Friday, 15 October 2010

In search of water

I don’t need to. I turn on my tap and have safe, clean drinking water. My tiny plot has enough rainfall for my plants, visiting birds and wildlife too. We do see some dry spells here but at the worst... I get yellowish looking grass.

Over the winter months I don’t have the luxury of an outside tap with running water. We switch the water supply off for fear of burst pipes. We have the luxury of that choice.




The image above shows a Song Thrush drinking the careless spill from my watering can. I can’t remember what I was dong this day back in April 2007. I’d take a guess my arms were a little tired after a session gardening and I had brought the hose over to refill it instead of carrying it from the tap.

30 seconds at most would have been the walk carrying my watering can (with handle) from my outside tap. Quite a contrast to women in Africa walking over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 40 pounds to gather water for their community, which is usually still not even safe to drink.

The Song Thrush in the image above has seen its numbers in decline since 1950. Increased land drainage and tillage in farmland is thought to be reducing the number of earthworms and other crucial invertebrate food for it.

If this bird didn’t find water to drink in my garden it wouldn’t need to fly too far to find another source via a garden birdbath or pond in my small town. Water birds may have a bigger source in rivers, lochs, lakes and seas but when polluted… you’ve seen the pictures.

You’ve also seen the harrowing pictures of children without clean water and food too. Being a parent, my heart goes out to them and their parents with nearly 38,000 children every week under the age of 5 dying from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions.

In my garden at the moment (as I write this) I am hearing the calls from juvenile birds to their parents. They are hungry. The bird feeders are empty. Bird feeders (when not regularly cleaned) can spread disease. One particular disease called trichomoniasis can quickly spread. It kills the affected bird.

After posting this I am going outside to my garden tap. It’s only a few steps away. I’ll pour clean water into a clean bucket and clean my bird feeders. I have that luxury. The birds in my garden will then have the luxury of food in clean dishes.

Clean water in birdbaths also prevents disease from spreading within birds. I have the luxury of going to my water butt and turning on the tap to get rainwater that has been collected there. My visiting garden birds will then have the luxury of clean water too.

It has gone eerily silent in my garden just now. I can’t hear the juvenile birds calling. I can see a Blackbird bathing briefly in water in a birdbath before running away.

My thoughts today are with those that can't run away from water because the don't have any.

Today, nearly one billion people lack basic access to safe drinking water.

Today, I’m supporting Blog Action Day for 2010. This is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year's topic is water. If you are a blogger and would like to take part you can register your blog here.

If you would to support the UN’s efforts to bring clean, safe water to millions globally you can sign a petition here . If you would like to help build water wells in developing countries through fundraising for water take a look here.

4 comments:

Geordie Magpie said...

its nice to see a songthrush again thankyou,I miss mine it was mid August when I last spotted one in the garden,hopefully the frosts will bring them back.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Water is one of our most valuable and crucial elements. We must never take water for granted. I especially feel this as we are in a drought now.

shirl said...

Hello Geordie, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :-)

Song Thrush visits are quite special aren’t they? I do believe it was back August that I saw my first juvenile. A camera wasn’t to hand and I never saw it again. It was still a special sighting though.

Fingers crosses we both see Song Thrushes return to our gardens :-D

shirl said...

Lisa, I was also thinking of you when I wrote this post. I hope you get regular rainfall soon :-)