Making a Hummingbird Water and Bathing Tray Out of a Cookie Sheet

I saw a video of Hummingbirds flying though a spray of water that was made out of a large oil pan. I knew immediately that I wanted to make one for the hummingbirds that take up residence in the tree in my front yard. I wanted the bathing tray to be located very close to where the hummingbird feeders hang. I asked my hubby if he would help me on this project. I wanted the bathing tray to be mounted on the tree instead of a table. I wanted it out of the way of the lawn mower. So my husband sat down and sketched out how he wanted to build it.
You will need wood for the boards, cookie sheet, piping for the spray bar, a bucket or container or the water flow, fountain pump, brackets if mounting onto tree, screws, conduit fittings and spray paint.
The first board was cut to 15 1/2 by 24 inches.
Used four shelf brackets - two for the top board that will hold the water tray, and two brackets for the bottom board that will hold the bucket.
Mount board on brackets. The top board needs to be off level to drain water correctly.
½ inch PVC Pipe and fittings to make spray bar. Measure and cut to fit pan. I used a large cookie sheet.
Mount spray bar to cookie sheet with 1/2 inch electrical conduit hangers.
Used 80 - 155 Gallon per hour fountain pump with flow adjustment on pump. I bought mine at Lowe's.
Used 3/8 plastic clear tubing to connect from pump to the spray bar.
Used 1/8 inch drill bit for spray bar. The number of holes can be your choice. Spacing is three inches apart on my bar.
Cut a V groove into top board for pan drain hole clearance.
The drain hole diameter needs to be matched to the pump output so the water does not overflow from pan. Start by using a small drill bit, and if you have spillage over the pan, then go up a drill bit size. It took three different sizes of drill bits to make the correct sized hole.
Arrange bottom shelf to allow the pan to drain back into bucket.
Rotate the spray bar to get desired spray effect.
I painted the boards red, added rocks and a silk flower to the water tray to attract the hummingbirds. Hope the hummers can't resist the sound of running water, and come take their bath in the water tray. I can't wait for the hummers to return to the tree in my front yard this year!.

Frequently asked questions

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  25 questions
  • Mars Mars on Apr 12, 2016
    So, have the hummers tried it yet?

    • Sarah M Sarah M on Apr 12, 2016
      Not as yet....my hummers haven't arrived as yet. Can't wait!

    • Denise Denise on Apr 12, 2016
      My hummingbirds have arrived here in Lubbock, Texas. So hopefully yours will be there soon!!

    • Angie Fletcher Angie Fletcher on Apr 12, 2016
      Thanks for sharing. I got married in Carthage. Lots of family there and need to go visit.

    • Sharon McCleary Sharon McCleary on Apr 13, 2016
      Praying Mantis eat them. See youtube. Sad...

    • Patty Patty on Apr 13, 2016
      Your little hummers are going to love that and you will have so much fun watching them. I have a mister that I turn on for them 2-3 times a day for mine and I just love watching them. Do you have the ruby throat hummers, and do you get any other kind?

    • Sarah M Sarah M on Apr 15, 2016
      We have Ruby throat hummers.

    • Isabel Muniz-Alkins Isabel Muniz-Alkins on May 14, 2016
      Love the idea

    • Susan Dooley Susan Dooley on May 31, 2016
      We live in Portland Oregon & the hummers are at my mom's place year round. Have even seen them on Christmas Day

    • Jac372952 Jac372952 on May 31, 2016
      Just set this up today.

    • Jeri Jeri on Jun 13, 2016
      @Jaccis...love this! We are neighbors too! We are off Collins and Blanding right down the road!!

    • Angie Angie on Jun 13, 2016
      I have a small solar sprinkler that I put in my bird bath. They just love it!!

    • Isl9609972 Isl9609972 on Sep 15, 2016
      I like that idea! Karen, Escanaba, MI U.P.

    • Robbie Robbie on Mar 29, 2017
      I'm going to build one of these, But I'm going to paint the Tray Red First.

  • Carol Carol on Apr 12, 2016
    Wonderful idea but so complicated to make. Is there a way to accomplish the same goal more simply?

    • C C on Apr 12, 2016
      @Carol you can get small fountain pumps that spray up water and set one up in almost anything, a large shallow bowl set in a planter, anything that is somewhat shallow in the water depth. Put rocks around pump to hide it and lay some on bottom of vessel for them to sit on.

