6db0cd628a679e8c3bdbbca5fa2172f7
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

I’ve probably never met a gardener who didn’t also enjoy the delightful sounds and sights of warblers, wrens, bluebirds and thrushes in their garden.

 

A healthy, diverse garden will always encourage a few feathered friends, but the abundance of birds will be far greater with just a little planning.

In local gardens it is fresh water that is the most overlooked ingredient in a bird friendly garden. In our arid, summer-dry climate it is fresh water that may do more to attract birds to a summer garden than anything else. Unlike bird feeders and bird houses, which are specific to certain birds, fresh water is enjoyed by almost all birds: orioles, doves, hummingbirds, flycatchers, wrens, woodpeckers, finches, sparrows and more – and it’s free.

Post_7-24-10_1
Purchase a 4” post. I prefer Trex lumber which is rot resistant and hollow (available at lumberyards like Ganahl). Cut it to about 5 feet and sink 18 inches into the soil.
Saucer_7-24-10_2
Buy a terracotta saucer at least 20 inches in diameter, 24 or 30 inches is even better and will support several birds at one time. It does not need to be glazed.
Insert_7-24-10_3
I found a piece of plastic drain pipe that fit perfectly inside the hollow post. A section of a thick wooden tree stake or wood dowel could also be used. Cut it to about 12 inches.

 

Assembly_7-24-10_4
Glue the section to the bottom center of the saucer. This will prevent the saucer from falling off if hit by a child, a cat or a daydreaming gardener.
With_Water_7-24-10_5
Just fill the tray with water and change it once a week or as needed. A few dark stones or pebbles in the bottom will make the water even more inviting.
In_Garden_7-24-10_6
I made two trays, one for seed and one for water at slightly different heights. This allows me to adjust to extra seed or extra water as the seasons change.

 

Wild birds need a continuous supply of fresh clean water at all times of the year, both for drinking and bathing. A source of water can dramatically increase the number of wild birds you attract in your backyard. Birds that may not visit your feeder or bird houses will come to your water supply.

In my own garden I supply fresh water in a shallow tray, out of reach of cats. My method is inexpensive to make, natural in appearance and can be assembled by almost anyone in less than an hour.

Here’s a simple, effective way to add fresh water and attract even more birds to your garden:

It is important when adding a water supply that the water depth is no more than a couple of inches deep and that the edge has a gentle slope, so birds can land and then wade slowly into the water. Anything deeper and birds will avoid it. My simple terracotta tray makes it a snap to occasionally remove the top and give it a scrub. The rough bottom surface also gives birds better footing than does a slippery glazed surface.

Birds are attracted to the sound of dripping water or by movement on the surface of water. A dripper can be made out of an old one liter soda bottle pricked with a needle and concealed in a tree overhanging the water. Perhaps I’ll explain making one of these in a future column.

In my terracotta saucer I later added a “water wiggler” to the center. The ripples caused by these devices draw birds to the water like a magnet. This simple device sits in the center of the water and creates little ripples as it spins. These inexpensive devices are available at wild bird specialty stores and operate for about six months on two D-cell batteries.

rvanderhoff

Ron Vanderhoff is the Nursery Manager at Roger’s Gardens, Corona del Mar.

Questions from Readers July 24.

Question:

A friend who specializes in growing home fruits told me about a new blueberry variety called ‘Bountiful Blue”. When will it be available?

Robin, Laguna Beach

Answer:

‘Bountiful Blue’ is a new blueberry for local gardens that I’ve been testing at home in my own garden. It’s self fruitful and a heavy producer, with great flavor and amazing blue-green foliage that turns brilliant purple in winter. Look for the first few plants at nurseries this fall.

Assembly_7-24-10_4

Articles about Habitat Gardening (Click for Full List)

Western Bluebird
Habitat Gardening Ron Vanderhoff

A Fifteen Minute Gardening Break

I was working in my garden a few minutes ago, preparing the soil in a new planting area.
Backyard Habitat
Habitat Gardening Ron Vanderhoff

A Garden for the Wild Things

Try to imagine a garden where the only thing alive is plants. I can't.

As Busy as a Bee

5945 Ron Vanderhoff
Swarm of Bees
Over the past few weeks we have had two or three honeybee swarms here at the nursery.

Beyond Bees: How many other pollinators can you identify in your garden?

8697 Meredith French
Metalic Sweat Bees
Did you know that 98% of our flowering plant species need animal assistance for…

Gardeners can Contain Newport Beach Back Bay Pollution

14961 Ron Vanderhoff
Newport Bluffs
I’m fired up. Mainland California's most polluted beach of 2008 was right here in Newport…

Landscaping might be for the Birds

3427 Ron Vanderhoff
Heteromeles arbutifolia - Toyon
There are about 450 species of birds that have been recorded in Orange County. How many…

Lizards are Good Garden Neighbors

43154 Ron Vanderhoff
Western Fence Lizard Fremont
I have a neighbor that I see almost every morning. He’s a fitness buff and spends most of…

Native Pollinators can help with Fruit and Vegetable Yields

3117 Ron Vanderhoff
Mason Bees
If you’re like many home gardeners, over the past couple of years you may have added some…

The Great Bee Rescue

5036 Meredith French
Bee Removal Knife
Upon learning our home of so many years was probably going to make it through an escrow,

Whose Garden is it anyway, mine or the Wrens?

3071 Ron Vanderhoff
House Wren
At the time, I was watering a young plant that I had just put in the ground.

Featured Plant Care

Hibiscus Monthly Plant Care

Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Siberian Iris

Iris sibirica - (Siberian Iris) - Monthly Plant Care Reminders

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Amaryllis

The Amaryllis - A Class Act

The poinsettia, the Christmas cactus and paperwhites are lovely holiday blooms, but the…
Gardenia Monthly Plant Care

Gardenia (Gardenia spp) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Latest Articles

New Plants Added to Database

Do You Have Any Plants You'd Like Me To Add For You?

Our website has so much information being added and updated that I decided to post an…
Six things for your indoor plants during winter

Do These Six Things to Keep Indoor Plants Healthy During Winter

Winter has hit southern California along with the rest of the U.S. No polar vortex here,…
Gardening Professionals and Clubs

Gardening Pros & Clubs: Using the Great Features on the Mulch

We'd like to help connect gardening professional and home gardeners. We've designed a…
Star Jasmine Monthly Plant Care

Jasmine - Star (Trachelospermum jasminoides) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Vines
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Popular Articles

Baseball Field Maintenance

Baseball Field Maintenance - A General Guide for Fields of All Levels

in Lawn
More great baseball field resources can be found here (including a pdf version of this…
Queen Palm Care & Use

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Care & Use

in Trees
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977
Microgreens

What are Microgreens and How to Grow Them

in Edibles
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…
Kahili Ginger Plant Care

Hedychium gardnerianum (Kahili Ginger) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)