A Rant Reader’s DIY Bird Bath

DIY terra cotta bird bath
Terra cotta bird bath on a stump.

Rant reader Dale Leeper posted the comment about his home-made bird bath in a comment to my  bird bath story, and it sounded great to me. I emailed right away asking for photos, and here they are!

Watching the video, it is apparent the bird is afraid of falling into too deep water. Unfortunately, bird baths are often made with human aesthetics in mind instead of the bird’s need. The sides are steep and slippery.

I made my birdbath from a terracotta 16-inch pot saucer. The edges are thick and provide good gripping. The bottom is flat and only a little over an inch deep. Birds have little fear of it.

I placed it on a pedestal I made from an old tree stump cut to about 3 to 4 feet. First I placed an inch of sand on the ground, tamped it down, and leveled it. On top of that a $1, 16-inch cement stepping stone from the home store. The stump sits on top of that, keeping it off the soil.

Then I put 3 galvanized screws in the top of the stump about 8 inches apart in a triangle. The screws can be screwed up or down to make them level with each other using a bubble level. Place the pot saucer on that and fill with water that will be level.

It’s easy to clean since the saucer just sits on the screws and the terracotta is heavy enough to keep it in place even if a squirrel visits.

I’ve had it for at least 10 years and the stump has not deteriorated yet.
It looks natural in the landscape, too.

DIY terra cotta bird bath
The screws are raised or lowered to keep the saucer flat.

Thanks, Dale!


  1. I agree. Foothold is critical. Birds want to feel safe at every moment. If they have a good foothold, they can push off if threatened. If I’m walking along a path with a steep drop off, I’ll stay away from the edge.

    I use ERVA products. The plastic is super easy to clean. I have to refill the water a few times a day, they’re so well used. They supply deck mounts, pole mounts and stands. I have pole mounts and stands all over my yard. They’re probably going on 20 years of use for me.


  2. Another thing to consider is placing a birdbath near shrubs or trees rather than out in the open. Birds can’t fly very well when their feathers are wet from bathing and need something close by to perch and shake off the excess water. They’re more likely to use it when they feel safe.


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