You’ve been working hard to prepare your garden for the summer by planting all the right flora. You can now enjoy the sights of growing vegetables, flowers, and bushes. Perhaps you’ve even put up a few pieces of statuary to please the eye. But something’s missing.
If you didn’t plan your garden to attract the local birdlife, you’re missing out on adding one of the most beautiful sounds and sights nature has to offer. Even if you’ve put out a bird feeder, without a bird bath you could be missing out on some songbirds that won’t be attracted by that alone.
Buying a bird bath is a great way to attract local birds to your backyard and add a water feature to your garden. Birds can benefit from a number of its features, and you get to enjoy your feathered friends all summer long.
3 Benefits of Bird Baths
Bird baths aren’t just for people to enjoy watching birds. They also offer great benefits and can help support the quality of your area’s birdlife.
The sound of a running bird bath or even just a couple of birds splashing around in the water will call other birds to the area – including ones that may not be interested in the seeds in your feeder. The more birds in a single area the more they can mate and build nests together.
Obviously, birds need to drink. A lot of their options for water are dirty or deep. A regularly cleaned, shallow bird bath helps birds stay hydrated during the long, hot summer better than natural alternatives such as puddles which can be hard to find during droughts and freezing temperatures.
Getting a little wet makes it easier for birds to remove dirt and debris from their feathers. If there’s too much dirt there, birds’ feathers can’t properly insulate them against harsh temperatures. Water can also help remove parasites.
How to Provide a Bird Bath
The first step in how to give a bird a bath is choosing the right one. You can make a traditional choice or something more modern and functional. Either way with the proper care, birds will come for your bird bath.
Traditional bird baths are made of terra cotta or concrete. While these make attractive additions to your garden, they can be harder to clean. Concrete in particular is prone to algae growth. You should also be wary of stone and concrete if you live in a cold climate because these materials are more prone to cracking.
Plastic is an option that is easier to clean, but its faux stone appearance is not always very convincing. Instead, consider a porcelain or glass bird bath. These look like more expensive materials and are as easy to clean as a plastic bird bath.
Your bird bath should be no deeper than one to two inches deep with a gradual slope for birds to climb out of. Any shallower and it may dry up too quickly, but if it’s deeper, birds may not be able to bathe in it the way they would in a puddle. If you’re worried about birds of different sizes all enjoying your bird bath, you can provide rocks in different areas of the bath to change the depth.
The diameter of your bird bath is up to you depending on what you think will look best in your garden.
Place your bird bath in the shade. Any small plants like algae will grow more quickly in your bird bath if it receives direct sunlight.
Some more expensive baths come with a running water feature. If your bird bath is in a less accessible part of your backyard, this may be a good option for you if you don’t want to worry about getting to it for cleaning. The sound will also contribute to attracting more birds.
Bird Bath Care
Once you’ve chosen a bird bath, you need to maintain it. A poorly maintained bird bath won’t attract birds and can even be a hazard to them and your family.
It is of the utmost importance that you keep your bird bath clean for proper bird care. Not only will wild birds often avoid dirty water, but it can also make you and them very sick with illnesses such as West Nile Virus.
Change the water in your bird bath regularly. Scrub with gentle, diluted cleaners to remove the layer of algae that may be starting to accumulate at the bottom. Before replacing the water, thoroughly wash out any cleaners that you used as they can be harmful to birds’ health.
How to Prevent Freezing
If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, you’ll have to find a way to avoid your bird bath freezing. Birds won’t be attracted to frozen water, and you could end up with a cracked bird bath at the start of the next season.
Of course, you can always remove the water and move it indoors for the duration of the winter, but many birds stay active even during the colder months and still desire a place to drink and clean.
You can try putting a light ball in the bird bath. The slight movement of the breeze will keep the ball moving which will stop the water from freezing over. You can also try a polythene sheet to easily lift frozen water out to be replaced daily.
If you’re willing to invest in your local songbirds, there are bird bath heaters that use solar energy to warm the water and prevent freezing.
Beautiful Birds in Your Own Backyard
With the right bath and proper care, you’ll be amazed by the beautiful birds that come flocking to your yard. And you can feel good knowing that you did something helpful for your bird population.
Did you love learning about the functional and decorative sides of a bird bath? Want to know more about how you can make your garden even better? Check out our articles in the Home and Gardening category.