been doing it for years. Now there are three or four does, with two fawns each, who come through every morning and night. I’ve worried about them. The ditch has been dry for months, and the river is too far, so where do they get water to drink?

I try to fill the bird bath out back every morning. But sometimes I look out and it’s nearly empty. Now I think I know the reason. Our bird bath is one place where at least one of our deer gets an occasional drink.

A few weeks ago I had filled a plastic bowl with water and put it out under the trees where the deer have made a trail leading to the neighbor’s yard. But the bowl didn’t seem to get any use. So after a while I put it away again.

If you look online for “water for backyard wildlife,” or some such thing, you can find all kinds of suggestions for how to build shallow water holes. One idea is to use the inverted lid of an old garbage can. But since around here we’ve used plastic carts for decades, who has something like that lying around?

Maybe I don’t have to worry about it now that I’ve watched that doe on the patio. If she and her friends and family get thirsty enough, especially during these hot days at the beginning of September, they’re all welcome to keep sipping from that source. All I have to do is make sure it stays filled. (hh)

I first spotted this thirsty visitor when I looked out the patio door.

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5 responses to “Water for wildlife? Question answers itself”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    You must know that bureaucrats (ODFW & Benton County) disagree with you on providing water to nuisance animals like deer.

    Using progressive logic, the science is settled on this issue.

    Be a good citizen, comrade. Put up a fence.

  2. CHEZZ says:

    I have 3 garbage can lids filled with water – They are out all summer. I have such a wide variety of birds visit me each day. The best bathers are the doves. They have their own ritual bath. They aren’t splashers. They drink some water, they sink down a bit, then lift each wing very high and very slowly – a yoga posture. They are more like soakers! Such quiet bathers compared to those splashy noisy jays!

  3. Sidney Cooper says:

    I have a stock pan set out for the turkeys that visit the yard. I think they also appreciate when I water the clover. Living in the mountains in Colorado taught me the boundaries of what to do and what to avoid in helping wildlife, especially those who live by tooth and claw.

  4. Holly Evans-White says:

    Just make sure to dump out the water every couple of days if there’s any left so that you don’t collect mosquitoes. That’s what we do. We have a wading pool used for the same purpose, but in this hot weather the skeeters will gather and it’s not good for the dogs to drink water with mosquito larva, or the deer either! You are not only doing the right thing, but are to be commended. We grow a variety of sunflowers and other flowering plants in our yard specifically for bees that we do not ever pick. I go to the farmers market to buy flowers to give my mother :-)


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