Birdbaths and Zika
Zika is in Florida and the bird feeding industry, especially your local back-yard birdfeeding specialists at Wild Birds Unlimited, will be out front on what it means to the birdfeeding hobby. Zika is a grave health concern to women of child-bearing age, mainly because high incidence of microcephaly in newborns is reported in areas experiencing outbreaks of the virus. The good news is that Zika is considered a mild febrile illness with severe disease requiring hospitalization being uncommon (www.floridahealth.gov – Zika Virus). More good news is that our recommendations for treating birdbaths as sources of mosquito populations are unchanged. If you change the water in your birdbath once per week then freshly-deposited mosquito eggs will not have enough time to complete their life cycle and become adults.
A birdbath is a crucial element of attracting consistent and diverse birdlife to the yard but, if left un-managed, can become a great in-convenience since mosquitos will almost always use it as a place to lay eggs. Surface agitators such as the Water Wiggler© prolong the life of birdbath water by making it difficult for mosquitos to lay eggs at all. Drippers and misters not only attract birdlife to the bath, they add fresh, egg-free water to the basin. Undoubtedly, if the threat of Zika persists and expands into other parts of the range of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species responsible for transmitting the virus, managing birdbaths and other sources of water in and around our homes will be very important. Drippers, misters, and agitators will be an indispensable tool in ensuring that you can continue to offer water to your birds without increasing exposure to Zika.
Vigilance at the birdbath is a small price to pay for the enjoyment that an active birdbath can bring, especially as seasonal rain becomes less common in early fall and migrating birds pass through. There are many species of bird that will use a birdbath that will never visit a feeder. Birdbaths expand our birdwatching horizons. If you haven’t seen any of the very popular birdbath and birdfeeding videos on our Youtube chan-nel, please visit www.youtube.com/user/WBU319 and stay tuned for more fun and instructional videos.
To keep up to date on the presence of Zika in Florida and Alachua County, visit www.floridahealth.gov Daily Zika Update.