Water is the key element to attracting birds into your landscape
Water will draw birds into your yard for bathing and drinking. Birds rely on a dependable water source to survive. Birdbaths are a decorative way to draw in wild birds, creating an ornamental feature for your setting at the same time. A birdbath, in conjunction with bird feeder and homes, is the perfect way to attract birds!
The best birdbaths to choose are small and shallow baths that actually mimic naturally forming “bird baths”, like puddles. These are the best type because they are not too deep, as some cast stone birdbaths can be. Also, glazed birdbaths are a concern, as they are often too slippery. Look for a bath that is easy to clean and will not break easily. Make sure it has a gentle slope and is shallow so birds can wade into the water and bathe safely.
Birds prefer baths that are at ground level
However, this also creates safety issues for our feathered friends. If a birds feathers get too wet they cannot fly off if danger approaches. The biggest risk to ground level bird baths is cats. If there are cats that ravel around in your neighborhood, you may want to consider placing the bath in place near bushes or trees so the birds can easily escape to safety. They should also be placed in the shade, as direct sunlight can cause the water to warm and grow stale. It may even be a good idea to set some small stones or gravel in the bath to provide for more secure footing. This creates a place to stand that is not directly in the water.
Birdbaths do not need to be put away in the winter
In fact, birds need the reliable water source all year long! You can consider including a heating element to your fountain, but ice will not deter the birds from drinking. Birds are able to garner water from ice, icicles, and even snow. In the winter, consider placing large rocks in the basin, or long sticks over the bath to prevent the birds from bathing in freezing temperatures, allowing them to only drink.
Many birdbaths come with temperature controlled settings. Or you can consider and immersion heater for your existing birdbath. Just be sure to never add antifreeze to your birdbath, as this is poisonous, and can kill the birds. If they bath in this substance it can cause matting of there wings, not allowing them to fly, causing hypothermia and death as well.
For the winter months, do not keep the bath totally full. However, fill the birdbath often, especially in the summer, as the heat can cause evaporation. It is also a good idea to change the water frequently; this keeps it fresh and clean, and curbs the growth of algae in the bath. It will also keep mosquitoes from laying their larvae in the baths. If any of these substances do begin to grow, the bath will need emptied and thoroughly cleaned with running water and a stiff brush. Changing the water daily will also keep the bath free of bird dropping or dirty feathers that result from the birds.
Birdbaths are a great way to draw in the local wildlife and with a little extra care and maintenance can be used all year long. This will keep the birds in your setting, because they have a constant supply of water! Posted by Jean Widner.