Did you know that birds love moving water? A great way to give them what they love is with this quick and easy birdbath drip.
I have found that in the heat of summer, a lot of birds come to my backyard, not necessarily for the birdseed but for the water.
After observing this I wanted to make the habitat as bird-friendly as possible so started looking around for other birdbath ideas.
Talking with other bird enthusiasts, one thing that they mentioned was the birds liked moving water and to set up a drip.
This is particularly useful if you were wanting to attract some additional birds to your backyard like warblers that don’t normally come to your birdfeeders.
Drip?? What was that?
Basically, it’s something suspended above the birdbath or some other container that drips water down onto the container of water and keeps it in motion.
I started looking around and found that there was all sort of gadgets that you could purchase that would create a drip. If you are interested in buying rather than DIYing, you can find some great options on Amazon – click here.
But, as I like recycling or reusing objects, I looked around the yard to see what I already had that would accomplish what I wanted to do.
This is where you get creative and it might not be pretty like something you would buy, but it can be very functional.
Looking at Google for some ideas I found that many people make them out of a milk jug or pop bottle with a hole in the bottom and then hung it up over the birdbath.
For me, this wasn’t an option as the limbs on the trees are at a height that I can’t reach, so I opted for a totally unique version.
While I was out poking around the shed looking for something that I could use, I found a 3-gallon water jug that I used to use for camping until we started taking a 5-gallon jug with us. The jug was one of those that is horizontal rather than vertical and has a spigot.
I thought “this would be perfect“, now how do I set it up?
Looking around the yard I spotted the ideal spot. Just behind my birdfeeders, there was a large stump that we had put in place for the woodpeckers to hang out and used the top of it for birdseed.
Putting the water jug up on the stump, I found a terra cotta saucer from a planter and put it on a tomato stand. I have since changed to a purchased birdbath, but the saucer was all I needed to get going.
I never took a picture of it but found this one courtesy of Living the Country Life so you could get a sense of what you might have lying around the yard.
Placing it below the water jug on the stump I just needed to find a way to keep the spigot open.
As we have a lot of bark mulch in the yard, I just grabbed a piece of wood to hold it open. This is the tricky part. Getting the wood at just the right angle to hold it open to the amount of drip that you want.
Depending on the piece of wood I use I might put in two pieces just to get the angle right.
Here is what it looks like finished with the new bird bath below it.
As you can see from the picture, the water jug is on top of the stump with the spigot hanging over. The birdbath below has a rock in it that the smaller birds can use as it’s half in half out of the water.
The birdbath has sloping sides so it’s good for robins in the middle and finches and chickadees around the edges.
You can also see a stick that is horizontal to the stump about halfway down. I’ve just stuck a twig into a knot hole in the stump to give the birds something to perch on as they get in and out of the bath.
How I Use The Drip
I don’t have the drip going all the time but I do have it going usually when I’m out in the yard so I can see the birds that are attracted to it. The birdbath stays full all the time so even if the drip isn’t going the birds have a place to get water.
The water jug has a large hole in the top which is great to put a hose into and fill it up. If you wanted, you could just bring it over to a tap and do the same thing.
Adjusting the spigot is the next step.
I find that I want it slow enough that it doesn’t all run out in 15 minutes but fast enough that you get the sound of water dripping in the birdbath, not just a drop or two here and there. Doing this is two-fold.
First, the water lasts for at least 3 hours or longer for the birds to enjoy.
Second, is that the sound of the water dripping really draws in the birds. They will leave the other birdbath I have in the yard to bathe and drink in the one under the drip.
Then I will either work in the yard, sit on the deck or in a chair close by the drip and observe the birds that come in and take the occasional picture.
I love watching the birds have baths and will do a whole series of pictures at some point showing this.
They get their whole bodies involved and put their heads right in the water upside down. The robins seem to enjoy it the most and seem to bathe every day.
Here is a list of just some of the birds that I don’t normally get in my yard that were attracted to the bird drip.
