The Solar Powered Fountain

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Frog on a Lily Pad

Plunk it in on a sunny day and away it goes. Here it is.

I loaned a bird feeder to a friend to try. 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 an inexpensive bird bath. Then I thought a bit more. How 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 be a burden.

 

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. About six weeks after that it was patent pending. I took an impression of a lily pad. A year later I had what you see in the photos. One young lady described it as "dumb entertainment." Kids like to wave their hands over it. Cast a shadow on it. She could be right.

The frog was sculpted by Denise Mickilowski. Denise is a professional artist who worked for ten years at Julius Lowy Company, of New York City. She has restored many well known works of the most famous artists of all time. She sculpted the frog specifically for this application. The frog hides the electric motor that makes the fountain work. It probably took her a couple of days. I spent a solid week making rubber molds to carefully reproduce the sculpture. We copyrighted it. The reproductions are tattooed with "Ski" on the hip, short for Mickilowski. I told Denise that was all I could fit. She said that was fine.

To my surprise, the fountain does draw birds like a magnet. I was worried that the birds might be scared off by the spinning action of the drifting float. But, they seem to accept it. Perhaps the motion makes them curious. Perhaps they like the tinkleling sound. This is how they usually accept it. At first they are timid. Then they fly near it. Then they swoop down through the spray of the fountain. Then they sit on the side of the bird bath and drink. One bold grackle stood on the lily pad. I knew they had really accepted it when the birds scolded me for taking it apart to clean one day.

 

Click here to see a 10 second video clip of the fountain working.

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