How to Build a Bird Bath

A carefully placed and well-constructed bird bath can bring new species of birds to your yard or garden. Placement is critical so that birds feel safe visiting the bath. Bird bath construction can be completed in a few steps.


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    Decide where to place your bird bath. Birds must be able to easily access the bath while feeling safe.
    • Do not place the bird bath too close to brush. Cats are natural predators of birds, and because they can easily hide in nearby brush, birds are likely to avoid proximity to these plantings.
    • Keep the bird bath out of wide-open areas. Because hawks can swoop down from a high-glide and capture birds out in the open, birds will not frequent a bath without access to protected areas.
    • Place your bird bath in a location that gets midday shade (around 1:00 p.m.). Some sun is important; seek a balance of lighting to ensure you build a bird bath the birds want to visit.
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    Place a wooden post in the ground. For this simple bird bath design, a mailbox post (or comparable) will do.
    • Dig a hole where you want to place your bird bath using a shovel. The hole should be large enough to seat the post.
    • Seat the post (you can seat it in concrete or the dirt). Fill in the dirt around the base of the post. Build up a mound of dirt at its base for additional stability. Pack the dirt down with the shovel or your hands, or by stepping on it, to ensure that the post continues to stand straight.
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    Secure the bird bath on the post. You can use anything that will hold water: a terracotta pan, a garbage bin lid or a concave stone. Something with a lid or edge is best, as it will provide the birds somewhere to stand.
    • Some might advise you to screw the bird bath to the post permanently, but securing the pan so it can't be removed prevents proper cleaning. You need to be able to remove the pan to change water and clean the pan. This is important for the health of the birds. If you don't keep the bath scrupulously clean daily, you could be getting birds very sick, and even killing them.
    • Place a rock in the pan for added stability. This will be especially important for lighter-weight pans, such as an aluminum garbage pan lid. It also provides birds another place to stand other than the edge of the pan. The rock is important for small birds like sparrows who can't reach from the edge, and are afraid to jump into the water. But place the rock close to the edge not in the middle. Because large birds, like robins love to flap their wings, and the rock will impede this if it is in the middle.


  • Keep the pan filled with water. If you change the water twice a day, the birds will be attracted to the fresh pool available to them in your custom bird bath.
  • It can take a long time for birds to start using your birdbath, ours sat there for a year with no birds, and now it's like their Cony Island. It's effort, but when you see how much pleasure it gives our feathered friends, it is so worth it.
  • Most hoses today contain lead. Lead is poison for animals to drink and bath in, just as it is poison for you to drink and bath in. Clean the pan with hose water, but do not fill the pan with hose water for the birds to drink. The solution is simple: keep an empty spring water jug handy, and fill it with tap water. After you clean the pan, simply pour in the safe tap water.


  • If you are using a heavy bird pan, or a fragile bird pan (such as terracotta), ask someone to help you lift it. A second pair of hands will also come in handy while you are attaching the pan to the post. Terracotta, in particular, can crack if it is dropped.
  • Also, please read the above paragraph about not using water from a hose, because hoses nowadays contain lead. Use a bottle filled with tap water instead.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden post
  • Shovel
  • Concrete
  • Bird pan
  • Power drill
  • Screws
  • Rock

Article Info

Categories: Home and Garden