Bird baths are a wonderful way to encourage birds to visit your yard, but there are five things you should know before buying a bird bath.

Depth

Some attractive bird baths are too deep in the middle for birds to enjoy. A depth of no more than four inches in the middle of the bowl, tapering up to just a centimeter or two, will give you the best chance to attract the greatest variety of birds.

Consider placing some river rocks in the bowl to give smaller birds a place to perch and dip their feet if they are uncomfortable with the bowl’s depth at the center.

Placement

Birds like shelter but also need protection from predators. A shaded spot near, but not among, trees and shrubs is best. When birds visit the bird bath, they’ll have a clear view of the surrounding area, which will make them feel more secure.

Putting a bird bath in direct sunlight encourages algae and bacteria growth, and the water may get too warm for birds to find relief. A spot with dappled sunlight, away from trees and fences but close enough to find shelter is ideal.

Birding_SS22_GLM_1080x1080_web

Refilling and Cleaning

Birds are lovely, but they can also be a little icky. One of the things you should know before you buy a bird bath is how to maintain it. Bird bath water gets dirty fast! You should be prepared to change the water every few days.

Prevent the build-up of algae and the spread of disease by cleaning your bird bath every week. All you need is a good pair of elbow-length rubber gloves, a soft microfiber cloth, and a solution of warm water and mild soap. Of course, your cleaning supply needs will vary depending on the material of your bird bath – for something like concrete that isn't as easily wiped clean as our metal basins, you may want a scrub brush. When you’re finished cleaning, be sure to rinse the basin thoroughly and refill it with fresh, clean water.

Material

Bird baths can be made using concrete, stone, plastic, ceramic, metal, or even glass. Your choice of material will depend on your taste, the style of your yard, and your desire to be able move the bird bath.

Concrete or stone bird baths are durable but very heavy and hard to move. Plastic bird baths are lightweight but might not be as attractive. Ceramic is a good compromise between weight and appearance, but is certainly more fragile than something like concrete.

Metal styles make fine garden bird baths, as they are lightweight, easy to clean, and attractive. They’re good for smaller garden areas, and most are not too heavy.

BB1033_2_

Climate

If you live in an area with cold winters, you’ll either have to empty your bird bath for the season or use a heater specifically made for the purpose of keeping the water in your bird bath from freezing. It will still be necessary to empty and clean the bird bath during these colder months.

If you decommission the bird bath for the winter, make sure it is completely empty, and clean it one more time before the snow flies. When spring comes, you can rinse it out, refill it, and start observing the migratory birds coming through for a bath or a drink!