- Pacific-sloped flycatcher
- Wilson’s warbler
- Yellow warbler
- Orange-crowned warbler
- Townsend’s warbler
- MacGillvray’s warbler
- Yellow-rumped warbler
- Swainson’s thrush
- Pacific wren
- Bewick’s wren
- Red crossbills
- Hutton’s vireo
Once I start the drip I just leave it run until it is empty whether I’m out in the yard or not. The birds might as well enjoy it as much as I do.
I only use it in the summer when the days are hot and dry as if it’s wet and cold the birds have other options for water and I find they don’t really use it at those points in time.
Additional Ideas On Making The Drip
If you don’t have a 3-gallon water jug, look around for something comparable. Maybe you had an empty wine box or a gallon jug for making ice tea. Here are some great options from Amazon that might trigger your memory as to what you have on hand that might be useful.
Also, your local grocery store normally has the water jugs so you could just pick one up next time you’re at the store.
Understanding that most people don’t have a convenient stump holed up in their backyard, look for other options. Things like putting the water jug on the deck and a saucer for the birdbath on the ground.
Maybe attach it to a fence or put it on something like a Rubbermaid container. It doesn’t have to be as tall as what I created, but just high enough to give it the dripping sound. And, as I mentioned before, no birdbath is needed just something to catch the water.
Look around your yard and get creative. Let me know how you set yours up.
Now… I’m off to start the drip and enjoy the birds!
Great idea Hev. I’m going to make one using a cooler jug with a spigot. Hopefully the raccoons don’t think it belongs to them. I still have to put water out for them everyday or they drink from the pool.
I got a good idea from your drip system for getting the birds coming to my back yard. I have a pretty tall Shepard’s hook right next to my patio that I usually hang a flower basket on but I run a hose along the fence on the inside and used some ties to run it up the Shepard hook and with an multi sprayer head on the hose I adjusted it over the top of the hook and and secured it with ties , with the birdbath below I turned the faucet on , adjusted the drip and when the birdbath gets to the overflow stage not much runs over but the birds love it ! , and the sound is soothing! Thanks
What a great idea. Thanks for sharing.
What a clever idea! We have to s of birds we feed and I have a saucer for a bird bath(grandkids broke real one)my birds are in the bath all the time. They love it when the sprinkler is on as well. I am definitely going to do this or maybe come up with using sprinkler in some way. Thank you so much! So happy there are others who enjoy the birds like us. Thanks for the tips and pictures. P.s. that is one huge tree trunk!🐦
Glad you like it. I’ve also taken a gallon milk jug and poked a small hole in the bottom filled it full of water and hung it from a tree branch over a birdbath. You have to put a little hole in the top as well so it doesn’t create a vacuum.
Love watching the birds in my backyard from my home office.
Since I don’t have a similar jug , and live in an apartment with a tiny balcony- I wonder if using water dripping sound effect, near a clay saucer would work as well?
I’m not sure. You would have to give it a try.
Let me know how it goes.
You can always catch the overflow in a bucket so it doesn’t end up on the deck
Thank you for such a great idea for a birdbath!
I have been using the same terra-cotta color pot bottom on my balcony for the poor little birds in this hot weather. Now it looks like a birdbath!
We have a bubbling boulder that has water gerguling up through the top of the boulder. Love to watch the birds line up for their “turn” to take a shower. The robins were the hogs, but the wrens patiently waited their turns. We have it at our new house, but the “gergule” is too fast for them. I am eager to try your DIY method with a water jug. In my search for the jug, I found a 2 or 3 gallon glass party drink dispenser!!!! It comes with a “schnozzle,” and it is on a stand! Is October in the Virginia mountains too late for setting it out?
Thanks for your comment.
I never thought of a glass party drink dispenser. And on a stand no less.
What a great idea!
I know what you mean about the bubbling boulder. I purchased a small fountain that comes up through some slate and the hummingbirds like to lay on it and bathe. Wonderful to watch.
Best idea ever! I was about to spend a good chunk on a battery powered device. Love this idea so much better!
So glad that help you. Enjoy your birds