Attracting birds to our yards is enjoyable and educational, and has practical benefits as well. In addition to the pure pleasure we receive by watching birds in our environment, birds also aid in our struggles against some common garden pests. Many birds munch on slugs, grasshoppers and caterpillars, which we all know are unwanted pesky critters that destroy our fruits and veggies.
We often think about birdfeeders when we want to create a hospitable environment for our feathered friends, and hummingbird feeders, seed feeders, and suet feeders can and do attract a range of birds. Just as important, however, is providing a clean water source for birds to use for drinking, bathing, and preening.
Birds can see and hear water moving from a great distance. They benefit from having a clean source of water during our hot summers, but bird baths are important even during the winter months, where birds can exhaust precious calories trying to melt ice in order to quench their thirst. You can also attract migratory birds into your garden by helping them out with a quick drink. Another benefit of adding a bird bath is to ensure some new species of birds will visit your yard often, as some species of birds are simply not attracted by suet cakes or seed feeders.
Building your own bird bath is a relatively inexpensive project, and also a great activity to do together as a family (perfect Father’s Day project!) or with some friends after a Sunday brunch. We created the birdbath in the accompanying photos with some simple terra cotta flower pots and some decorative glass gems that we carry in our stores. You can leave the pots undecorated if you choose, or paint them, or really decorate them however your imagination dictates.
- One 14.6 inch terra cotta azalea pot
- One 8.3 inch terra cotta flower pot
- One 14.2 inch terra cotta saucer
- Black glass gems
Construction is simple:
Turn the large azalea pot upside down to form the base of your birdbath. Turn the smaller pot upside down and affix to the top of the larger pot using rubber cement or silicone caulk, both of which are waterproof and can withstand high and low temperatures. Your birdbath base is now complete.
Affix the saucer to the top of the base and let dry. Decorate your birdbath as you see fit.
Place your birdbath in an appropriate spot. For our hot southern summers, a shaded spot works best to prevent the water from quickly becoming too hot and bacteria-laden. You want to make sure, however, not to place your birdbath beneath a type of tree that sheds a lot of debris that you will need to constantly clean out of your birdbath. You will also need to strike a balance between having the birdbath in a somewhat open area, so predators can’t easily hide nearby, but not completely open, which can make birds feel nervous and exposed. You may need to try a few spots in your yard before hitting on the perfect location, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get it right on the first try. Luckily, this homemade birdbath is not too heavy to move easily!