This description of a Chinese garden designed for the benefit of birds made me review our own.  We have water baths, winter and summer (they need fresh water when all is frozen over), but I hadn’t thought of sand baths, though I’ve seen them taking dust baths in patches of dry soil.  While we don’t have seed-bearing shrubs, we do have fruit trees and vines, and apart from protecting a few figs for our own consumption, they have free run of the harvest. 

The courtyard named the ‘Place of the Meeting of Winged Friends’ was constructed by a Lin wife who loved birds.  She carved the feeding boards where rice is scattered, made the baskets which hold suet in zero weather and stuffs for nest-making in mating season, designed the lovely sand and water baths, and planted seed-bearing shrubs. 

Source: Nora Waln, The House of Exile (Penguin Books, 1986 (1933)), p. 34

Photo credit: Naidokdin at pixabay


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