Bird Bath Photo Journal and How-to

Cardinal in Bird Bath

A bright red male Northern Cardinal enjoys a drink on a hot day.
A bright red male Northern Cardinal enjoys a drink on a hot day. | Source

Importance of Water for Wildlife

Available water is extremely important to wildlife and birds seem to enjoy it so. During a drought period here in south Louisiana, I observed a variety of birds, lining up in the Taiwan Cherry Tree and the other trees and shrubs near the drip fountain bird bath in the front garden. I was able to get some pictures of many of them as they frolicked in the water.

During one particularly oppressively hot afternoon, some were actually panting and then completely submerging themselves in the cool water. We have a well, so we let the water in our do-it-yourself fountains drip constantly, at a very slow pace.

Both of our drip fountains were easy to make and only required a couple of adapters and a water hose to complete.

Female Summer Tanager

A female Summer Tanager cautiously visits the bird bath.
A female Summer Tanager cautiously visits the bird bath. | Source

Birds at the Bath

Immature Cardinal
Immature Cardinal
Blue Jay Comes to Bath
Blue Jay Comes to Bath
Blue Jay Bathing
Blue Jay Bathing | Source

Birds Visiting the Bird Bath

We are blessed to have many lovely species of birds in our 9 acre habitat on the Tchefuncte River. The river is about a quarter of a mile away from our house, so the birds that make their homes here in the front make use of the fresh water in the bird baths and the pond.

During drought periods, the creek all but dries up and the pond becomes so low, that it is treacherous for the smaller birds to use. It is during these times that we see the birds come to the bird bath fountain in great numbers.

The drip fountain keeps the bird bath clean and fresh and the sound of the dripping water has the added benefit of attracting wildlife to the water feature where they can be observed and enjoyed.

There are many small trees and shrubs within a short hop from the bird bath. The birds that have finished bathing spend time in the trees, preening their feathers.

Some that we have photographed visiting the water feature include: Cardinals, Eastern Towhees, Summer Tanagers, Blue Jays, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadees, Prothonotary Warblers and Goldfinches.

Female Eastern Towhee

A female Eastern Towhee takes a drink during the drought.
A female Eastern Towhee takes a drink during the drought.

Water Rippling Bird Bath

API 390 Water Rippling Bird Bath with Pedestal and Water Wiggler
API 390 Water Rippling Bird Bath with Pedestal and Water Wiggler

Moving water attracts birds and helps keep the water fresh.

 

Mixed Group of Chickadees and Titmice

Young Carolina Chickadee panting in the heat as it waits its turn.
Young Carolina Chickadee panting in the heat as it waits its turn. | Source
Chickadee Dunks and drinks
Chickadee Dunks and drinks
Chickadee Splashes and Bathes
Chickadee Splashes and Bathes
Cooling off  - Record breaking temperatures occurred during the drought
Cooling off - Record breaking temperatures occurred during the drought
Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee share the bath.
Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee share the bath.

Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmice

Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmice are the clowns of the garden. They are both small birds, but as bold as brass. When the young ones first go out on their own, they gather in mixed groups with young Brown-headed Nuthatches and Downy Woodpeckers.

Chickadees and Titmice, especially the young ones almost monopolize the bird bath. There are usually a few somewhere around, every time I look out of the window.

During the really hot days of the drought, I saw several young birds panting from the heat.

As I write this hub, it has been over 3 months and the rain total is less than 2 inches.

Ready Made Fountain Bird Baths

Winged Aquatics Natures' Spring Bird Bath With Dripper
Winged Aquatics Natures' Spring Bird Bath With Dripper

Many birds prefer ground level water features.

 

Top Notch Bird Guides

The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds (The Crossley ID Guides)
The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds (The Crossley ID Guides)

This one shows the birds in their natural habitat from different angles.

 

Identify the Birds

Once birds begin flocking to your water feature, you'll want to identify and record the different species.

Sibley Field Guide

Prothonotary Warbler and Titmouse in First Drip Bath

Tufted Titmouse splashed the female Prothonotary Warbler.
Tufted Titmouse splashed the female Prothonotary Warbler. | Source
The Tufted Titmouse sits under the flexible dripping mister.  Now it drips more that mists, but either is great to keep the bath fresh.
The Tufted Titmouse sits under the flexible dripping mister. Now it drips more that mists, but either is great to keep the bath fresh.

