Are fountains too large and expensive to buy? Maybe you want something more portable, or something that holds more water, a statement piece for the yard, or something easy and so cheap you won’t be mad if it breaks. Whatever the reason, there is a DIY hummingbird bath idea out there for you. Once you know what qualities hummingbirds are looking for in a bathing and drinking area, you can create a perfect design for them. We’ve gathered some great tutorials for DIY hummingbird baths, whether you want something easy or requiring a little elbow grease.
Top tips for your DIY hummingbird fountain
- There needs to be an element of shallow water. So shallow that it is barely a centimeter deep. Hummingbirds will not splash around and bathe in deep water like other birds.
- Hummingbirds don’t like stagnant water. All of these DIY baths contain a fountain, and the reason is hummingbirds prefer moving water.
- The water can be showering and spraying, or gentle and bubbling.
- Hummingbirds really like wet rocks. The texture of rocks is great for gripping with their feet and for rubbing against to scrub feathers.
1. The DIY Rock Fountain
This could not be simpler. It’s a bowl with a pump. You can dress this up or down, stay simple or get fancy. Put it out on your garden or on a table top.
What you need:
- A bowl: Probably not more than 5 inches deep. You want something that will fit the pump and some fist-sized rocks. This shape works well, but anything with a bit of a rim is fine.
- Submersible pump: either solar powered or electric (plug).
- Some rocks: about fist sized
- Place the pump in the center of your bowl
- Arrange the rocks in a circle around the pump.
- Add water, enough to cover the pump except for the top of the nozzle, and make sure the tops of the rocks are above the waterline.
- Place the bowl wherever you want. If you are using a solar pump, make sure the solar panel is in a spot with direct sun, and you’re done!
Here is a tutorial video from the lovely Robbie (Robbie and Gary Gardening Easy on Youtube).
2. The DIY Bucket Bath
This bath uses the same idea as the bowl fountain above, but lets you increase the amount of water so that you don’t have to refill it daily. By using a bucket as the water “reservoir”, then creating a simple top piece as your fountain, you can go a whole week without having to refill!
- 5 gallon bucket for the reservoir. Or any 3-5 gallon or above sized container (such as a large planter pot with NO drain holes).
- For the top piece, a plastic chip and dip tray for a fountain effect or just use the lid of the bucket for a more “splash pad” effect.
- Submersible pump – either solar powered or electric (plug).
- Tubing: enough to run from the top to the bottom of your bucket/container. You can find this at hardware or aquarium stores. Bring your pump with you for sizing, make sure the tubing fits snug on the pump outflow and any nozzle attachments you will be using.
- Something to make holes in the plastic. If you have drill bits that could work. The woman in the tutorial video uses a small soldering iron to melt through the plastic easily. This one has great reviews and is pretty inexpensive.
Here are the basic steps, followed up by a tutorial video. One you catch on to the basic idea, you can let your creativity run wild with your own designs!
- Cut your tube to size (to reach from the top of the bucket to the bottom. Doesn’t have to be exact, leave a little slack for “wiggle room”.
- Place the tube facedown on your lid/topper piece, in the center. Using a marker trace around the tube. This is the size of the hole you need to cut to thread the tube through.
- At various points in your top piece, drill small holes. These holes will allow the water to drain back into the bucket. Small holes are best to avoid getting debris and bugs in your bucket. You will probably need 5-8 holes but you can start low and adjust later. Just make sure to place them where they will drain into the bucket.
- Place the pump inside the bucket, attach the tubing, and thread the tubing up through the lid hole, and voila!
- Decorate as you see fit! You can paint the bucket (non-toxic paint). Add some stones (don’t cover your drain holes) for the birds to stand on. Group stones around the water nozzle for more cascading.
Here is the tutorial video by Robbie for a “chip and dip” top bucket fountain. Click here for her tutorial on using the bucket lid.
3. DIY Concrete Ball Fountain
Hummingbirds love a sphere shaped fountain. It combines a gentle burble of water they can dip into and drink from, with a thin sheet of water running over a hard surface that they feel comfortable sitting on and rolling around in. Buying one of these fountains can get pretty expensive, especially if you want one made out of stone and not plastic. But you can DIY one yourself out of concrete and it might be easier than you think.
Step by Step instructions can be found on this page.
4. DIY Hummingbird Splash Pad
If you really want to take your DIY to the next level, try your hand at this splash pad design from the Home Stories blog. I think it’s an interesting design idea that you can customize in many ways. A shallow tray creates the perfect water depth while the tubing gives the spray and moving water the enjoy. Decorate with stones, aquarium pieces, faux plants, anything you like!
5. DIY “Disappearing Water” Fountains
If you want to try your hand at a more decorative fountain that you put together yourself, but also don’t want to try and figure out what pieces are going to work and buying everything separately, a kit might be perfect for you. This Aquascape Rippled Urn Landscape Fountain Kit contains all the pieces you need to put together a fountain. You bury a basin that acts as the reservoir for the fountain, connect the vase on top and the water pumps up through a tube out the top of the vase then trickles back down into the ground, emptying back into the basin. This is a great decor piece for the yard and hummingbirds would enjoy the flat top and cascading water.
I hope this gave you some ideas of the many ways you can DIY your own hummingbird baths. Use these designs to get your imagination going and come up with your own creations. Leave a comment and share your DIY successes with us!