Why Should You Add a Birdbath to Your Bird Garden?
A place for birds to bathe will also be a delight to those who have only been using bird feeders and bird houses to attract birds to their yards.
Many species of wild birds like Warblers, Tanagers and Flycatchers will rarely be seen in a garden with only bird feeders. But all birds need and love water.
So having a water bath will increase the variety and numbers of birds attracted to your bird garden and make it a garden of delight.
Just a note as well, about “bird bath feeders”. Bird baths will serve as a good platform feeder. This type of feeder offers a favourite eating style for some birds because it is open and allows the birds to see in all directions.
Wild birds need a good, safe source of water all year. This is not a surprise when one thinks about it, because all living things need food, shelter, safety and clean water to survive.
So it is important to keep it clean and filled with water no more than 2 inches deep.
aware that when it has been raining your bird bath will fill up with
water making it deeper and more difficult for small birds to use. Place a
few large stones in the water for small birds to stand on.
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Why Wild Birds Need Water
There are many reasons why wild birds need water. Some reasons are obvious and others are not:
They need it for drinking all year to keep them from dehydrating, and it is especially important in the hot summer months.
Wild birds need water to digest the food they eat.
Bathing is important for birds to keep clean and
to kill parasites.
Wild birds require water to groom their feathers. After all keeping
feathers in top condition is paramount to the well being of wild birds
for flight. They spend a great deal of time keeping them in pristine
It is obvious to anyone who is watching
birds bathe, that they appear to be enjoying this activity immensely.
“Frolicking” or “playing” seem to be the words often used to describe
birds in water.
Wild birds will also use this water for making mud to build their nests in the spring.
Some people believe bathing gives birds relief when they are molting.
Behaviour At Bird Baths
Different bird species bathe with different styles:
Some stand in the water and slowly begin testing the water by
dunking body parts in, one at a time. Then flap their wings to splash
themselves all over.
Some birds merely skip through the bath.
such as the Hummingbird like to skim over the water. But if a mister or
dripper is available then they can enjoy what they like best and that
is to swoop through the falling water. Hummingbirds are not the only ones who enjoy misters though; butterflies, dragonflies and other important bugs like to bath on the wing too!
Like human Mother’s and Father’s, parent birds like to “bath” their baby birds. Parent birds will bring their juveniles to a water bath. Watching a family of wild birds at your water bath is a special treat to witness for bird watchers.
Many species will also just simply drop in to have a quick drink and be off.
And as with all swimming “pools” there is a pecking order and line ups. Some are patient while they wait their turn and others resort to bullying!
Modify A Bird Bath To Attract Wild Birds Faster
Add sound and movement to your bird bath!
This will attract birds much faster to your bathing area and consequently to the other delights of your backyard.
Birds love the sound of water as it means a place to quench their thirst, a chance to clean up and get rid of parasites that inhabit the space under their feathers.
And not to mention how a dip in water can cool one off nicely on a hot day.
It will be an especially welcome respite after a long journey too.
You can accomplish adding both movement and sound to your existing bird bath by connecting a dripper, mister, "jiggler" or "bubbler".
A fountain will also provide the movement and sound of water needed to attract birds quickly.
Whichever method you decide to use keep in mind that the water level should never be deeper than about 2 inches or 5 centimetres.
Drippers, Misters, Jigglers, Bubblers & Solar Fountains for Attracting Wild Birds
They can be hung, free standing on a pedestal, flat on the ground or attached to a deck rail or fence.
It is also important to note that wild birds do prefer baths which are close to the ground.
Place your bath close to cover, about 6 to 10 feet from bushes or trees for the bathers to take refuge from predators if needed. The foliage used for cover will also provide a place for birds to perch while they wait their turn in the bath and a place to dry off their plumage after their bath. (Thorny bushes offer added protection, particularly helpful to prevent house cat attacks.)
If one bath seems to be over crowded, then add another, not too far away. Providing 2 or 3 will reduce wait times for the wild birds and give the bird watcher increased enjoyment.
Provide some distance between the bath and bird feeders for a more relaxed atmosphere in your bird garden. This will keep the bath water from being dirtied by bird seed and shells too.
If aerial predators are a problem then place your bath under cover such as a tree or canopy. Under a tree will cause the bath water to get dirty faster but may save the lives of the wild birds you are attracting to your yard.
If cats are a threat then put a fence made of chicken wire around the bathing area.
In the summer months keep your bath water in the shade if possible. This will help it not to over heat. A bird bath in the sun can be a hot bed of bacterial growth.
Drying Off After A Bath
Conversely in the winter, placing bird baths in the sun will assist the heater in keeping the water free of ice.
Bird Baths in a bird garden are like peanut butter and jelly (or jam). One is still good without the other but both are greatly enhanced when partnered together!
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More Info On Types of Bird Bathing Habits Below & In the Right Column
Dust Baths, sun bathing and "anting" may seem like odd practices to humans, but we actually practice activities for the very same purposes.
Cleaning Bird Baths on a regular schedule is very necessary for wild bird health and enjoyment.
Heated Bird Baths are a wonderful way to provide water for wild birds in winter in areas where the temperatures reach the freezing mark.