I have a beautiful birdbath in my backyard that my husband and I enjoy tending to very much. Several children in the neighborhood have begun drinking from it regularly. Here’s a list of all the kids who have been drinking out of my birdbath, ranked by whether it seems like they’re doing it for fun or survival.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Danny Taylor drinks from my birdbath for fun. He’s all laughs and giggles every day after school as he dashes down the street and scales my backyard fence to make sure he’s the first in line to gulp down as much water from my birdbath as possible. “I’m a fantastic sparrow, and this birdbath is my home,” Danny sings as he drinks from my birdbath and dances around my yard. He even has several different bird costumes complete with handmade wings and beaks that he brings with him. He’ll put on his sparrow costume and dunk his head in and out of my birdbath for a couple hours before changing into a bright-red cardinal and going back for more. The only time Danny ever leaves is at sundown when his parents have to come drag him home, kicking and screaming and clinging to my birdbath as his parents try to pry him away. Danny has plenty of fresh drinking water at home, but he comes to my birdbath each day because he loves it.
Drinking from my birdbath appears to be one of life’s greatest pleasures for this kid. In the summertime, he comes to drink from my birdbath every Sunday afternoon with a book tucked under his arm, a plate full of imported cheese and grapes, a foldable lawn chair, and a little speaker system that plays the opera music of Andrea Bocelli. Once he’s got that all set up, he kicks his feet up and buries his nose in his book, occasionally munching on some cheese and fruit and dunking his tumbler glass in my birdbath for a drink of water, which he usually tops with a lemon. You can tell this kid is in pure heaven sipping from my birdbath and it definitely pains him when the sun finally goes down and he has to close his book and call it a day.
This kid seems to derive great pleasure from drinking from my birdbath, but also great shame. He walked into my backyard and right up to my birdbath before stopping abruptly, staring at the birdbath, trembling with clenched fists for a second, and then briskly walking away, only to turn around and dash back to my birdbath and begin gulping big, gluttonous mouthfuls. But after a couple seconds, he stopped drinking from my birdbath, hung his head in shame, pulled a switch off my willow tree, and proceeded to whip his backside for a good long while. Then he turned and climbed my fence to head back home, only to suddenly dive back over and sprint full speed back to my birdbath and begin slurping big mouthfuls of water, all while big tears welled in his eyes and he wailed, “I’m sinning with bird water! I’m doing bird-water crimes!” He then hit himself with the branch a few more times, and walked home. This kid seems to find drinking water from my birdbath very fun, but wrong.
Honestly, I’m at a loss with this kid. Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon a kid in a football uniform stumbles into my backyard and drinks from my birdbath. I think he is maybe in the middle of practice and has snuck away to drink from my birdbath. His hair is completely soaked in sweat, and his face is beet red. After drinking his fill from my birdbath, he splashes his face with water and collapses onto his back on my lawn and just stares at the sky, whimpering to himself. Most of the time he’ll throw up, too. I’m not totally certain, but the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced this kid definitely drinks from my birdbath for survival.
Bill has been completely up-front with me about the fact that if I remove the birdbath from my backyard he will die of dehydration. I don’t know where Bill comes from. He has a rope tied around his waist that trails out into the woods behind my house, and Bill says the other end is tied to a tree and my birdbath is the only water source within reach of the rope’s radius. I let him build a shelter right in our backyard so that he can be near the birdbath and get a drink any time he needs. I tried offering Bill a bottled water from my refrigerator, but he was afraid of it and said he doesn’t like when water is clear. Without a doubt, Bill drinks from my birdbath and nowhere else, and I’ve let him know he’s free to drink from it as long as he needs to. Bill is a very sweet boy, and he needs my birdbath to survive.