So many cool happenings in the bird world during May that we missed. Migratory birds on the move with all their splendid color, hummingbirds have landed just about everywhere, bluebirds on their second broods, and parents feeding fledglings everywhere to name just a few.
A common thread among all these birds? Water! Here’s a few fun accessories that keep water moving to entice more birds. They beat boring bird baths ten times over, water stays fresher, and they cost nothing to just a few pennies per day to operate.
Solar Fountain Kits for Bird Baths
Greatly improved, these are ideal for existing baths. The kits are longer-lasting, no fuss and have easier to clean pumps. The panels still require full sun to operate, but there’s options for a one-piece kit or separate panel. The latter allows the birdbath to be shaded while panel receives full sun (depending on your landscape). The smaller pumps are just as powerful, so when using the spray heads be sure water does not overshoot the bowl and drain it as the pump should not run dry. Sans attachments and you’ve got a bubbler for smaller or hanging baths.
Bird Bath with Electric Pump Kit
New for the season, the Splash Pool Bubbler is perfect for deck, patio or ground. The shallow splash area and overall height let birds bathe more naturally (at ground level). It works well atop a small table or plant stand too. An electric pump allows for continuous flow regardless of what the sun’s doing that day, and the large reservoir needn’t be filled as frequently. Natural stone finish and removable decorative birds make this bird bath totally fun for feathered friends and hosts alike!
Possibly more exciting than bird baths, misters attract butterflies as well. Installation is versatile from a permanent set-up to a mobile one when attaching the tubing to a plant stake! Pick it up and move around the garden daily. This also prevents the ground from becoming too saturated in any one spot, and gardens grow lush! Songbirds will sit and wait for misters to start on hot summer days. Attaching to your outdoor spigot, the Y-valve frees up garden hose so there’s no switching connections.
That still leaves bird bath drippers, water wigglers, and a DIY birdbath dripper you can make for next to zero cost (stay tuned for this article).
Add some moving water to your place and watch bird baths come alive with non-stop activity!
Accessories for bird baths and leaf misters will absolutely bring more birds (and butterflies) to the garden. Because they keep water from becoming stagnant, it stays fresher and mosquitoes can’t lay their eggs in it either.
Both solar fountains and those using electricity recirculate water in bird baths. Drippers and leaf misters run off the outdoor spigot and although very slow and adjustable, do utilize a continuous water flow. They come as complete kits with everything required to be up & running in minutes… no kidding!
Leaf misters offer lots of options for placement too. You can attach them to a branch or trellis, (50 ft. of rubber tubing is included) attach to a deck bracket or even a simple plant stake in the garden. We prefer the latter as the mister may easily be moved around to benefit the garden by watering different sections daily.
Butterflies especially adore the gentle mist, while hummingbirds and other songbirds like chickadees and bluebirds will wait for them to start each morning… it’s like a spa for them and makes a spectacular viewing experience for host too. Place leaf misters near nectar-producing plants like lantana and enjoy the show!
Moving water in a bird bath or somewhere in the landscape is the ticket to seeing more bird activity during warm summer months. In fall, simply pack them up and store away for next season. A one-time investment that promises to bring many seasons of use and enjoyment… and more winged activity to your place!
What a fun image… even though the subject is house sparrows, but c’mon… bird baths are pretty useless once turned skating rink 🙁
Aside from the skater, the one with the hat is too cute- thanks Elmer for the creative… it’s perfect! Adding a simple bath heater makes water accessible through winter months. Being a critical life force, you’d be surprised at the variety of feathered friends who will frequent a fresh water source during hard freezes. Even when there’s snow on the ground, good old H2O serves birds much more effectively.
The main mode of survival during bitter weather is to eat enough food throughout the day to store a layer of fat, enough to get them through the night. So when a bird eats snow to get water, they burn precious calories in the process converting that snow to water.
Heated bird baths however are as simple as plugging them into an outlet, thus eliminating this futile process. For use year-round, just unplug and tuck the cord when spring finally rolls around. If you have an existing bath that gets turned over for winter – stop! Just add a heater as an accessory, the newer ones are safe in most baths and they even come with manufacturer warranties these days.
Even bluebirds are more likely to over-winter if a consistent fresh water source is available to them. So nix the skating rink and the dreaded bath “turn-over” as you’ll entice more beaked buddies to your place and encourage them to stick around!
