Invention by accident
The solar fountain was created as a byproduct of the Dynamic Feeder. I had given a Dynamic Feeder to the local Industrial Development representative to try out, so he could show and tell it to the right people. After a week or so I called him up to see how things were going. In the course of conversation he said; "We've never really had any birds around here." About a month later I asked myself what would make the birds come to his feeder. I had heard that bird baths "attract birds like a magnet." I thought I'd give him a cheap bird bath. Then I thought a bit more and decided, a bird bath was boring. How about a fountain? Then I thought of all the work and effort, wire and/or hosing installation that would be necessary for it to work. Forget it. I had too many other things to do, and I didn't want to overload a good working relationship.
I thought how great it would be to have a solar powered unit -- no wires -- no hoses -- no installation -- no moorings. It could drift around untethered. I checked to see if any of the stores had such a thing. They didn't. I thought; "I can't do it." Six weeks later I had a working prototype.
It draws birds like a magnet. I was surprised. I thought they would be frightened off by the spinning motion of the lily pad. I guess it makes them curious. Perhaps the tinkleling sound attracts them. You'll hear it in the movie. This is how they approach it. At first the birds are timid. Then they swoop down through the water. Then they sit on the side of the bird bath and drink. One bold grackle stood right on the lily pad. while it was squirting I knew the birds really accepted it when they scolded me for taking it apart to clean one day.
Click here to see birds use the feeder
Sketch by Aaron Mac Donald, Smart Media Productions. Animation, film and sound by Chris Gates