Guest post by Renee Garner
Now that the veggies are producing quite happily, I have a few weeks of down time before I start the cooler weather veggies. So my attention has turned to the birds. Birds are great to have around, they eat some grubby little insects I would rather just not deal with. They also emit a certain peacefulness and are an archetype for freedom. Simply put, I gather great joy in watching birds play and interact with my plants. Nothing brings out the kid in me like finding a nest of hatchlings, either.
There are several ways to attract birds. I have the feeding and housing down; but water features require a little more upkeep if one doesn’t wish to become a breeder of mosquitoes. Birdbaths offer a manageable amount of water, which is either used or evaporated rather quickly, evading the little blood sucking insects. Birdbaths are available in every price range, and with an even greater variety of design. However, with my eclectic yard, not just any birdbath will do. I was looking for a birdbath for a kitchen themed garden bed.
If you have less clutterbug tendencies than I, this project is a good excuse for an excursion to the hardware and thrift stores. I scoured my closet and garage through the piles of mess I collect and rationalize keeping by saying I’ll use it one day (I will use it one day) all in the name of art. I found 3 pieces of rebar and the basin from a wash pitcher/basin set. Really 3 or 4 of any hefty pole/stick will work . . . use your imagination: broken tool handles, steel pipe, logs stacked to resemble something of 3 dimensional Constructivist art. I used rebar, which is solid and cheap. For a standard height birdbath similar to my design, you will need 3 4-foot pieces. As for the actual bath part, anything with depth enough to hold an enticing amount water will work. Look at the water reservoir upside down, a flat band around the edge will be a beneficial design element that will give the rebar something to hold, providing it shifts on itsstand. Just remember the birds generally won’t pay attention to the materials, they just appreciate a community pool.
So, here goes: hammer the rebar into the ground about a foot deep. Test it when you think you have it deep enough, checking for stability. You want to form something of an equilateral triangle, and the deeper the bowl, the more you need to make sure the triangle sides truly are equal in length. A too-long side will allow the bowl to tip off the stand, putting quite a strain on a very surprised little bird’s heart. Balance the bowl on top. With last year’s model, I didn’t use anything to adhere the bath to the stand and it stayed up all summer. If more stability is desired, a glue like E-6000 will do the job, dab it on the top of your rebar, place the bowl in place and in less than 2 minutes it will be set enough for use. I would also be willing to speculate hot glue would work, but running an extension cord out into the yard to heat up hot glue might be a little embarrassing. Then all you have left to do is add clean cool water!