Are your birds dirty? Do they need a birdbath? Joking aside, birds like baths. Feathers can trap all sorts of dust, dirt, and mold. Most birds molt (shed and grow new feathers) only twice a year and dirty or damaged feathers can affect their flight effectiveness. And there are loads of insects, mites, fleas, and other bugs that are looking for feathered homes.
So for some people, providing a bird bath is a way to help nature. Others just like to watch birds. Whatever your reason, a bird bath makes a great addition to just about any garden. Birds aren’t picky about the looks and design of their baths. They just want clean water, a place to perch, and a location that is safe.
People are pickier! We look for aesthetics and easy maintenance. Birdbaths come in all sorts of designs and materials. Pick one that suits your style with just a few requirements:
- Your bath needs to be anchored or heavy enough to stand up to winds, storms, and an occasional wild animal jumping up for a drink.
- The water needs to be shallow so that your birds can bathe. Only ducks and water birds want deep water. The deepest part shouldn’t be more than 2 inches with a taper up to the edges.
- Place it in the shade if possible, but separated from any potential hiding places for predators.
- And it needs to be easy to clean. The simplest method is a top that can be removed and tipped.
There are a couple more features that you can add if you want to get fancy. Birds love running or trickling water. It can be part of an elaborate fountain or an inexpensive solar pump. And birds need baths year around, so a heater is a great addition for the winter.
Keep your birdbathbath clean. Dirt accumulates quickly in the open and mosquitos will breed in any stagnant water. Change the water every two or three days. Just dumping and replacing the water will do. If you let it go too long and algae start to grow (green water); it might need a heavier cleaning. Scrub it out and use hot water. Don’t use any chemicals, detergents, or additives as birds may not like the residue and most aren’t healthy for them.
Keeping a birdbath clean takes just a few minutes two or three times a week, and the show that the birds will put on for you is well worth the trouble. A birdbath fits in well with the idea of an easy garden.