Sunday, June 22, 2008

Garden Birdbath issues

As you all know by now, we enjoy birds in our gardens. We have 5 birdbaths in various spots to welcome our feathered friends.

I don't know why they call them birdbaths as the birds in our yard seem to drink from them more so then bath in the water.

A Pileated Woodpecker was a recent visitor to one such watering hole. This was a treat as we have never seen the Pileated in the birdbath taking a drink before.

During the summer months, the baths can get dirty with frequent use.

So I (in this picture, the Saint) pour out the old water and clean the birdbaths to ensure fresh water for healthier birds.

Birds provide us a service by eating tons of bugs thus healthier plants and flowers in the gardens.

Another bonus is the beautiful music the birds sing for me as I work in the gardens.

Algae will grow quickly in the humid days of summer.

The calender still says spring but the hot steamy 100 degree days say something differently here in Georgia. So we are filling the baths in the morning and evenings right now to satisfy many different visitors.

We brush away the algae, bird poo and other gunk that forms from frequent use. Then rinse with fresh water and dump once again.

The watering jug comes in handy for this process so I don't need to drag out the garden hose.

The fresh water is ready for the next visitor to include raccoon and deer during the night time hours.

The only problem with this cleaning method is that a rut forms below the birdbath with a waterfall effect from the dirty water being poured out. This is not a problem with the bath you see pictured as it is in a wooded area.

However, this is a problem in the Flower Garden. This was a problem that needed solving. I thought of putting flowers below but feared they would get too much moisture or be damaged from the waterfall effect. I also tried using pine straw mulch below only to have the dirt underneath rise to the surface and cause a messy look and still had ruts to deal with.

I finally came up with a solution while recently reworking my flower garden..

I put a frog statue below the birdbath and added some additional stones to hide the statue's base.

Keeping with the frog theme, I placed a Frog/Toad house beside the pedestal of the bath.

I planted some marigolds (they were not blooming at time of posting) and placed a colorful butterfly stake into the ground for additional color to the area.

When I tilt the water basin, the water falls below on the frog statue thus breaking up the waterfall effect.

No more ruts in the ground below my birdbath!

This solution did not cost me a penny as I already had all the items scattered about in other areas of the garden. I just joined them together to form the perfect solution to my little problem.

I often sit at the garden bench nearby and watch the birds taking a sip of water or splashing about in the cool clean water.

I provide fresh water for the birds and they in return keep the bug population to a minimum.

I think this is a pretty good trade off so I will continue to solve Garden Birdbath issue as they arise, In the Garden...


  1. Great thinking there Skeeter! And it looks good to boot.

  2. Hi Skeeter, that is a great shot of the woodpecker. Good thing you were able to grab the camera to get it. I usually miss that cool stuff here. Your birdbath situation looks inviting and healthy for your lucky bird friends.

  3. Jillybean, Good morning! Thanks, I do try to use my brain once in a while, especially where saving money… LOL...

    Frances, I was lucky to capture that shot. I have a few more that are really good but this one worked best for this posting. I keep the camera in the hallway of the house, loaded and ready at all times! The day I snapped that shot, both Male and Female Pileated Woodpeckers were in the yard! I was soooo excited as it is rare enough to spot one, much less a pair! I have seen the pair come to the bath one other time since then, so I know with this drought, they have found the water we provide. I am yet to capture the two in the same shot but with patience, I may be lucky…

  4. Good solution, Skeeter. The pic are very good. I agree about getting a shot of both in same pic. I love the bench close to fountain so you can watch the activity.

  5. Good morning all! Skeeter, I think you coined a new term for this problem, the "Waterfall Effect". Love it! The pic of the woodpecker is outstanding but I am liking the picture of the comfy bench with nice path near it. Very nice. The birds are very lucky to visit your garden!

  6. I have two birbaths. My problem is all the pine needles that always fall into it. If I'm not out there all day, it gets pretty dirty fast.

    I like your solution to your problem. Maybe I'll have to look around and see if I can find an unused screen to put up to help me keep the needles out of mine.

    My old problem used to be the neighbor kids putting food in the bird baths for the birds. (?)

  7. Awesome looking bird, I agree with Tina, the bench looks comfy and in the perfect location.
    I had to look at the first frog statue twice, he almost looked headless to me! I laughed out loud when I saw his position, gosh might wake up the summer vacationers!

  8. The woodpecker is great!! Can't wait to see the pair together cause I know you'll get em sooner or later.

    I am with you Dawn on the frog. I could not even get a frog outta it at first. Sometimes pics can be deceiving.

    Birthbaths can be a lotta work but worth it and a good solution to it Skeeter.

  9. What a beautiful scene of the garden! I definitely prefer birds over bugs. But sadly, both of them like to eat my veggies and poke at them before i get a chance!

  10. Lola, we do enjoy sitting on the bench and watching all the birds, bees and butterflies busy working away in the garden! Very relaxing.

    Tina, I kind of came up with that Waterfall Effect term. I thought it would explain well enough...

    Cinji, We have pine needles fall into one bath also. I pluck them out daily. A screen a bit above would be a great solution! I am sure the kids are just trying to help the birds with a meal. Funny how kids minds operate...

