Some of you have noticed that over the last couple of months our railing birdbath has changed significantly. We went through most of 2018 with the, “First Version,” shallow adobe railing birdbath, purchased by my daughter for Mother's Day 2018. This birdbath is excellent, and I highly recommend it for most railings.
Due to my data collection, count, and scrutiny of the birds, our feeders and birdbath are grouped together, rather than being scattered throughout the yard and at time see a lot of traffic. At one point, we had nine Doves, seven Blue Jays, and three Grackles, all of whom visit the birdbath every day (I will explain this in another blog later) as well as other birds that visit albeit with less frequency. Now, many of “our” fledglings are making their way out into the world but I was still having to extensively wipe out and completely change out the water in the birdbath daily, sometimes twice a day!
I determined I needed something that would:
1) Filter the water so it would be cleaner and need to be changed less often.
2) HOLD more water but would still only allow the birds to stand in only very shallow water. Note: BIRDBATHS SHOULD ONLY BE AT THE MOST 2 INCHES DEEP.
First, I took an old flowerpot and filled in the bottom drainage holes with liquid Flex Seal. Next, I purchased a small outdoor pond pump and placed it in the bottom of the pot. I took the old adobe colored bird bath and flipped it upside on top of the pump (like a plateau). I put river-rock on this “shelf.” The old bird bath is not so tight that water cannot flow back down to the pump, but I also cut a hole for a tiny little bit of water to bubble up. Last, I cut a hole in the side of the pot, fed the cord through it, and placed waterproof tape to hold in in place and plug any leak. I should have used the liquid flex seal, but I was worried that if the pump went kaput I would be hard to fix or change out. This is where I made my mistake. I should have just set the pump inside and fed the cord over the side. Note: I did not do this originally because birds are on the lookout for snakes. (It is always good to be cognizant of this fact when you put any cords or hoses around the feeders. Try to hide the cords or use cord colors that won’t be mistaken for a snake.) Nonetheless, the Flex Seal held the drainage holes so they did not leak but the Waterproof tape did not hold (I think it was also pulled at by either the birds or Mama Squirrel) so after a while, when I was filled past a certain point it leaked. Additionally, the pot surface was not very easy to clean thoroughly; though, the pump DID help to filter out the debris.
In order to making cleaning easier, I ordered a stainless-steel bowl. Upon its arrival, I followed the same process as in the Second Version: placed the pump on the bottom, flipped over first birdbath, and added the river-rock. This time I fed the cord over the side and covered it with rock. I placed the whole contraption on the corner of the two railings. Next, I took the round bracket and railing clamp (that came with the first birdbath) and set the clamp at the eight o’clock position on the bowl but added another clamp at the two o’clock position for more stability (ie it’s held on both sides). At some point in the future, I will create a wooden holder, to match the flower boxes, that fits over both railings and has a hole for the bowl. I think this will better hold it in place; especially, if any bird larger than the grackle desires to stop and drink or bath.
The old version worked great but didn’t meet all our needs. The new version works great but without aspects of the old version would not have been enough to meet all the needs. Sometimes in life we are going along and doing just fine, but we realize we need to change something. The tendency is to go to the other extreme and radically change. With this project, I can clearly see that often change might just mean a merging of the old and new. When these are merged, they become a great totally custom mechanism that meets a need God knows about perfectly. Any change is hard. I tend to cling to old because it is comfortable, known, and I think it works fine. See, I think. God sees everything and he sees way down the road. Other times, in my frustration I enthusiastically abandon the old for the new because it is shiny, cool, holds more, and must be the way cause everyone is using it! God taught me through this project that often-adapting parts of the old, merging them with parts of the new, can subsequently result in a beautiful mechanism that meets all the needs so much better! My job is to be open to how God leads, without question. After all, my glorious Creator always knows best!
***After our blog, there was a bird publication that stated in their article about birdbaths that, "You should not use metal for a birdbath because it gets too hot." We are not sure what metal they referred to in the piece.
The water does not get too hot. The depth of the water inside our birdbath is what helps our water stay a nice temperature. This depth would normally not be appropriate for a birdbath because the birds would drown. In ours this is not the case. The pump is covered with an upside "plate" with a hole in the middle. Then that plate is covered all the way up to the top with river rock. The final bath is only about 1-2 inches deep. We have tested it and it is not as hot as the pavement below. This may also be due to the fact that the birdbath only gets direct afternoon late sun.
Our bird bath base is a stainless steel bowl. This was chosen because our modern style house has NUMEROUS stainless steel railings on all of the porches. The birds sit on those constantly. Again, I am not sure what "metal" is referred to in the article but the stainless steel bowl that is the base for the birdbath, the stainless steel railings we have around our house, and the steel shepherd hooks that we have and many others doesn't seem to be an issue for our birds. They perch constantly and it does not appear to adversely affect them.
ALL PICTURES ON THIS SITE WERE TAKEN ONLY BY ABBY, CJ OR ME. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE PHOTOS ON THE BIRDING FIELD TRIP PAGE, ALL PICTURES HAVE ALL BEEN TAKEN IN OUR URBAN BACKYARD/TREES, OR IN THE SKY AND TREES ABOVE OUR HOUSE/NEIGHBORHOOD FROM 2018 TO THE PRESENT. WE ARE USUALLY BIRDING EVERYDAY BUT ARE ALSO USUALLY BEHIND UPLOADING PICTURES.
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