Bird baths are a great way to attract birds to your yard and can be a decorative
addition to your landscape. The number and diversity of birds visiting will
increase and they will spend more time in your yard since they don't have to go
searching for water elsewhere. Birds that don't visit your feeders, may come
to your water basin. Robins, waxwings, wrens, swallows, bluebirds, other insect or
fruit-eating species won't come to your seed feeders, but will appreciate a nice
cool drink and bath.
Buying Guide and Tips for Bird Baths
Size: Bigger, wider, multiple tiers will attract more birds but will
take more time and effort to keep clean.
Depth: No deeper than 2-4 inches (8-10cm), preferably shallower at
edges, with a gradual slope. Most birds
don't like bathing in water above breast height.
Bottom Surface: Should be textured or rough. Slick, slippery bottoms
make birds uncomfortable just like we do walking on a wet pool bottom with bare feet.
If you purchase a bath or fountain with a smooth bottom, you can rough it up with coarse sandpaper, fill it with natural pebbles/stones/rocks or
other non-skid applications.
Placement: Away from predators. In most neighborhoods, the greatest threat is cats, dogs and raccoons. Keeping it elevated will also keep these animals and others from drinking
the water and making it dirty before the birds even get to it. If the bird bath isn't already on a
pedestal, raise it up as high off the ground as you can. Also keep it away from thick cover where
predators can hide. Next to or under a tree is ideal. The tree can provide shade to keep the water cooler and birds will have a place to perch when coming to or leaving the bath.
Sound: Moving. trickling water, like a babbling brook, stream or river attracts birds more so than
silent, stagnant water. You can get
a fountain with built-in pumps, even solar-powered, or create your own drip/trickle into the
fountain with a dripper that attaches to a hose or hang a container above
the bath and pierce tiny holes that will slowly drip into the bath throughout the
day You can line the container with cloth or something similar to slow down the
Hummingbirds: Although not common, I've
seen hummingbirds dip in and out of a small brook to bathe. They will visit your
bath, but will especially appreciate a mister that they can fly through. Being
so small, they rather fly through a mist then get into a pool of water which
makes them more vulnerable to predators.
Refill and Cleaning: Make sure you place your bath close enough so that it can be easily refilled and cleaned out with a hose. On hot days, refill at least once a day.
Use a wire brush to scrub out
any accumulated dirt or algae.
To keep your water clean in bird baths with
fountain pumps and clear and free of algae build-up there is a product called
EasyCare FounTec Algaecide and Clarifier. It's safe for birds, plants
and animals (but not fish) and easy to use. One dose
every 2 weeks during the summer, then once every four weeks during the rest of
the year. If nothing else, make sure you at least exchange stagnant water out
with fresh and remove dirt, debris and algae. Otherwise, the birds are better
off without your bird bath if it is not kept clean.
Here is a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird enjoying a dip in a bubbling bird
Thanks to Dot Morris of Taunton, MA for sending us this video. About the feeder,
Dot told us, "That is a fountain I have in my backyard that bubbles at the top.
I have one feeder in the backyard as well and two in the front yard. We have
lots of hummingbirds. This is the first year I have seen them take a bath. They
show up every morning between 5:30 - 6:00am. They take turns one at a time, I
know this because I have also seen a female taking her bath. The other morning I
had 5 eating at the same time on a feeder that has 8 holes."
Here are a couple photos Dot sent in of the male on the bird bath and a view
of the of the fountain placement.
Q: Is It Safe to Spray Paint My Bird Bath?
A: Yes, you can spray paint your birdbath. But do not use any spray paints
that are oil or petroleum based. Make sure the bird bath is completely dry
before painting. You should apply at least 2 coats, allowing each application to
dry before applying another. Krylon-brand spray paints, among others, are
non-toxic when dry. Use a clear coat spray paint as the final coat to act as a
You basically want an attractive design that blends into the landscape, attracts
birds, is easy to install and is sturdy enough to hold up to any weather
elements and not be easily knocked over.
More Info about Bird Baths:
Heater - To place inside an already existing bird bath as a de-icer to keep
water from freezing.
Bath - All-In-One units that can heat the water during the winter months.