Wednesday, March 28, 2007

An Accidental Bird Bath for all the Cool Birds In Town

We started yesterday to set up a system to pipe the water from our sump pump even further away from the house (contractor only took it to the foundation wall at our request). We plan on burying and sloping the first pipe which goes out about 10', then connecting that to a slitted pipe which will be buried on top of a 12" trench of gravel, to distribute the water over a larger area.

I had a brainfart and only bought one pipe yesterday so we just have it going out from the foundation on top of the ground and ending in a stand of trees and brush and dumping the water off at the surface. I was going to get the second one and complete the project tomorrow.

But in just one day, the water coming out there has apparently become the place to see and be seen for the neighborhood birds, as a little bathing and drinking pool!! There were at least seven types of birds there in just the five minutes I was watching. If they weren't so easily startled, I'd take a pic; I'll wait until I have the time to be really really still for a long while.

Part of me is really tempted to not bother burying this drain pipe or putting in the slitted pipe, and instead just put up some feeders in the area and keep it as a surface pool. I don't think the water could get stagnant enough to be a mosquito breeding ground, because it would drain into the ground too quickly... could it?

Edited to add: Right now there is a HUGE robin with very vivid coloring (extra-long bright yellow beak and very vivid red breast, both of which I'm sure makes him very popular with the ladies) who has claimed the mini-pond as HIS, and is very aggressively chasing the other birds away if they try to come close. I guess spring has his testosterone pumped up a little high and turned him into a bird version of a macho jerk!!


Caro said...

I would put the pipe in the ground and get a bird bath. What happens if the area gets too saturated and the standing water turns into a pool that starts to take over the yard? What will you do if it freezes?

Too much water will definitely kill off the grass and shrubs in that area, and will attract things other than mosquitoes- flies, wasps, hornets. Personally, I took down our bird feeder because I hated scraping poo off the deck every day and the messy birds were inviting squirrels and cats to our yard. Not exactly the peace and tranquility I thought!

DaraQW said...

How about making it a bit less accidental? I don't see any reason not to let the birds enjoy a fairly reliable water source. At the end of our block, there's a sump-supplied puddle at the corner just off the edge of the curb. This is a source of fresh water for the birds year'round because it never completely freezes. It never gets too full because there are other places for the water to go once the depression gets full. I think if you did a little light engineering of your stand of trees and brush--maybe with some river rock or larger pea gravel--so that the water has a shallow place to stand and a channel to cause any excess to be drawn away from the house, you'd be fine. IMHO, bird baths are a PITA because you have to keep them clean or they become a vector for disease. The sump pump is a wonderful alternative because the water will be constantly replenished and won't have much chance of harboring anything.