If you’re trying to make your garden a better place for bird life, few things are more attractive than a well-maintained bird bath and with the heat wave we’re experiencing at the moment our poor feathered friends really need one. Bird baths come in all shapes and sizes and depending on the type of birds in the garden they seem to prefer different types of baths. The little finches and cape white eyes like something that’s high off the ground while the doves seem to like playing in the sprinkler.
We found a bathroom accessory at Mr P Home, that had a rough texture and was the perfect size to make this little bath for our smaller feathered friends. It’s also become a bit of a talking point in our garden. Smaller birds love sitting on the taps after they’re had a bath to shake off excess water and preen themselves.
What you need to make a bird bath:
- A suitable container
- River sand
- Some wood off cuts to make a base and frame
- A thickish gum pole at least 1 m long
- Drill, grinder, flap disc, saw, hammer and nails
- Exterior wood varnish
We started off making a sturdy platform that would support the bird bath and keep any predators away. We have four cats and the last thing I want is for one of them to disturb the birds while they’re taking a bath, not to mention our dogs that chase blindly through the garden after their balls. We used a really thick gum pole and sanded one end into a spike using a grinder and a flap disc. The spike should be at least 15 cm long so it’s can be anchored firmly in the ground. Once we were happy with the spike we gave the pole a few coats of varnish.
To make the base or platform for the bird bath we used some of pallet off cuts we’ve been using to test how our Dremel router works (hence the funny little lines going across the length of the wood). We cut the wood into two 30 cm lengths and placed them together side by side. We cut two more bits of wood to form a frame at the bottom of the platform and left a gap just big enough for the spike.
Then we applied some wood glue and screwed the frame into the platform.
Once the glue was dry we gave the base a few coats of exterior varnish. While the varnish was still wet we carefully measured where the legs of the bath should go. We just took the bird bath and squished it into the varnish so it left little marks (those white dots on the pic). Using a drill we made some holes so that the bath will sit firmly on the base.
To finish off we glued and screwed the spike to the underside of the base between the frame. To make sure that the spike doesn’t rot we wrapped the bottom bit in black plastic before planting it under a big tree. Birds don’t fly to well when their feathers are wet so they’re vulnerable when they’re taking a dip. They feel safer when they’re under cover or if there’s few branches that can use as an escape route. The little bird bath accessory was quite deep so we added some river sand. The river sand acts as a natural filter and birds seem to prefer a bath that mimics shallow puddles.
The bird bath works really well in the garden and the little birds seems to love it. I planted some miniature roses under the bird bath just to make very sure the cats don’t get close. I would love to know what you think. Have you used any interesting containers to make a bird bath?