    • Cjones2815 Cjones2815 on Apr 12, 2016
      @C I have two such fountains and the hummers love it! They almost seem to fly through the water then perch and shake to dry off.

    • Sarah M Sarah M on Apr 12, 2016
      @C Carol, she is absolutely right...you can buy a small pump and place it in any container as long as the pump is covered with water. They have the little spray tops for the water to spray from, so that is all you would need.

    • Carol Carol on Apr 14, 2016
      Thank you!

  • Kat Busby Kat Busby on Jun 13, 2016
    Does this bath work for all birds or just hummingbirds? We love our tiny hummingbirds and put up feeders for them, but we also put seed out for the songbirds.

    • Sarah M Sarah M on Jul 25, 2016
      I haven't had any humming birds take to it, but I've seen a Cardinal stand in it a few times. I'm not sure if its the running water that is discouraging the birds or not. I am currently doing an experiment to see if this is the case. I turned the pump to the lowest setting so the water barely comes out of the holes in the pipe.. the water runs gently into the tray instead of spraying water in an arch.. I will post my findings after a week or so.

    • Dawn Dawn on Sep 15, 2016
      I have read that hummers prefer a mist instead of a stream of water, so you might have better luck with other songbirds coming to this fountain.

    • Lin Dedekian Lin Dedekian on Oct 04, 2016
      Tiny holes and enough pressure to create a mist should work!! Best of luck!!

    • Dennis Dennis on Oct 24, 2016
      Yes I've seen on a few different documentaries that Hummingbirds prefer to "shower" rather than sit in a bath. That being said, I will be working on a misting shower for my little babies!

    • Liz E Liz E on Oct 27, 2016
      Check in the drip irrigation section of your home improvement store - they probably have a spray emitter that will work with this setup.

    • P P on Jan 10, 2017
      Hummingbirds nest in pine or evergreen trees, and they don't tolerate bees. They also prefer to have a watersource that is not in a windy location, they have to flap their wings constantly and wind makes it very difficult to fly. I would recommend get a potted evergreen close to the feeder and a hanging basket, with a pink and purple fushia plant. Food,

    • Susan Allen Susan Allen on Jul 11, 2018

      On very hot days (90+) I hang the garden hose with a nozzle that has a mist setting. The hummers seem to love it, they arrive "en mas". Our hummers seem to love the wind and the rain.

  • Kat Busby Kat Busby on Jun 13, 2016
    This may be the wrong place to ask, but does anyone have tricks for discouraging the grackles? They try to chase off our songbirds and hog the seed...

    • Sarah M Sarah M on Jun 13, 2016
      Hi Kat, not sure this will help, but I got this information online: Getting Rid of Grackles is a challenge, but with the right blend of psychology and bird control products, grackles can be controlled: 1. Make access to the area impossible. Bird Netting is an immediate and obvious solution, especially for small backyard crops, because it produces a barrier that grackles cannot permeate. however may not be feasible for very large crops. 2. Make the area threatening. Electronic devices, including the Version 2 versions of the BirdXPeller PRO (1 unit covers up to 1 acre) and Super BirdXPeller PRO (1 unit covers up to 6 acres), are extremely effective against grackles, as well as blackbirds and crows. Naturally-recorded predator sounds create the illusion that the area is not safe - but these birds pick up on patterns quickly, so be certain to follow all directions and keep the device settings on random intervals to keep the grackles guessing. 3. Make crops or other food sources taste bad. Taste aversions such as Bird Stop are also very popular solutions for crops, such as berries and other fruit. By making their food source taste bad, grackles are likely to search elsewhere. - See more at: https://www.bird-x.com/grackle-pages-279.php#sthash.yLMYl7yL.dpuf

    • Mai6339302 Mai6339302 on Aug 02, 2016
      We also had problems with Grackles but have pretty much elimated them from commin around. TWhen I researched these birds I found they do not like sharp noises so when they were around we shot a gun. A few times of this and they don't come arround. The other birds flew away when it went off but quickly returned to the feeders. Now, when we see a grackle a quick shout or a lod crack sends them away. Usually they send a couple of scouts to see if they should bring they entire flock and if you can frighten the s"scouts" the flock never comes. We rarely have Grackles now.

