Enhancing bird gardens with bird baths has a long-standing tradition. Setting out a water bath in a yard to serve as a lawn ornament is a centuries old practice.
A bathing venue for wild birds serves not only for aesthetic enrichment to a yard, but adds great entertainment value too.
In the last few decades interest in attracting backyard birds as a hobby has blossomed. Many people have become aware of the pleasures derived from this wonderful hobby.
It is being discovered that a place for wild birds to bathe serves as an advertisement, announcing that birds of all species are welcome to take a “dip” or a drink.
But a bird bath also provides a basic need for the wild birds too and that is water to drink to sustain their lives.
Wild birds also need water for bathing to wash off dirt and dust that may accumulate on their feathers and to rid themselves of parasites.
Bird baths are like a magnet to wild birds.
They just cannot resist bathing.
Add the sound of water to your bath and it will act like an advertisement in the neighbourhood newspaper.
The sounds of happy bathers will attract even more curious birds. A place to bathe will draw wild birds to your backyard faster than a feeder.
So if you are just starting out as a new backyard bird watcher, put out a bath and attract wild birds faster.
I have always looked for easy to clean surfaces. As well, in my experience, darker colours or green and blue giving the effect of water found in nature, attract birds better than solid light colours.
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.
Be 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.
There are many reasons why wild birds need water. Some reasons are obvious and others are not:
Different bird species bathe with different styles:
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!
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.
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!