A bird bath is a great way to add beauty and interest to your yard, while also attracting a variety of lovely wild birds to your home.
Unlike a bird feeder, a bath doesn’t attract squirrels and other unwanted rodents, and it provides a very important feature for the birds. Birds who can’t keep their feathers clean lose much of the insulating power of their feathers.
Here are some things to look for when buying a bird bath that will ensure that your bath is successful at attracting birds and easy to maintain.
Think About What Birds Need in a Birdbath
In summer and in winter, birds need to be able to flush dirt and debris from between their feathers, in order to keep themselves clean, to remove tiny mites and parasites, and to repair and keep their feathers in good condition to provide maximum insulation in cold weather. Having water available to bathe in is important in winter as well as in the warmer months.
For this reason, a heated bird bath is a very nice feature, especially if you live in a colder climate. Birds often have trouble finding appropriate places to bathe when the water freezes, and your heated bird bath can be an oasis of warmth for your feathered friends.
It should be no more than 3 inches in depth in the center. If you purchase a birdbath that is too deep then place some clean rocks in it to build up the center.
Make sure the bottom isn’t slippery, so if you buy a glazed birdbath then make sure it has a rough interior to give the birds secure footing. One thing you can do if your birdbath has a slippery interior is put some non-skid stickers in the bottom. The ones that are sold to stop people slipping in the bath are ideal.
There are a number of different types of birdbaths, some with drippers for birds such as hummingbirds who prefer to fly through drips rather than splash in a puddle.
Then there are solar powered units that use the power of the sun so that there isn’t any need for you to use electricity. Just set the bird bath in place and add water which will recirculate from a hidden reservoir.
Take Care Where You Locate Your Bird Bath
Another thing you need to consider when placing your birdbath in the garden is to make sure it is located away from the feeding station. Having seeds and droppings fall into the birdbath will soon soil the water. It is best to change the water every few days, and even more often in hot weather. Give the bird bath a good scrub whenever algae forms, to keep it clean and the water fresh.
Which Birds Will Your Bird Bath Attract
Another thing to consider when buying your bird bath is the kind of birds that will be using it. Most people want to attract songbirds, which are small birds. The size of the birds that will visit your bath has a large influence on the size that you’ll choose. Birds can drown if a bath is too deep, and they generally don’t like to be in water deeper than half their body height. If your bird bath is too deep, it won’t be successful at attracting birds
The Texture of Your Bird Bath
Birds’ feet and talons are well adapted to tree bark and other rough surfaces, but they have trouble with surfaces that are very smooth. A smooth texture on the inside of your bath might look appealing, but it will be very difficult (and perhaps even dangerous) for birds to navigate. If you fall in love with a smooth-textured bird bath, however, you can make it easier on the birds by adding a layer of small stones and pebbles to the bottom of the basin to give the birds more traction.
Protection and Safety of Your Feathered Friends
While you might think of a bird bath as a place where birds can frolic and play, your neighborhood cats and other predators could well think of it as a convenient place to stop for a quick bite if you do not consider the safety of your bird bath. Placing the bath near trees, shrubs, and other forms of shelter for the birds can help, but the greatest protection comes from choosing a bird bath that is elevated a good distance from the ground. A bird bath with a basin on a high pedestal, or which can be suspended from your home’s eaves or a sturdy tree branch, is a good choice.
Think About Maintaining Your Bird Bath
Remember that a bird bath cannot simply be filled and then ignored. Water left on its own will quickly become stagnant, which can make it a breeding ground for mosquitoes as well as an unhealthy environment for birds. When considering which bird bath to buy, think about how easy it will be to clean and replace the water. There are treatment systems that you can buy to keep the water in your bird bath safe for longer stretches of time. Before selecting one, however, be sure that it is safe for wildlife. Remember that your feathered friends will be drinking from the bath as well as playing in it.
Your Birdbath and Your Style
Finally, you’ll want to consider how the bird bath will fit in with the overall style of your garden or outdoor living area. Bird baths come in a wide variety of styles, ranging from inexpensive plastic to artistic designs that combine copper and steel or ceramic in beautiful colors to running fountains that add the soothing sound of music to your garden or patio.
In order to pick which bird bath is perfect for your home, consider where you will put it – on a porch or patio, by the pool, or in the midst of your lovely garden? Then consider the colors and overall style that appears to you the most. Do you want the classical look of a marble basin, or a bird bath with a more modern feel?
By considering these factors, you can select a bird bath that will lift your heart as it draws playful songbirds to your home, while adding beauty and focus to your patio, garden, or front lawn. Then its time to sit back and enjoy watching your feathered friends frolic in the water.