What happened to the other 3 gift ideas? We were busy getting our own baths and bird habitat ready for the coming polar vortex! Out with the water wigglers and drippers- in with the heaters.
Without a doubt, the easiest way to attract more birds is with fresh water. Even a plant saucer with an inch or two of water near shrubs or a tree line serves friendly fliers and other wildlife well throughout the year. If you have an existing birdbath, or know someone who loves bird watching- it’s easy to understand the sheer joy of seeing birds bathe and wade, or preen and drink from the life-essential offering.
Accessories like misters, fountains or drippers really bring a birdbath to life with the gentle motion of moving water. During the season, hummingbirds can be seen flitting about a moving stream of water. Butterflies adore leaf misters plus gardens grow lush below them. Even songbirds quickly become trained awaiting the start of birdbath action each morning!
You can quickly craft your own simple dripper from a milk jug! Take said plastic 1-gallon milk jug and poke a tiny pin hole in the bottom corner. Use a chain or strong wire to hang the jug above your birdbath. At one small drop every 3 or 4 seconds, the gallon of water will last at least a few days. There will definitely be increased activity that’s well worth the effort… for you and birds alike!
Should you be pondering the perfect holiday gift (without breaking the bank) for the nature lover on your list, a leaf mister or even mister-dripper combo will bring great joy… and for many seasons to come!
July can be a scorcher for wildlife, especially with recent droughts and above-average temperatures. Natural water sources like puddles, creeks and shallow pools all but disappear during summer heat. Adding fresh water to the garden may prove to be a life saver for birds and other animals whose habitat continues to shrink. Something as simple as a plant saucer filled with water will see winged visitors happily partaking in the essential life source.
Adding bath accessories like leaf misters, water wigglers, or this solar bubbler can bring a pedestal or hanging bird bath to life! Circulating water stays fresher longer and acts as a magnet for birds! They’re totally attracted by the visual of moving water, and the soothing sounds can be a welcomed addition to human ears as well.
No need for the whole set-up either, these battery or solar powered accessories are a la carte! Some even operate from the outdoor spigot. Add them to your existing bath for a whole new dimension in birding. Hummingbirds are especially fond of birdbath fountains, while butterflies covet the gentle spray of leaf misters. Songbirds around our place actually sit and wait for the drppers to start each morning, it’s looks like a bird spa!
Consider one of many “moving water” accessories this summer and see which new visitors show up at your place. Especially during spring and fall migrations, you may be quite surprised!
You hear it all the time… or maybe not? Adding a large rock or stones to your birdbath helps birds. It’s absolutely true, especially for juveniles venturing out into the world after springs’ nesting season.
Shallow, shallow, shallow is best, with a maximum depth of 2-3 inches. If your bowl is deeper – just don’t fill it all the way. While adult birds tend to maneuver with more agility, babies can easily drown in your birdbath if the water is too deep.
A recent post on this topic (on a social network) was shared far and wide because it was a good story. The person saw the bathing bird in distress, and slowly walked over with a stick, but the bird didn’t fly away – it remained in the bath struggling. When she gently extended the stick over the bath, the bird hopped right on it. After placing the stick to the ground, the bird hopped off… but could not fly. She immediately thought of a wildlife re-habber and called, but the bird eventually took flight.
Drowning indeed he was, the water being too deep, with the sides of the bath too tall and steep for escape. The little guy was lucky someone was watching! Wet feathers can’t fly, this is why he hopped under the brush instead of flying to a nearby branch. It illustrates exactly why folks are always saying to put rocks or stones in your birdbath.
Baths with a gentle slope or walk-in sides are easiest on birds because they imitate shallow pools or puddles found in nature. Texture is always helpful too, as it allows tiny feet the ability to grip.
The stones can be anything from colorful decorative ones, to a large natural rock, river rock, lava rock, or simply stones from the garden. Anything that allows birds to “hop up onto” will be used and appreciated by feathered friends. For better footing, landing and perching spots… and maybe even to save a life!
One of the oldest and most intense arguments… cats vs. birds and there’s basically two sides; birders and the people they refer to as “cat crazies”- those who let their cats roam because they believe it’s good for them. Ferals who roam are a problem for birds (but that stems from human ignorance too). Still, there are birders who are responsible cat owners and keep their feline friends indoors. We fit this category – four cats, whose outdoor time consists of a screened porch, and they’re pretty happy with the arrangement.
