Water is an important requirement when attracting birds. Many birds eat insects and berries, and will not visit your bird seed feeders for food. But all birds will visit your bird bath for bathing and drinking. Having an open source of clean, fresh water is a year-round requirement for birds, especially during the winter. Care should be taken to make sure the water is clean for the birds year-round, as well as free from ice during the winter.
A water supply is a great way to attract birds to your yard along with a supply of food. Birds need water for drinking, bathing, and to dunk their food. Birdbaths come in a variety of different styles and are constructed from several different types of materials. They can be made from concrete, ceramic, metal, plastic or wood. You can purchase birdbaths that are pedestals, hanging, or deck mounted. Other items such as garbage can lids and water trays off planters can be used for a birdbath. Birdbaths can be used to help accent your landscaping, as well as attract birds that do not visit your feeders (such as robins and warblers).
Winter Notes: Remember birds like a water source during the winter as well, so clean and refill your birdbath during freezing temperatures. You can add hot water or use a commercial bird bath heater to help prevent freezing. (Note: ceramic bird baths can crack if the water in the basin is allowed to freeze)
- Shallow, gently sloped sides. A center depth of 2-3″ (small songbirds prefer 1- 1.5″ depth). A ledge to perch on, and nearby perches for preening. You can use a small rock pile to help birds access the water if the edge of your bird bath is too steep.
- Location: Near shrubbery or other shelter but not right up against it. Birds need to find the bird bath by sight, so we recommend the bird bath be out in the open to help them locate it.
- Noise: The sound of moving water helps attract birds, can be dripping, running or a light mist.
- Cleaning: Clean with a hose regularly (daily in hot weather) and scrub occasionally.