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A migrating Nashville warbler stops in our backyard, drawn to the presence of running water. Keith Corliss

In dry times, try offering water to birds

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It's called the "universal solvent," if I can maintain the thin threads of foggy memory from high school science class; so named for its unparalleled ability to dissolve more substances than any other chemical.

What magical compound occupies such a lofty perch? Water, good old H-2-O.

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