The neighbor “rescues” cats from the shelter, but they stay outdoors for the most part, which drives me bonkers! At times it’s infuriating, heated words have been exchanged on several occasions. The husband says “just shoot the cat”, but truth be told, I’d rather shoot the wife because it’s not the cats’ fault! Suggesting the cat sport a collar with a bell worked, but it really doesn’t help the birds too much.
A couple of cool ground bird baths are always in use around our yard, but they’re not on the ground anymore! This stinks because birds tend to bathe more naturally at this level. Enter tree stumps, large planters, small tables, and anything else that will add height to the bird baths. An excuse to add yet another, hanging style too.
The dripper birdbath now sits atop of a large planter, the big wood textured bird bath will look good on a tree stump, and the birds will definitely adjust in a day or two at most. Would’ve much rather kept things status quo, but it’s really not fair to the birds. Their lives needn’t be compromised due to the neighbor’s stupidity! And hey… one more hanging bath to maintain won’t make a big difference in the scheme of things… especially since we’re already known in the neighborhood as the crazy bird people 🙂
Songbirds can be attracted to the smallest of spaces… with the right stuff! Elements found in nature are always best for birds; plantings that produce a food source and fresh water, they just can’t be beat when it comes to helping wild birds thrive.
Our hand made birdbath & planter lets you combine those elements in a stunning fashion. Whether your yard is monstrous or miniscule, you can create a one-stop oasis by planting for the birds and offering a fresh water source in one. Equally suited for deck, patio, or balcony, it’s ingenious!
Nectar producing flowers like petunias, lantana, salvia, and impatience work perfectly in the generous planter bowl, and it’s very likely that hummingbirds and butterflies will frequent these flowers for a quick meal.
The bath itself is glazed inside which helps water stay cooler. Adding a few river rocks or decorative stone makes the pool even more inviting by offering easy spots to land and perch, especially for fledgelings and juveniles during spring. Adding them will also help trap sediments at the bottom of the bowl. But when temperatures really start to heat up, water should be changed every other day. Because that’s the trick… if you keep it fresh – they will come!
In brilliant blue, green or turquoise, this bath and planter set packs a big punch for a small space. Beautiful glazed pottery, colorful annuals, and vibrant birds of spring and summer! What gardener could ask for more?
Now, about that special Mother’s Day gift – there’s no way you forgot mom?
Last winter a water problem was discovered in the crawlspace. Ground water was coming up pretty high and slowly rotting out the support beams. First thought to be a lack of ventilation – but it turns out this had been a longstanding problem.
Over the summer a sump pit was dug, a pump and float switch added, and drain hose was run outside, across the side yard. A simple outlet was created with gravel. It pumped all winter long, even during snowy weather, and is pumping right now. The water pools around the gravel and ultimately sinks into the ground.
Flocks of resident birds gathered there all winter, particularly during really cold weather. While this is near the bird feeders, there were many birds (like robins) who don’t typically use them. Every time the pump ran, birds would swoop down and take a dip, or drink, and otherwise frolic in the temporary pond. Leaning towards burying a bird bath or some kind of large shallow form near there for summer so the water will be able to pool longer.
This is clean, filtered ground water, it flows so it doesn’t freeze, and will be cooler in summer months. The best thing… it’s going to good use for the birds!
On the last day of 2013 it was nice to receive this note via snail mail. It was a thank you which stemmed from a resident’s simple request for a birdbath to attract some birds at the nursing home. We sent along one of the hanging bird baths, a couple of suet cakes with cages, and some easy suet recipes in hopes the kitchen staff might humor the residents – and help feed the birds on a tiny budget!
A post was published hoping some other birding businesses might catch wind of the simple request. A couple of benches would’ve been really nice for the folks to sit outside and enjoy the birds, but that was beyond our realm. It was just good to give, expecting nothing in return, and we managed a good bit of that for 2013, and will continue to do so in the new year!
Yes, 2013 had its ups and downs, from Fiscal Cliffs and natural disasters, to super storms, a never-ending winter, and government shut-downs. The Monarch migration was a bust, and bats and bees continue to perish at alarming rates. That last part may not sound very important… but just ask a farmer who grows crops. Without these pollinators the future could be grim.
So, Welcome 2014!
May winter be swift, for early nest starts and spring bulbs forcing through, for a safe and timely return of hummingbirds and all migratory birds, for a new awareness and stewardship of the nature around us, and for many happy & healthy fledges for all our feathered friends!