    Dawn, If you enlarge the frog, you will see he is wearing a hat, sunglasses and a strategically placed lily pad! LOL. I forgot to snap a picture of him before placing the stones around him and feared I would not be able to get them back in place if I took them apart for a picture! LOL...

    Jean, I will keep trying for that picture of the woodpeckers together. Now that they know where the water supply is and we are in a drought, I am sure they will be regular visitors this summer. We put a pole up with suet cakes on it in hopes they would munch on them but so far, every other woodpecker in town has found them but the Pileated but there is always tomorrow... Bird baths are a lot of work, especially if you have 5 of them like us but we do enjoy what the birds give us in return so well worth the effort...

    DP, I am sorry the birds damage your veggies. With us living in the middle of the woods, it is a constant struggle to find a balance with nature. Sometimes the wild life wins and sometimes we win. We do the best we can and that is all we can do. Through outlets such as this, we are always learning new methods to try. Keep at it and you will find the balance...

    We just returned from the lake and had a nice boat ride. We beached the boat and splashed around in the water! Was cloudy and we did not put on sunscreen. What a mistake that was, as the shoulders are stinging a bit. We saw baby Osprey in the nest on the power lines! They are getting really big now. Spotted lots of Blue Heron and saw a deer. Was a nice relaxing day….

  11. Hi Skeeter, I figured it out once I could see the frog looking off to the side. I think it's funny I thought it was headless, I kept saying to myself, "she wouldn't do that....Skeeter wouldn't do that!....." Too funny.

  12. skeeter,

    The reclining frog is too cute! Thanks for this timely post...I want to get more bird watering holes out there...we haven't had rain for weeks.


  13. Hi all! Just wanted to poke in here. I have been out all day and what a busy day looking at all the other gardens. I missed one, but hope they will let me come some other time. There was not enough hours to fit it all in today. ttyl

  14. Hi Skeeter --loved the picture of the "Woody woodpecker". We had one out back a few weeks ago --but I never think to snap a picture. I'm quite certain it would be gone in no time with my crew outside making so much noise. Hi Tina --so happy you were able to enjoy the other gardens today. A nice family day for us today --church, run, bike ride and swimming. Really nice today --great weather and I did manage to make blueberry jam today --yeah! I think the strawberry tasted better but I have to wait and see what the crew says:). Hi Jean --hope you're staying cool and having a great summer. Hi Lola --glad you had such a nice vacation although you were surely missed. Hi Nina --my Nina flowers that I moved are still doing good:) Hi Dawn --any plans for the summer vacation with the kiddos? I can't believe we've been out for a month already. The time goes quickly so enjoy:) Back to the baseball fields tomorrow night --have a great night everyone:)

  15. Awesome solution! I'll have to remember this when I get around to buying a birdbath.

  16. You know what concerns me..I read an article recently that said 20 common garden variety birds are declining. That is so sad. It reminds me of that book from the sixties written by Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring". I can't imagine that. No bird songs..and bees are declining too. I write about this on my garden blog.
    I love plants and flowers and birds and bees. It would be a sad world without them.

  17. Anonymous, You are so good to make jam! I have some gooseberries if you want to try your hand on that. Just come and pick:)

    Hi Amy, I hope you are feeling better.

    Eve, You are so right about the decline. I too have read this.

  18. That is too funny Dawn, and no I would not post a picture of a headless frog. It might freak out little Sidekick. LoL...

    Gail, if you want to attract birds to your gardens to munch on bugs, provide them water and they will help you in return...

    Hey Tina, I am glad you had a nice day garden touring! I am sure you will get to see that missed one some day....

    Anonymous, Glad you had a nice family day Sunday. That is one of the things I enjoyed about living in Germany. Sunday's are set aside for family time! Nothing but ice cream shops and restaurants open in “most” towns and you see families on bikes or just strolling the downtowns window shopping with a cone in their hands! It was awesome!
    Out a month already! Wow, time does fly. 6 months until Christmas! Yep, those birds can be difficult to snap a picture of...

    Amy, Once you get a birdbath, you will enjoy all the activity for sure! They do not have to be fancy or expensive just always remember to provide clean water...

    Eve, you are so right about the decline of birds and bees. Housecats kill their share of birds and that is another reason why my two fur-balls stay inside the house at all times. Pesticides have a lot to do with the decline of bees and bugs and I am sure that it trickles down to the birds as well. How sad indeed..

    Good morning Tina...

  19. Skeeter I also loved Germany and that was one of the reasons. I was amazed on Sundays in downtown they had the road closed so everyone could just stroll around. It was so neat. And all the parks on every corner for strolling around. The clerks in stores were not allowed to stand all day so sat on stools. Much different life!! With all that I must also mention how lush the landscape all was. OMG, just a simple ole geranium was so lush from a distance it looked like some fancy, dancy plant, and they were EVERYWHERE!! They had so many flowers you could'nt even see the leaves. Magnificence country.

  20. Jean, I miss those geraniums! They were a pretty flower indeed. I had one on each corner of my balcony each year and they just bloomed and bloomed and bloomed all season long! I do wish our country was not so darn money hungry! Then maybe we would slow down a bit and smell the roses...