My new favorite backyard bird watching piece of equipment is an in ground, shallow waterfall pond. I swore that I would never go to the hassle of any electric fountain type system, but I was wrong. I have no desire for a garden pond, as in a full size pond. After years I have finally broken down and gotten a shallow fountain designed for wild and am so glad I did.
For years I have had a small, in ground bird bath that I built in an afternoon. It was simple and I suggest this to anyone who is so inclined and like myself, really isn’t interested in pumps and wire. Now I do have a very nice, very small bird bath water fountain on my deck, and it’s quite uniqe looking because it’s just a sheet of water flowing over a millstone, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.
Back to my supposed topic: To build yourself a mini bird bath pond, buy some pond liner at your local garden center. It comes in sheets and is really nothing but a very thick flexible rubber sheeting and it’s like laying thick cloth. I bought a piece that is 8ft x 6ft. Pick an area in your garden, dig out an indentation that is about 2 inches deep, lay the liner in it and surround the edges with pretty, flat garden stones. I edged mine in embossed stepping stones. Fill with water. Ta da! You have a large bird bath and trust me, the birds will be crazy for it.
The other thing that I added to my mini pond was a mister to keep the water moving and also to re-fill the water that had evaporated. This was the only “work” involved. I have one like the one in the photo, you can buy it at bird bath water misters & drippers. To install this requires a small tube from your outdoor water faucet to your mini bird pond. Here is where the effort starts to come in. I had to dig a tiny trench to run the tube across my lawn. Okay, I did that.
But you can either turn the mister on at your faucet whenever you are outside or you feel like it, because the mister does not recirculate water, instead it adds water, so you can’t exactly leave it on all the time. Well it started getting complicated about here. More complicated than adding a simple bowl of water on a pedestal that is, What I did was go back to where I bought the pond liner and buy a sprinkler timer and a “Y” connector for the faucet so that I would have a connection for my hose and one for the mister. I attached the mister to the timer and then set it to go off twice a day. This went a long way to help keep my little ground bath full. A lot of water will evaporate out of a 2″ puddle! But figuring out how to program the timer was worse than my DVD player.
But I accomplished it. This one birding feature has been the single most successful addition to all of my insane number of backyard crazy bird watcher toys. It draws in many, many birds and a lot of them who would not visit feeders but only come for water. They hear and see the mister dripper, I love it.
Because this has been so successful I finally caved in and bought a real pond. Anyone who has a water garden will poo-poo me calling my puddle a pond per se, but it’s a big bird bath to me. I got the mini single level kit listed at bird bath ponds and pools and it rocks. They come in larger sized but to be honest I find the smallest to be perfect. I have several birds in it at once, it’s easy to clean, and it attracts the dickens out of birds I have never had at a bird feeder or regular bird bath. One of my first visitors was a hooded warbler, then a blue grosbeak. The warblers have been constant visitors and while the may be common enough elsewhere, we don’t get them often here. I was delighted. If you have the room, get one! I need to take photos.