    • TERRY F TERRY F on Aug 03, 2016
      Interesting Mainlinebluegrass ...... Do you think that scaring the blackbird scouts away it may keep the remainder of the gang(flock) from invading our feeders?

    • Mai6339302 Mai6339302 on Aug 04, 2016
      Not blackbirds, Grackles only.

    • Sue Sue on Sep 19, 2016
      Grackles do not like safflower seed. I use small feeders that they cannot stand on, and feed safflower seed and thistle.

    • Sherry Wainscott Sherry Wainscott on Oct 01, 2016
      Safflower seed works for me!

    • Joh7772173 Joh7772173 on Feb 26, 2017
      In Southern AZ, I moved the bird feeders to a fence closer to the house, and near a window. No more Grackles. I am surmising that they don't like humans. Not sure why they don't come around, but ..............

    • Msh15816837 Msh15816837 on Feb 26, 2017
      I had the same problem so I just put out one kind of seeds at a time. I found that they don't like safflower seeds and thistle but the song birds love them. No more of the pesky black birds.

    • Susan Allen Susan Allen on Jul 11, 2018

      First sighting of the grackles and starlings each year, I knock on the window pane from inside the house. If that doesn't work, I open the window and shout "shoo". After doing this two or three times, when one bird shows up, just a tap-tap and off they go. My husband has a shotgun shell that goes off with a "pfffftttt" and then seconds later a huge, very loud, bang. Scares everything in the entire area! (This tactic may be illegal almost everywhere. We live out in the boondocks. This does help us with the hundreds of seagulls that congregate on the pier. We live on a very large river and the gulls can turn a pier into such a mess we are unable to use it, especially when the grandchildren are here,) I like my way much better anyway! When the tap-tap and "shoo" become effective, I can even use my fingers in a "piano scale" sound ever so lightly and off they fly.

  • Bay8640909 Bay8640909 on Jul 17, 2016
    Did this tray work? Any video? Thx

    • Sarah M Sarah M on Jul 18, 2016
      So far none of the hummers that feed from my feeders have used it. I have a red Cardinal that likes to stand in the middle of it, and that's perfectly fine by me...haha...

    • Susan Susan on Feb 27, 2017
      I think they might like more of a mister - the bigger birds will LOVE this... have you noticed that hummers are attracted to sprinklers - because of the mist...?

  • Young Young on Feb 26, 2017
    How do you furnish electric for the pump?

  • Turk Edwards Turk Edwards on Feb 26, 2017
    Is the lower shelf board the same size as the upper one? It appears in the picture to be a little longer!

    • Susan Susan on Feb 26, 2017
      it could be different - doesn't matter unless you want perfect symmetry... then cut yours the same size. The tree might make it harder to fit exactly the same size board for both. It just needs to hold your tray and the other holds a bucket/pump.

  • Christine Christine on Feb 26, 2017
    Won't the tray get covered in bugs, etc. ??

    • Susan Susan on Feb 26, 2017
      probably not any more than a bird FEEDER or bird bath... I have to clean mine every couple of months. Moving water helps keep it clean.

    • Christine Christine on Feb 26, 2017
      Ok, that makes sense. I'm making one.

    • Susan Axsom Curtis Susan Axsom Curtis on Mar 02, 2017
      Is the spray a mist? It looks like it would knock the hummers over.

    • M. M.. M. M.. on Mar 05, 2017
      The birds are pretty nimble at flying through the heavier drops. I think I'd make mine more misty, but that might change pressure/pump choices..

  • Jan16130679 Jan16130679 on Feb 27, 2017
    what is the water source for the pump? Is it the bucket? Thanks!

    • Susan Susan on Feb 27, 2017
      yes - the water moves over the tray and drips BACK into the bucket - recirculates via the pump . Evaporation will necessitate adding water every so often especially in hot weather.

  • YLDesigns YLDesigns on Feb 27, 2017
    Does the water recycle into the bucket? and back onto the pan?

    • Alice Arterburn Alice Arterburn on Mar 05, 2017
      See the response below, the water is recycled. You would need to replenish/refresh due to evaporation.

  • M. M.. M. M.. on Mar 05, 2017
    can you lift the tray and dump it, scrub it, etc.?

