No new plastic, continued. And Water for Wildlife.

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 | 3 comments

Pottery water dish in blue back when things were green...

Pottery water dish in blue back when things were green...

As I wrote in the last post, one of my farm lessons this year is to avoid plastic farm buckets, well, except when it’s hard to replace or it’s what you have already... Still, my commitment to metal, wood, stone, pottery and concrete is growing. As the plastic stuff breaks or cracks (set your watch!) I’m transitioning to metal and concrete to hold water. The plastic wildlife dishes—which I already had and will use till they wear out—are changing to the concrete birdbath tops you can find at Lowe’s. (Like the photo below, from a previous post on providing water to wildlife.)

I’d love to make some my own wildlife bowls from concrete too…<nudge to Liz here>  I would shape them with the very shallow and sloping sides that the bees love on one old birdbath shown below. They love it because even when the water level goes down, they can still reach it from the safety of dry concrete. A bee can drown in just about anything, but with this design they can climb out to safety, unlike a steep or slick side. It’s so popular we call it the bee-beach and we had to add another bath for the birds the bees displaced from that one!  No, the bees do not like birds on their beach and will make that known.

The birds love the rough concrete texture and shallow pool too as it makes for safe footing while bathing. With such a shallow dish, you have to refill often, but that works to eliminate mosquitos since if you ignore it you will have a dry bowl in about 48 hours. Not that you would let it go dry since everything needs water now.  The queue to every bird dish we have is several birds deep on many hot afternoons.

Even with deeper wildlife dishes, as long as you dump and refill every 5 days or so, you’ll never raise any mosquitos since they take 7 days to mature… If you are just starting to provide water for wildlife, remember to have containers at ground level as well as traditional birdbaths. There are many critters that can’t drink from an elevated birdbath…like rabbits, turtles, skinks, lizards, etc.  (But nix all this info if you have free roaming cats—you don’t want to lure wild creatures to their death.)

Keeping fresh, accessible and safe water sources in many areas around Larrapin has increased the bird and wildlife more than any other single thing we’ve done. How do you provide water for wildlife in your garden?

—A Larrapin Garden
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  1. Excellent points about providing just the right shape, size and level for birdbaths~I just noticed a neighbors cat in the garden~So there goes the ground watering hole idea! gail

  2. Hey Leigh! Ben from the Black Mountains. In Charleston, SC now and sure miss those mountains. Still loving your blog. Hope all things are well with the fam! This area looks really fine.

  3. The concrete waterers are great!

    After hearing so much about the lovely birds you get to view with your water baths, I was finally ready to get my own! Then you mentioned free roaming cats. We have a bit of a feral cat issue that my neighbors propagate. So, I guess I will have to stick to feeders on poles.

    Btw, the porch looks so pretty and colorful!