Tell me about your experiences with Bird Baths.

I guess the drought is really hurting the birds. The last two days I had quite a few gather around my sprinkler. Poor things. We haven’t had a rain here in three weeks and that only lasted a few minutes.

I’m thinking about picking up a bird bath. Can people here share their experiences?

  1. Do they attract birds?
  2. How often should the water be dumped and changed? I don’t want to breed mosquitoes.
  3. Is the standard pedestal with basin what I need? No circulator pump?
  4. location? Shaded area or sunny spot?

Is it worth the trouble of keeping fresh water in the basin? Will it help the birds?

Should I set up a feeder too?

heres one that I like

IANA zoologist or ornithologist. My advice:

Put it in the shade, because it’s a really freakin’ hot summer. Less exposure to the sun means less evaporation and cooler water, meaning happier birds.

They don’t need fresh water every day. Take a look at the bath once every couple of days to make sure it isn’t empty, though (more often if it’s hotter). Changing the water once a week would probably be more than enough in cooler weather… but, in current conditions, you’ll likely need to add water quite often between evaporation and the birds using it. Just use common sense. If the water looks dirty, dump it out and refill. It’s not a high-maintenance thing at all.

I think a pump is overkill, but if you can afford it I’m sure the birds would appreciate it (this would also prevent mosquitoes from reproducing in it, since they need standing water).

Put up a feeder if you want, but be prepared for other animals to try and eat from it (or to eat the birds). So, don’t put it near enough to a tree that a squirrel can jump onto it. You would be wise to undertake cat- and squirrel-repelling measures. Google is your friend. And here is an FAQ that might help you in choosing a birdbath.

Don’t get one which is too deep-they might be able to get a sip from it, but if it is too deep they won’t be able to actually use it as a bath.

Good point about the depth.

I’m thinking more utility and function over decorative.

I like this deck, clamp mounted one. Only 2 inches deep. I could fill it when I’m watering my flowerpots on the deck.

Also this 3 inch deep one thats only 11 inches tall. I have phloxes planted along the front of my deck. They are about three ft tall. This would look nice next to them. I could still lean over the railing and add water without walking out in the yard.

We put a rock in our birdbath for birds that don’t want to get their feet wet and for butterflies. You should change the water fairly often since birds are, well, bathing in it, and it can get pretty putrid. Birds also have no scruples about crapping wherever they happen to be. If the bowl is shallow enough, you can just use a hose with a sprayer on it and shoot any debris or old water out the opposite side of the bowl by spraying at a low angle. You should also give it a good scrub with a vinegar solution every month or so.

Will it help the birds? Depends on the environment, I guess. If there aren’t a lot of natural water sources nearby, then I’d say it would definitely help them, especially in the kind of heat we’ve had in the States recently. If there are a lot of rivers or lakes nearby, they probably don’t need it as much but might appreciate having somewhere more convenient to stop and drink or bathe.

The FAQ I linked mentioned graded depth pools. They have a shallow edge with a deeper center (like wading from the shallows to the deep end). This is probably the best way to accommodate more species.

there are some nifty accessories that will keep the mosquitoes away.

the squirrels really enjoy those feeders that fling them off. an amusement ride for squirrels and a feeder for birds.

I’ve been looking on Amazon for a bird bath like that with the shallow and deeper ends. No luck so far.

I could put a nice rock in the middle like a poster above mentioned. That would do the same thing.

Get a nice looking bird bath. You will have to look at it most every day. You can put clean stones on one side to take care of the depth without going to extra expense. Check the water every day. You don’t need to change it just add to it and let the water flow over the top. A shady area would be good. This time of year a feeder should not be needed unless you just want to attract birds.

Our birdbath must be too shallow for bathing because the birds (and a squirrel) are drinking from it, from the sides, but there’s no bathing. We put fresh water in it at least daily. (I had no idea squirrels jumped that high.)

The things can be dangerous though, especially the heavy concrete ones, where the top sits on a base. A friend came home to find a raccoon crushed under hers – the top had slipped off, probably when the little devil tried to get a drink.

I used to look down from my workplace on to the flat roof of a lower building. Rain water collected in a corner of the roof and lots of birds took baths there. If you have such a roof nearby, that might lure your birds away.

Mosquitos take about 7 days to breed in standing water. Flushing and refilling with clean water every day or two will not cause a problem for mosquitos. Keep it in the shade, and put it a out of the direct path that the birds will be flying to get to the feeders…(the discarded seed effect!). My husband was shocked that the woodpeckers actually drink…Ummm…they need water too! Your bird friends will thank you!! :slight_smile:

That’s what I did in mine when I had my house. Found a rock along side the house where one side was flat and the other side had a flat bit and a fairly well rounded bit. Put flat side down so it was steady which left two levels for the birds to stand on the tops side.

Spray it out every couple of days. The old thumb over the garden hose trick gives enough pressure to push out the old water and clean off most of the crap. Then fill it back up.

When it got really grungy and thickly coated with algae, I’d pour a bunch of bleach into it while I did yardwork and filled the bird feeder, etc (so the birds aren’t landing on it because I’m right there) and left it for about an hour. Scrub with large brush, dump it out, spray well and refill. The bleachy water actually made the grass around the birdbath grow really well when it had been kinda dead before that.

You definitely want to keep it in the shade. A small amount of shallow water left in the direct broiling sun gets got enough to brew tea :eek: remarkably quickly if you’re getting unseasonable heat.

It might take a while for birds to start using it. Birds expect water to be at ground level, not on a pedestal or in a pan on a deck railing. Once one finds it, others will likely join in.

Duncraft is a good company for bird products. Their Squirrel Buster Plus is the best selling bird feeder around. Droll Yankees is another high quality bird feeder company. If you live in an area with squirrels, you must take measures against them or they will empty the bird feeder quickly – and if it is made of plastic, they are likely to destroy it in the process.

The birds will love your bath more if there is a close by shrub (ideal) or tree. Ours is right beside a cedar tree, and on hot days we will have ten or more birds perched in the tree, waiting their ‘turn’ or drying out after a good splash.

Really fun to watch – and you WILL discover that a pecking order exists, pretty much based on size, for who gets to chase who out of the bath.

Except for chickadees: they dart in and out almost instantly, too fast for the blue jays or robins to have a say.

Ours serves also as a tureen for the crows, who love to come and get dunk their found kibble to moisten it. Usually bread and such, but they’ve also left, like, grilled chicken breasts and bones in there, ugh.

My old concrete birdbath has been immensely popular this summer. Lots of creatures use it as a water source, everything from chipmunks to bumble bees. And birds, of course. I add fresh water daily, but only change the water once a week or so. I made the mistake of power washing the basin a couple of years ago. Leaked like a sieve after that. It’s finally accumulating enough gunk in the pores to hold water decently again.

highrollinwooded mentioned woodpeckers, we have a juvenile that sneaks hummingbird juice. :slight_smile:

The birds have been voracious at my feeders this dry summer. I don’t have a birdbath, but I put a shallow feed pan with water out with my water troughs for the horses. I can’t tell if they’re using it or not. Maybe I should put a pan of water in the shrubs near the feeders.

I had a beautiful indigo bunting at the feeders this morning.


I’ve got a shallow clay (pottery type) birdbath and it’s very popular with robins, crows, finches, blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, etc. …

I change the water at least every day and sometimes up to 3 times per day! They go through a lot of water splashing around in there, plus it evaporates in hot weather.

The top was sold separately from the base and sits on top without being attached, so the top often ends up skewed on an angle… annoying. But it’s got a rim for the birds to sit on & drink without having to bathe, which attracts a lot of the smaller birds.