You don't have to rig up a pump or buy any fountain equipment (although if you'd like to, follow our step-by-step guide to building a recirculating fountain here) to bring birds to your garden. Adding a water feature to your garden can be as simple as filling a bowl with water and placing it outside.
The shallow bowl below is only 8 inches across and made from carmel-colored hypertufa studded with colorful pieces of sea glass and pottery. Filled to the brim with water, it makes a pretty accent in the Sunset Test Garden and offers a source of water for birds and pollinators (particularly important in these dry times). We've watched chickadees, goldfinches, golden crown sparrows, and honeybees pause to take a drink from the small basin.
If you build it, they will come. Give the birds a few days to find the water source and determine it's safe. Then, keep the bowl full of water, topping it off when the level runs low.