In nearly all my programs and workshops I recommend adding a MISTER to your wildlife habitat. This suggestion is often met with some confused looks, so I thought I’d follow it up here with some photos that can help walk you through it and understand how simple it can be. NO ELECTRICITY needed, just a hose connection.
Why a mister, you may ask?
A mister can serve a dual purpose: (1) offering a place for songbirds, including hummingbirds, to bathe, and (2) moistening an otherwise dry part of your garden where you can plant goodies under it that like wet feet, like Cardinal Flower, Swamp Milkweed, Turtlehead, etc.
Misters are especially crucial during rainless summers when everything is bone dry. To a hummingbird, a bird bath is like the Atlantic Ocean and they’ll never use it. Instead hummingbirds need rain showers, garden sprinklers (which few of us use because we’ve planted NATIVES which need little pampering), or A MISTER!
Set up properly, a mister mists down from a nice height over leaves and plants beneath it, drawing in hummingbirds that will fly through it to take a bath or roll around on wet leaves below to bathe, as will warblers and other songbirds as well. We’ve seen some of our neatest garden visitors at the mister!
Do I need Electricity? NO!
You can set your mister up on a hose faucet timer so that it comes on in the early morning and goes off at dusk (or whenever it suits you), or you can simply turn the hose on that is connected to your mister when you want it to come on and turn that hose off when you want it to stop misting (as we do). We turn ours off at dusk. Obviously, on rainy days we don’t turn it on.
Where Oh Where Can I Find a Mister?
Misters are sometimes sold at Nature Centers. Be sure you find one that has 50-60 feet of 1/4 ” black tubing (along with the special mister unit at the end); that way you can easily snake it up into a tree and out to the end of a branch so the mist mists out over a nice-sized area.
On line, a few places I found them available were:
- AMAZON, called “Birds Choice Leaf Mister.”
- And HAYNEEDLE, called Backyard Nature Products Leaf Mister
Another product I’ve been told about, but not yet tried is a Fan Mister, like the average person might use around their swimming pool. Wildlife gardeners can adapt one and use it as a bird mister. Here’s one (and apparently they’re available at places like Lowes and Home Depot when all the summer stufffffffffffffffff is out):
- AMAZON, called Outdoor Fan Mister
It’s fun to place a bench somewhere nearby so that when the wind drifts the mist out over the bench, you’re cooled on a hot summer day.