    • Melvin T. Roo Melvin T. Roo on Mar 15, 2017
      Looking at the design....I would think you could just use a sponge and wipe out the tray while the pump is still going and it would rinse whatever you're cleaning and it would go into the bucket. Stop the pump..... dump out the bucket, rinse and refill and turn the pump back on. Just a great idea. Thank you

    • Jeannie Parker Jeannie Parker on Apr 07, 2017
      Do u put you nectar water in this or just plain water

    • Lise Lise on Jun 08, 2018

      THe hammers need fresh water to wash the sticky nectar off their plumage.

  • M. M.. M. M.. on Mar 05, 2017
    Now that you've had it up for a while, does it attract neighborhood cats, etc.? Have you seen many birds?

  • Michael Thornton Michael Thornton on Mar 22, 2017
    the connection or fitting at the end of the plastic tube that connects to the pipe what is it and where do you get it?? thanks, Mike

  • Karen Bridges Eicher Karen Bridges Eicher on Apr 22, 2017
    How wonderful !!! Since I cannot run electric out to the area where I want to place a fountain of this sort, I am wondering if I can rig up a similar set up with a solar powered pump ?

    • Lisa McLeroy Lisa McLeroy on May 02, 2017
      Probably, if the solar array has an adequate amount of full sunshine.

  • Lisa McLeroy Lisa McLeroy on May 02, 2017
    Being outside, would you think an in-line filter (prior to the pump) would be appropriate for this arrangement?

  • Bryant Snedeker Bryant Snedeker on Jun 13, 2017
    how is the pump powered? by plugging into house by extension cord or by something else?

  • Bryant Snedeker Bryant Snedeker on Jun 13, 2017
    how is the pump powered? by plugging into house by extension cord or by something else?

    • Marty Potts Marty Potts on Jun 14, 2017
      Extension cord to the house or outside plug in.

    • Scarlett Stevens Walker Scarlett Stevens Walker on Jul 29, 2017
      I used an extension cord with a pond pump and just dug a shallow trench to bury the extension cord. Worked well.

  • Paula Pittinger McNeely Paula Pittinger McNeely on Jul 25, 2017
    doesn't the water in the tray & metal bucket get too hot for the tiny 'helicopters'?

    • Barb Cercone Barb Cercone on Jul 28, 2017
      No, mine doesn't, with the heat and evaporation you add water every other day

  • Martha O'Brian Martha O'Brian on Aug 01, 2017
    Do you find rain affects your set up? Here in Texas we can get an awful lot of rain. For instance last month, we were getting heavy afternoon showers everday for 2 weeks straight.

  • Michelle Michelle on Sep 26, 2017
    Is there any way you could get a specific list of what fitting you used from the pump to the top... tubing size pvc each of those connectors 90,s and T.... I see it but need to know what to ask for at the hardware store. I have the exact pump... Thank🤗

    • Brett Mathe Brett Mathe on Sep 24, 2019

      Did you ever figure out what fitting that was to connect the pump tubing to the 1/2" pvc?

  • Sandy Sandy on Jan 29, 2018
    I noticed your set up is away from the house. Where is the electrical connection for the pump?

  • Kat29467025 Kat29467025 on Mar 15, 2018

    Did you try adding a mister to your PVC or separately?

  • Gloria Sukut Gloria Sukut on Jun 02, 2018

    Does the pan rust? Gloria from south dakota

  • Sandra smith Sandra smith on Jul 07, 2019

    Hummingbirds are not attracted to the color red so any color will work. The red dye in the food they drink is harmful to them. One cup of sugar to four cups of water. Boil then let cool. The red attraction is a Myth

  • Sharon Mackey Sharon Mackey on Jun 24, 2020

    Where did you plug in your pump?

Comments

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  • Aiokersonalicea1 Aiokersonalicea1 on Mar 24, 2019

    Usually the hummingbirds are spring and summer when it comes to the water.

    If they stick around during the winter and you keep your feeders. That's reason why they're around. Our hummingbirds will not use the bird bath until spring and summer.

  • Tammy Tammy on Feb 16, 2020

    Please post a video this spring of them actually using it! I love hummingbirds and would love to see them in action! Thanks for the wonderful idea.

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