Drip Fountain Bird Bath 2

Home made drip fountain before we put the pots filled with flowers.
Home made drip fountain before we put the pots filled with flowers.
The drip fountain in the Memory Garden after the flowers filled out.
The drip fountain in the Memory Garden after the flowers filled out.

Do-it-Yourself Drip Fountain

It's not difficult and much more economical to make your own drip fountain. We made 2 different ones that have been operating for years.

First we bought 2 concrete pedestal bird baths from a place that manufactures them.

On the first drip fountain, all I did was get a flexible personal mister called the Cobra, which was designed to cool people by misting them with water. I bent the tube so that it pointed the mist or drip into the bird bath and hooked it up to a hose.

I used an inexpensive Y connector for the hose so that I could connect another hose to the faucet and could regulate the flow of the water on the mister.

The second drip fountain was made from a recycled piece of copper pipe that already had the brass connectors on each end.

I took it to the hardware store and they fitted it with 2 inexpensive adapters. One to go from the small copper pipe to a regular 5/8" connection and another to make a 5/8" female connection in which to screw the hose.

I also used a Y connector here so that the faucet would handle 2 hoses and so that the water coming out of the drip fountain could be adjusted.

I bent the pipe and secured it with a heavy gauge piece of copper ground wire to a piece of rebar that was beaten into the ground. The copper pipe and some flowering plants hide the unattractive rebar. The water drips from the curved copper pipe and attracts the birds.

I also put a clay dish on the ground to catch the run off. This serves as a water dish for the chickens when they are outside foraging. Our dogs and other mammals also use this dish. Moss and resurrection fern are planted in the moist area near the dish. Amphibians like tree frogs and toads like this area.

Brass Hose Y-Connector

Orbit 58248 Brass Hose Y-Connector with Shut-Off Valves
Orbit 58248 Brass Hose Y-Connector with Shut-Off Valves

Y-connectors make one garden hose into two and allow you to shut off one or both hoses.

 

Bird Bath Poll

What kind of water feature do you have in your garden?

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Tufted Titmouse

A Tufted Titmouse on the first drip birdbath.
A Tufted Titmouse on the first drip birdbath.

Goldfinch and Other Birds

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Goldfinch finishing molting and getting a drink.Mockingbird getting a drink and thinking about a bath.
Goldfinch finishing molting and getting a drink.
Goldfinch finishing molting and getting a drink. | Source
Mockingbird getting a drink and thinking about a bath.
Mockingbird getting a drink and thinking about a bath. | Source

© 2011 Yvonne L. B.

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Please tell us about your water features. 7 comments

Esmeowl12 profile image

Esmeowl12 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

I loved your hub! It's a thrill for me, too, when I have visitors to my bird bath. When we do have rain, I also enjoy watching the birds bathe in the mud puddles. Thanks for an interesting hub and great photos.


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 5 years ago from South Louisiana Author

Thanks Esmeow12,

Yes, the birds can be very entertaining, especially when you are stuck inside because of the sweltering heat.


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Oh naturegirl7, as you know I love watching birds! I could just camp out in your back yard and watch the birds all day long! Beautiful photos of my friends, doing their thing! Thank you for providing a cool oasis for God's little friends.


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 5 years ago from South Louisiana Author

Thank you 2besure, We have been inviting wildlife into our backyard habitat since the 1980's. Birds, butterflies and other pollinators are so important to the balance of nature.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi naturegirl17, I love your drip fountain, what an array of beautiful birds, I would be watching them all day!


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 5 years ago from South Louisiana Author

Movie Master, Yes, it's hard to get the chores done when there is so much going on right outside the window. ;) I appreciate your comments.


prism3x profile image

prism3x 5 years ago

birds are cool! Thanks for sharing.

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    naturegirl7 profile image

    Yvonne L. B. (naturegirl7)132 Followers
    40 Articles

    Yvonne has been photographing and studying birds for 40+ years. She maintains bird and butterfly gardens in her Louisiana backyard habitat.



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