Saturday, August 16, 2008

Draw Birds to Your Garden with a Easy to Make Birdbath

Since I've been doing all sorts of posts about being green with CFL light bulbs, I thought I would put up a little post on a frugal way to get birds to come to your garden.... and no, I'm not talking about those pink plastic fellows there! Although, this is indeed my garden.

I'm talking about bird baths. Birds love, and need, water. They use them for bathing to some degree, but by far the most common use is just for drinking. If you think about it, it can be hard for birds (especially in the city,) to find clean safe drinking water. A bird bath can provide this.

I have two, one that my ex bought at Menards, and another that I made myself out of everyday things - the one you can see in the photo here. A bird bath can be anything really - all it needs is to be made out of a safe material, cleaned and refilled regularly, and have areas for birds to grip their feet. Deep bowls, for example, can be tough because their feet can't cling to the sides and if the water gets too low, they won't be able to drink. Make sure you clean it regularly, otherwise you'll get algae or worse - mosquitoes. I find I need to scrub mine out every couple of days with a high pressure hose then twice a year or so I get out the scrub brushes and give it a good over all cleaning. I refill the one I made every two days and the other store bought one (which is deeper and in the shade) every three days. Keeping it filled means birds will learn that your garden should be a regular stop. Forget for too long - and so will they.

There are several reasons I like bird baths over bird feeders:

1. Less mess. No seeds or shells to get scattered about or start growing where they don't belong.

2. Lower cost. Once it built (using things from your garage) you just have to add water. Nothing else needs to be purchased.

3. No squirrels!! I hate squirrels and when I had feeders they were always eating or dumping out the seeds or ripping up my feeders - and scaring off the birds. While squirrels might stop by for a drink occasionally (why not? I've caught wasps, opossums, skunks and cats drinking from it) they then move on.

4. It works. This bird bath in the photo is just a little ways from my patio set where I frequently sit and have dinner. That doesn't bother the birds one bit - they will come in for a quick drink any time! I can't even tell you how many I get, at least several every hour.

Hit Read More for some more tips:

As you can see, I made mine out of an overturned planter and a saucer from another planter. I didn't want to put the saucer flat on the ground - I have found that the birds like a little height. I doesn't have to be tall - mine is probably 18" high. My other bird bath is 3' high. I haven't found either of them to be more popular - both are frequented regularly.

Birds seem to like a little "cover" when they drink. They are still concerned about predators, after all. When I had a bird bath in the center of the yard, it didn't do so well, but moving it over to where there were trees and flowers did the trick.

Remember to take them in during the winter! (Unless you heat them to draw winter birds, of course.) If you don't take your bath in during cold weather, the ice will freeze them and it will destroy them.

Here's some other nifty information:

Care2 - How to Make Water Drippers for Birdbaths - How to "Water" Birds

Projects for the Birder's Garden: Over 100 Easy Things That You can Make to Turn Your Yard and Garden into a Bird-Friendly Haven

How to Make a Hammered Copper Bird Bath

Photo by: Me!


Louise said...

I love the pink birds!

Dawn said...

Hee! Thanks Louise! So do I. They were a housewarming gift from a friend. Sometimes I think the little birds fly in and wonder who these big pink elegant visitors are.