You’ve been toying around with the idea of adding a bird bath to your backyard. After all, they do look pretty swanky. Aesthetics aside, if you’re an avid birder, a bird bath is an absolute must-have. It’s one of the best ways to attract different bird species and have them flock to your garden. A bird feeder is great and all, but a bird bath? Now that’s next-level stuff.
Our feathered friends need water for two reasons: to drink and to preen. It helps keep their little bodies cool both on the outside and inside. Water baths are also great for removing dust, parasites, loose feathers, and debris from a bird’s plumage.
While all this sounds great, you’re probably concerned about how much installation is going to cost you. The good news is – it doesn’t have to cost you a dime. That’s right. You can DIY it. Here’s everything you need to know about how to make a bird bath yourself.
How to Make a Simple Do It Yourself Bird Bath – The Easy Way
If your goal is to make a bird bath yourself, the first thing you need to do is manage expectations. It’s definitely not going to look like the store-bought, statue-like variety made of solid concrete with water fountains and other amazing effects.
The whole point of making a DIY bird bath is to attract more birds to your backyard. As long as it does the job, then that’s all that matters. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into it, shall we? Below are some great bird bath ideas to get more feathered friends flocking your backyard.
Use a Teacup
If you’re looking for something that doesn’t need an awful lot of elbow grease, consider using a simple teacup and saucer. This whimsical DIY bird bath is just that – a small teacup on a saucer mounted on a wooden spindle.
As long as birds have somewhere to perch as they sip the water, that’s pretty much all you need. Besides, it’s a great way to infuse a bit of Victorian-era charm into your garden.
Use the Spare Bricks You Have Lying Around
If you’re looking to get your hands dirty, this is a great one for all you DIY-ers out there. First, you need to get your hands on some spare bricks. If you don’t have any spare bricks lying around, you can salvage them off an old or abandoned construction site. If that’s not an option either, you can simply buy them. You don’t need too many either. Just enough to get the bird bath to the desired height.
Next, stack the blocks until you have a pillar. You can use cement in between the individual bricks to hold them in place. Once you’re through, place a sturdy bowl or tray on top to function as the water basin.
Use a Hanging Planter
An easy DIY bird bath you can make is to convert an ordinary hanging planter into a hanging water basin. Get your hanging planter and suspend it from your back porch ceiling or tree in your backyard. Then, place a medium-sized saucer at the center, fill it with water, and leave it out for the birds to discover it.
Where to Place a Bird Bath
Building a bird bath is only one step of the process. To attract birds to it, you need to place it in a strategic spot in your backyard or back porch. Generally, birds prefer baths set at ground level, which is where they would find a natural water source in nature. That’s what you’re trying to mimic.
Next, ensure that the water in the bird bath remains cool and fresh all day. The best way to do this would be to place the bath in the shade. Having trees nearby also helps by providing branches that birds can use to rest on when preening.
When setting up a bird bath, it’s important to have a place birds can stand on while drinking water without getting wet. This is especially important during the colder winter months. The water shouldn’t be too deep either. A 0.5-1-inch depth should suffice.
How to Attract Birds to Bird Bath
You’ve built your bird bath and set it up in a nice spot in your garden. It’s working pretty well so far, but it’s not attracting as many birds as you would like. A great way to make your bird bath even more attractive to birds is to incorporate a dripping feature in it. The sight and sound of dripping water are extremely irresistible to birds.
You can use a sprayer or a commercial dripper, although a makeshift drip from a plastic bucket or an old container works just as well. Simply punch a tiny hole at the bottom, fill the container with water, and suspend it above a bird bath. That way, it drips down slowly.
How to Keep Bird Bath Clean
To attract a wide range of bird species, it’s important to keep your bird bath full of water throughout the year. However, keep in mind that bird baths can get pretty dirty pretty fast. As birds bathe in it, they may leave behind droppings and dirty feathers, making it unsanitary for other birds drinking from that same water basin. For this reason, ensure you change out the water every day or two and clean the bird bath at least once or twice a week.
Here’s how to clean a bird bath:
- Empty out the contents of the bath basin
- Mix five parts water to two parts vinegar and add it to the empty basin
- Leave it to soak for at least 10 minutes, and then give it a good scrub
- Pour out the water and vinegar solution and rinse it with clean and fresh water
- Refill it with water and let the birds drink from it
Why Do Birds Take Dirt Baths
A dirt bath, or “dust bath,” as it is also called, is part of some birds’ plumage maintenance. You’ll commonly see this with chickens. It helps keep its feathers in tip-top condition by absorbing excess oils, which then prevents the feathers from getting greasy and matted.
So, don’t be alarmed if you come across a bird frantically flapping away in the dirt. The bird is simply taking a dirt bath. Sometimes even birds that bathe in water will occasionally take a dirt bath when water for bathing is scarce!
Not sure what to do if you find an injured bird? Check out our blog for step-by-step instructions.