Introduction: Solar Powered Hummingbird Bird Bath
If you go on you tube and search for hummingbird bath, you can find a video of humming birds playing in a shallow pan of water with fresh water being circulated by a small pump. Try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vsXFH0YbZE Not my work but has made Wifey dear want one so she could watch the little birds skim the water and occasionally stop for a real bath. However, she didn't want a power cord stretched out the window so it needed to be solar powered.
I found a small solar powered fountain pump at harbor freight. The same model can be found on amazon and home depot. It only has about a 9 inch lift and that is probably in very bright sun. All I needed is two to three inches of lift so this is sufficient. The model has a solar panel with 16 feet of cord so the solar panel could go on the roof with the bird bath on the ground. The output of the panel is stated to be 1.5 watts at 7 votes. I expect it could be replaced with a small 6 vote lead acid if that was necessary.
Step 1: The Parts
The bird bath consists of two baking pans. A deep one to act as a water reservoir and a shallow one to act as the bird path. I added the solar powered fountain pump, a couple of washers, some 1/2 in outer diameter, 3/8 in inner diameter hose and some hose clamps. Due to the deep pan not being deep enough, I used extra hose to lift the shallow pan up a bit. This was attached with some sealant. Hopefully, the sealant will conform to the edge of the pan and stick. The nonstick coating on the shallow pan was giving me some problems. I may replace it with some self adhesive gasket. The adhesive should stick to the deep pan rim without too much trouble.
The shallow pan fits inside the deep pan and the handles keep it from falling in. Unfortunately the deep pan needed to be a little deeper as the pump was a little higher than I thought. To fix this I glued some of the hose to the bottom of the shallow pan and you will see the tape holding it in place in some of the pictures. Getting a deeper bottom pan would probably be better but wifey dear wanted it today.
Step 2: Installing the Pump Outlet
Using a 1/2 inch drill I drilled a hole in the handle of the shallow pan. Feeding some of the hose through the hole from the upper side I put the pump adapter on the hose and tightened it down with a hose clamp. The hole was a little tight so the pump is likely going to be lifted with the upper pan when removed for cleaning.
Wifey dear acted as the hand model.
Step 3: Hose Stop Installation
Stretch the hose to the other side of the pan and cut it off about 6 inches past the other side. Drill another 1/2 in hole through the bottom of the pan on that side near the edge. When the hose is pushed through this hole it will essentially be contained by the friction fit of the holes. Double the hose over and tighten a hose clamp over it to close off the end.
Step 4: Drain
To drain the water back into the lower pan, drill a hole in the shallow pan opposite the opening for the pump. Using some sealant, glue two washers over the hole. The thickness of the washers will determine how deep the water will be, assuming the pan is level.
Step 5: Final Installation
Drill some holes in the hose pointed slightly downwards. Be conservative as you don't want to blast the little birds out of the pan or lose all the water.
Place the deep pan on a surface, fill with water and put the shallow pan on top. You can see I will need to level the surface a bit but having a slight tip may be beneficial to the birds. Just make sure the water will drain back into the lower pan and not out the side.
When you get enough sun the pump will spray some water out the holes in the hose.I was able to get a couple of photos of the action. One around 1pm and another around 6pm. Both show a couple of sprays and some dripping.
Once it is leveled up and running, some decoration can be added to make it prettier. Maybe the bottom pan can be painted and some plants or moss added.