Bird Bath Photo Journal and How-to
Cardinal in Bird Bath
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
Birds at the Bath
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
Water Rippling Bird Bath
Moving water attracts birds and helps keep the water fresh.
Mixed Group of Chickadees and Titmice
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
Many birds prefer ground level water features.
Top Notch Bird 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
One of my favorite guides
Prothonotary Warbler and Titmouse in First Drip Bath
Drip Fountain Bird Bath 2
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.
Some DIY Drip Fountain Parts - Mister
Brass Hose Y-Connector
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?See results without voting
Links to More About Wildlife Habitats
- Birds That Nest in Boxes
Many birds and animals build nests in natural cavities and they will also nest in man-made boxes. The most popular one that uses birdhouses is the Bluebird. But several others will readily use a house. They include Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Wrens,.
- Preserving Native Habitats in Louisiana
Scientists from all over the world, like Douglas Tallamy the author of Bringing Nature Home, are advocating using native plants in sustainable, ecologically
Goldfinch and Other BirdsClick thumbnail to view full-size
© 2011 Yvonne L. B.
More by this Author
Photographs taken by the author take you into the life of a pair of northern Cardinal birds as they nest and raise young.
Photographs of and information about red-bellied woodpeckers in southeastern Louisiana are featured in this article. They are permanent residents of our habitat and we have photographed them throughout the year.
Louisiana abounds with reptiles, including snakes. We have photographed and studied some of the snakes that live in southeastern Louisiana.