Picture was taken January, 2012.
Today, I noticed a little Carolina Wren drinking from the "rain barrel" (actually, it's an 8-gallon office wastebucket I leave under the eave of the house so that rainwater collects). I watched the wren flutter across the surface, barely getting her bottom wet as she safely perched on the far side. Afterwards, she moved to the cement porch and scraped her beak along the edge and preened herself. That gave me an idea: I need a birdbath near the feeder!
The birdbath is actually just the cement bowl of a pedestal set. I learned quickly that squirrels will set the bowl off balance if I put it on the pedestal! Setting the bowl on the ground near the feeder allows me to keep an eye on it for maintenance needs without worrying about it crashing from a height. After rinsing it out with a scrub brush, I put about a quart or so of filtered water in the bowl. I added a cup of birdseed to the feeder and waited for my usual suspects to come scope it out.
It wasn't long before I saw my first visitor! A gorgeous red Northern Cardinal flew to the maple tree and patiently observed the feed and water stations. When he was sufficiently certain there was no trick, he hopped down to drink water from the bowl! =D Flying back up to a branch, he spied the seed in the feeder. Waiting to see if some neighboring sparrows were on the prowl, he then nibbled some seed from the feeder. Awww! Cardinals are so smart! I just hope he gets the word out! =)