One of the things I like most about where I live is that the backyard is filled with birds. There are Steller's jays, red-tailed hawks, and a family of California quail that lives in the oak trees outside my window. My absolute favorite is the acorn woodpecker, though. They live in the tops of the grey pine trees and hide their stashes of acorns in the trunks, clacking and cawing and clowning day and night. Their "racka-racka" call is music to my ears!
Their wide-open eyes and red crests give them an exotic look that's also somehow comical, flashier than other birds in the area:
A couple weeks ago I started noticing they were doing something new: showering in the spray of the sprinkler system to stay cool by perching on trees in the water's path. They'd move around the property, following the spray from the front yard to side yard to back, calling out a boisterous "racka!" when it hit them and shaking themselves off like wet dogs. Three or four would congregate together, shuffling from the front of the tree to the back and scooting up into the branches when they needed to take a break. It's easy to lose track of time when I'm watching them. I enjoy it as much as they do!
Since I like to take care of my friends the best I can, I swapped the standard garden hose I was using for one that's made with materials that don't add traces of lead or other contaminants to the water. (We're on a well where I live, so there's no danger of added chlorine.) In addition to being nontoxic and drinking-safe -- so better for people, too -- it's also made with 50% recycled materials. I feel better about using it to water my strawberry patch as well, or to fill the birdbath that's a lifeline in hot weather for the creatures who frequent it. I got my hose from a company called Great Terrain, but other brands are available, such as this well-reviwed one from Amazon.
I also don't use any pesticides or other toxic substances on my yard or lawn that could hurt living creatures. That one's a no-brainer! :)
For an overview of chemical safety issues with garden hoses, and why it's important to use a nontoxic alternative, check out www.ideas.time.com/2012/08/02/is-your-garden-hose-toxic/.