Wildlife
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Attact More Birds With a Simple Water Feature

Create an oasis for your feathered friends
By Jennifer Baker
Published: March 3, 2014
Birds water feature oasis bluebirds
AN INEXPENSIVE BIRDBATH – Eastern Bluebirds share a drink and lively conversation at an IKEA saucer ($2) placed on top of an upside-down old milk can.
Photo by David Greer, courtesy Jennifer Baker
Imagine this: You're walking across an endless lumpy cornfield on an unbelievably hot spring day, tripping over remnant sharp stalks from last year's harvest. Suddenly, your stomach is growling and you're parched. You stumble on an oasis – a glass of ice water and a mound of cookies shine like beacons under the spring sun. What do you reach for first?

The water, right? I thought so.

When a flock of migrating bluebirds decides to call it quits for the day, they’ll snub your shiny Droll Yankee feeders in favor of a muddy puddle that you just dodged while carrying your weekend groceries into your cabin.

Birds crave water just like you do. And it’s easy to quench their thirst. Just make your own muddy puddle – without the mud.

You could invest a hundred dollars or more into a really heavy stone birdbath, which come in many beautiful colors and styles. However, a cheaper and simpler alternative is to purchase or re-purpose a plant pot saucer in your favorite color.

Add a bit of water to the saucer, set it on your deck railing, and place a rock in the center to allow easy access for your feathered friends. Don’t be tempted to make it deep. Think mud puddle. One to 1.5 inches of water is perfect. In addition to drinking, bluebirds, buntings and finches (to name a few) will bathe the days’ grime from their feathers in your lovely shallow pool.

Plant saucers are small in size and weight, making them easy to carry to the cabin kitchen sink for a scrub (frequent cleanings are necessary to ensure the health of the birds). A saucer is also inexpensive to replace if you happen to drop it or forget to bring it in before it cracks from a fall freeze. If you visit the cabin in winter, attach a birdbath heater to keep the water open throughout the season.
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