My Old Bird Bath
For some while I have been using a white rectangular butcher’s meat tray as a bird bath during freezing winter months and dry summer months when birds need access to fresh water. It has rested either on the ground, or on a garden seat, or on top of a large Victorian plant pot when the summer flowers have died back. The stark whiteness of the tray and the depth of water (10cm) have, I think, put birds off. The only ones I have seen using it have been occasional blackbirds. Also I feel they need it near the ground but not actually on it.
My New Bird Bath
So yesterday I realised I could make the bird bath, shown in the featured image, using a plant pot and the type of saucer that plant pots stand in. Probably any would do so long as the saucer holds water and fits neatly into the top of the plant pot which is used as a stand. The saucer I used has a half round lip which I suspect suites birds feet. I like the terracotta colour, it suits my garden.
So far I have seen dunnocks (hedge sparrows) and a starling drink from it. The depth of water is 4cm (1.5″), the internal diameter of my pot is 35.5cm (14″), the external diameter of my saucer is 38cm (15″) and the height of my pot is 30.5cm (12″).
All I have to do now is move it around the lawn every day or two so the grass doesn’t die off. I might seek a spot on the border. Also VERY IMPORTANT change the water and keep the saucer clean and keep breaking the ice in the winter. Animals and birds need clean water just as much as we do.
1st Review – 17th Aug 2012
I just want you all to know how successful my bird bath has been this summer. It has been enjoyed by many of my garden visitors. blackbirds, sparrows, dunnocks, starlings have often been seen having a drink and a dip. They flutter their wings to splash water all over themselves. The blackbirds have sometimes spent several minutes in the water, hopped down onto the grass and then shaken their feathers to get the water off only to go back and do it all again. Young blackbirds have done it too.
I haven’t seen wood pigeons bathing but I have seen them drinking. They bend down and scoop the water into their beaks and then hold their heads up and stretch their necks to let it run down their gullet.
Over time it gets green stuff growing on the plastic. To clean it I spray it with HG Mould Spray (a strong bleach) and leave it for 15 minutes. This gets rid of anything nasty. I then give it a very thorough rinse with clean water before refilling it.
2nd Review – 23rd Jan 2013
I had a problem with my bird bath in the autumn (fall). I acquired a dog (border collie) and when we play outside he goes over to the bird bath to take a drink. This isn’t a problem for the birds but he (Leo) had a poorly tummy and we suspected he may have been drinking dirty water from this source even though I tried to keep it clean as per my previous posts. So with all the rainfall we’ve had in the UK I have put the bird bath away for winter. The birds can get water from my neighbour who has also set up bird feeders and a water supply. I will have to come up with a new scheme in the spring so watch this space.
3rd Review – 12th June 2017
The bird bath is still going strong although I noticed I am now using a different pot to support it. I’ve got it standing on a path so it doesn’t kill the grass.
I set it up in the dry weather of spring and summer. The birds love it but I still take it away in the winter months. We’ve had rain and not many frosts this winter so birds should have got water from a natural supply.
Apart from drinking the water they can regularly be seen bathing. Sometimes birds will splash around in the middle for a while then go and sit on a nearby fence. While on the fence they fluff their feathers up and shake their wings. They often return to the bath for another dunking and go back to the fence again. I recently saw a magpie do this at least three times before leaving my garden.
Bird Bath Users
The species I’ve seen drinking or bathing are:
- dunnocks (hedge sparrows),
- house sparrows,
- wood pigeons,