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Recycled bird baths

I can’t believe how expensive a birdbath can be. You can drop several hundred dollars for a bowl and pedestal. A lot of them are usually too deep, hard to clean, and crack from freezing and thawing. I have an old, terra cotta plant saucer filled with water and keep it on my deck near the feeders. So far I haven’t heard any birds complaining.

James Baggett is a former editor of Country Gardens magazine. He says it’s fun to see where creativity can take you, because there are many common items that could be used as a birdbath.

"You can make your own bird bath using a trash can lid, a snow saucer used for sledding, any shallow pan or even an old frying pan. Keep the water level at ½”-1”deep at the edges, and have it sort of slope to a maximum of 2” deep in the middle," he says. That’s the perfect birdbath."

Arrange a few sticks or stones in the water so that birds can stand on them and drink. You could also put sand on the bottom for extra sure-footing.

Make your birdbath even more attractive by providing some form of dripping water. Baggett says birds cannot resist the sound of moving water.

"You can buy a commercial dripper or a sprayer, but better yet is that you can make one just by recycling an old bucket or plastic container. Punch a tiny hole in the bottom, fill it with water, and hang it above the birdbath so it slowly drips out," he says. "It’s a great way to attract birds to your birdbath."

Birds prefer their bathing facilities situated on the ground, but if you’re concerned about cats and other predators, prop them up higher. Set the bath on a tree stump, or a stand made out of old terra cotta pots.

Put your birdbath in the shade, near trees or shrubs if possible. The shade keeps the water from evaporating too quickly and keeps it fresher.

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