or all birds, water is essential to life. They need it daily for drinking as well as bathing. When you have the opportunity to observe wild birds in water, it is immediately evident how much they enjoy it. A simple bath looks like play, and it always appears to be a joy.
In the wild, birds get their water from
wherever they can find it… ponds, puddles, and even the cupped leaves of plants after a rain. You can bring the beauty of local and transient birds into your life when you offer them access to water near your home or apartment. If you are able to accommodate a man-made
stream or pond on your property, they will soon seek it out and return frequently. But for many individuals,
space considerations rule these out.
Fortunately, a birdbath can be installed virtually anywhere.
The most popular birdbaths are shallow basins. They
require little maintenance, and birds are comfortable in them. A shallow birdbath, or one with a gentle slope to the middle, enables them to wade in. The deepest level should not be more than three inches.
Because birds like to have secure footing, the bottom of the basin-style birdbath should not be too smooth
– textured surfaces are the most desirable. If you can add a dripper to the birdbath, it may attract even more birds, since they love moving water. Hint: place some large clean stones inside to give smaller birds safe access.
A birdbath will not be popular if it is placed in the
middle of an open yard where birds will feel vulnerable.
A wet bird cannot fly fast, and needs close cover
from predators. Instead, place your birdbath near an "escape route" – a tree, shrub, or fence where birds can take cover if startled.
Placed atop a pedestal, a birdbath offers a sense of security and stabililty. Also popular are birdbaths
designed to hang from a tree.
When positioning your birdbath, think also of yourself. Place the birdbath where you can see it from indoors… from your desk, dining room, or kitchen. To make your birdbath easy to clean and refill make sure it is within easy reach of your garden hose.
Change the water every few days, or even every day in hot weather. Dump it out or rinse it out with a strong stream from your hose. Use a bird-safe birdbath cleaner weekly to remove any debris and built-on residue.