Here at Garden-fountains.com we have discussed the value of adding a birdbath to your garden setting. Birdbaths are not only decorative but they are practical as well. There are lots of different styles to choose from so we pulled together the answers to some of your FAQ’s on bird baths.
Before you buy
What type of material should they be made of?
Birdbaths can be made of cast stone, fiberglass, ceramic or any other material that will hold water. Consider your climate and surroundings. Also consider any requirements for movability, access and safety from animals or children.
How do the birds actually use a birdbath?
Birds use a birdbath for both drinking as well as bathing and preening their feathers. Also birds sometimes just like to frolic in them. That can be one benefit of getting a fountain or ‘recycling birdbath’ as they are sometimes called. One example of that is this Portwenn Fountain shown here.
How deep should a birdbath be?
The National Audubon Society recommends an average depth of 1-3 inches deep. A 2-inch bath is suited to Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays and other larger species. Smaller songbirds prefer only about a 1-inch depth. If your bath is deeper, place small stones in it to provide some variance to the depth.
Where should I put the birdbath?
Choose a level area that is safe from other traffic around the yard. Let it be a focal point to attract attention to it. Place other plantings around it to both shelter it from unintended collisions and also let the foliage give the birds other places to rest. But also be sure you have easy access to refill it quickly and keep it clean.
After you set up
What if the birds don’t use it?
Keep an eye out for the birds you have already in your area. Watch if they are using it for drinking or bathing and how large they are. If it is deeper and you don’t see them using it, then add some stones to it. If the bath is in full sun, consider moving it to a shady area, such as under a tree. Be sure you keep fresh water in it.
How do I keep it clean?
The goal is to help you keep the birdbath beautiful for a very long time. If you clean it regularly, then there won’t be much need for scrubbing or heavy work. Do not add harsh chemicals such as bleach to the bath to kill the algae. This will also harm the birds. There are water clarifiers available in most pet stores and pet departments. However, frequent water changes and bath cleanings as a way to prevent algae growth. If your bath does become heavily soiled then use a small amount of mild detergent and bleach with a sponge or brush. Then be sure to rinse it thoroughly to get rid of all chemical residue and refill it with fresh water.
What about during the winter?
Birds need water for everyday survival, drinking, bathing, cooling off. They do these activities year round, so there are some solutions to keeping your birdbath out all year long, even in cold wintery climates. There are products like deicers that will rest in the birdbath and prevent the water from freezing and damaging it. De-icers are safe for concrete, plastic, and pottery birdbaths. You may also want to consider a solar powered birdbath; it relies on the power of the sun to keep it heated.
Bringing a birdbath into your setting is a wonderful way to bring nature into your setting, while adding a beautiful accent. It also encourages your favorite feathery friends to come back to visit time and time again!
Posted by Jean Widner of the Garden-Fountains.com Team.