The other day, I ran into a problem draining a pool filled with old water. Siphoning it off with an old garden hose would be easy, but I didn't really want to use my lungs to start it. There were bird feathers floating in the water.
So I started it from the other end. I just used a second garden hose (hooked up to a spigot). I held both hoses together under the water and filled the siphon tube up with running water. Then I separated the hoses underwater. The momentum of the running water will be enough to continue the siphon.
That way at least, you aren't greeted at the other end, by a face full of old bird-bath water. :)