Build a Birdbath

Birds need water. Put out a birdbath and you might help birds and get to watch them drink and bathe. There are lots of birdbaths for sale but not all of them are designed well. And they can be expensive. Why not make your own? 

The best birdbaths are very shallow at the edges and gently sloping to about 3 inches (7.5 cm) deep at the center. The bottom should not be too slippery smooth or birds will not want to use it. 

One easy way to make a birdbath is to use a garbage can lid. You can put the lid right on the ground. You may have to dig a small hole for the handle so the lid will sit level. If it is deeper than 3 inches (7.5 cm), a couple of flat rocks inside the lid can give the birds a shallow place to bathe.

Use a clay flowerpot drip saucer or a pie pan as a birdbath. Find a way to raise it up off the ground. Maybe put it on a garden wall, a plant stand, or on a tree stump.

Use a large plastic flowerpot drip pan. Again, rocks can be used to make the water shallow.

A hubcap from a car could be recycled as a birdbath.

With grownup help you can make a concrete birdbath. Maybe you could use leaves as the concrete mold. Garden Gate Magazine has directions and a video here.


Remember, the best birdbaths are not very deep and have a rough surface inside so they are not slippery.

Birdbaths should be put where cats or other predators can’t sneak up on a wet bird. Put the bath up off the ground or 8 to 10 feet from any bush or hiding place.

Change the water every few days. If you leave it too long, the water will become too dirty for birds to use. A birdbath can become a place for mosquitoes to breed if the water is left unchanged. Just dump it out, scrub out any algae with a brush, and refill.


Moving water catches the attention of birds. You can buy a drip hose to run from an outdoor hose or faucet. Be creative. Try hanging a bucket or other container with a small hole in the bottom so it will drip into your birdbath. The slow drip of the water will bring birds to your birdbath very soon.

More Ideas

Be a scientist. Watch what birds do at your birdbath. Keep a record of the kinds of birds that come and the time of day it is used the most. What kind of weather seems to bring the most birds to your birdbath?

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