If you want to really make your backyard or outdoor garden space a lot more attractive to birds, the main item to consider other than offering food is to have a source of clean and fresh water that they can use as well. A bird bath will provide them with a place where they can stop off and have a drink and also somewhere that they can wash and clean out dirt and debris from their feathers and plumage too.
The key thing is that you provide an area where birds can clean themselves and this aspect, in many ways, is more important to their continued survival. Water for drinking can be obtained from a number of sources and some of it is taken in just from the normal everyday diet and what they eat. However, there are not so many places that are good for cleaning and washing feathers to keep them in pristine condition for flying. So adding in a bathing area in addition to food is quite a draw.
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Luckily, providing your feathered friends with a simple bath is really inexpensive to do with a little bit of thought. You can buy all kinds of water sources to pop into your outdoor space but, as someone who owns both a bought pedestal bath by Gardman and also a very cheap DIY one that I cobbled together, I know that the birds who use them can’t actually tell the difference!
In this article, I will show you very simply how I made a very cheap bird bath for less than $2. You may be able to make yours for even less if you already have some suitable items that can be recycled or if you can manage to get hold of what you need from a dollar store.
Materials You Will Need:
- Some clean water
- A shallow, plastic planter, bowl or basin
- Some stones, large pebbles or small rocks
- A heavy upturned plant pot if you need a pedestal
Instructions to Make a Simple Bird Bowl:
Step 1: A shallow bowl or planter can make an ideal container for the water. You don’t need to spend much on this. I managed to get mine, which was a simple plastic bowl, from the local dollar store.
Since little birds like the songbirds can actually drown in deep pools of water that are difficult for them to get back out of, look for a shallow container which has sides that gradually slope inwards (see mine in the photo above) instead of like a bucket or tub where the sides are straight and vertical.
Step 2: The recommended guide with water levels is not to have the water at more than 2 inches in depth. If the sides of your container are much taller, it could fill up more with natural rain water and cause a hazard to these creatures.
To alleviate this danger of having the water too deep, you can fill up the bottom of the container with large stones and rocks which can make the water level much safer. The bonus of adding in some stones is that these can provide useful and handy places to perch while the birds stop for a drink or to wash. I popped some garden stones in mine as well as an old ornamental frog which looks rather nice and provides an extra place to perch.
Step 3: When I first tried out the simple bowl idea filled with stones and water, I just placed it straight on the grass. However, I soon noticed that the birds seemed a bit wary and rather reluctant to actually use it. I forgot that they like to feel extra safe and secure when stopping for water and leaving it flat on the grass makes them feel just a little too exposed to any natural predators such as cats and also larger birds too.
Once I realized my error, I used an old sturdy plant pot as a pedestal for the container by turning the pot upside down and placing the bowl on top. A plant pot was an easy solution for us since we had lots going spare but you could use a sawn off tree trunk or some bricks which are cemented together instead. Look around your back yard and see what you can find.
Step 4: You really need to clean out your makeshift bath on a regular basis because it will get dirty with use and especially when lots of birds come to wash in it. The dirty water can, if you leave it, spread disease and ill health to your visiting friends which I’m sure is the very last thing you want to do.
In cold weather, I clean mine once or twice a week and in hot weather they need cleaning every other day or even daily. So there is a commitment on your part to keep the container clean. A power hose and a scrubbing brush work wonders. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my goody guide page today, thanks for your visit. Hopefully you will find more birds being attracted to your back yard or outdoor space too.