Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What Do Birds Want?

The first thing birds want is water. Fresh cool water to refresh their thirst and in which to bathe, just as we do. They are looking for food, shelter and a chemical-free environment, too.

The simplest of birdbaths, but with a continually dripping faucet so there's fresh water at all times. The more vigorous bathers splash out nearly all the water, but it fills again. Overflow goes into a depression in a rock on the far side.

Plants around the birdbath include a big blue Hydrangea, now with early buds, Louisiana Iris, Elephant Ears just emerging and a String Lily Crinum whose foliage is just now visible. All plants here enjoy the extra moisture splashed out by energetic birds.

My second birdbath is nothing more than a boulder with a depression. Water is supplied by a hose stuck into a piece of PVC pipe. When I used a hollow bamboo, it was more esthetically pleasing but the bamboo rotted quickly. One day I might paint the PVC to resemble bamboo. The birds do not seem to care as long as the drip continues so the water is fresh.  

My birdbaths are simple, but they provide constant fresh water from dripping faucets for the birds.

Last August post re birdbaths:  Birdbaths and Stones

Other elements for happy birds include food, shelter and nesting places. There is ample food in this garden withour my adding bird feeders. Evergreens provide shelter not only for nesting but places underneath to scratch for insects and grubs. There are hollows in some of the ancient trees here for cavity dwellers. Brushy edge habitat is provided along old fence lines.

A chemical-free environment and diversified foods complete the list of birds' needs. I'm hoping birds are eating the stinky bugs that are hanging out on the wisteria vines. I've idenitfied that they are some kind of scale that are not that pernicious that they require bringing out insecticides. They have an odor like bad body odor and if you happen to touch one, it is hard to wash away the smell.

Aerial view of the steps leading to the Upper Garden. Birdbath 
Stone is near the far end of the brick wall path behind some Rosemary.
Near view of rough Limestone and Urbanite steps.
Birdbath is hidden behind perennials.
  1. Fresh clean Water
  2. Varied diet
  3. Nesting places
  4. Shelter
  5. Chemical-free Environment
-- This list applies to Birds, Butterflies and to all of us.


  1. I like the me some ideas..

  2. I REALLY like that rock birdbath! Was it already on your property or did you buy it? I need to be on the lookout for one. I don't have a way to have water dripping into my birdbaths (I have six), but I refresh them daily. Thanks for a great post....I hope everyone takes this to heart and helps our birds and butterflies!

  3. I like the idea of constantly dripping water in the birdbath. Now I need to figure how to make that happen that isn't a total eyesore.

  4. I'm crazy about stones; rather have a huge limestone rock than a diamond.

    Christy, the stone is from the property. He-Who-Mows finally bought a bulldozer after we'd moved in all the surface stones to dig up some really big boulders.

    Glenda, all you need is someone to put together a hose connection to a pipe with a Tee, put side pipes for balance and a tall threaded pipe for a decorative faucet. My original pipe had a spike welded to the bottom. Alternately you could just replace a yard water faucet with a decorative one and put the birdbath next to it.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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