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Selecting A Birdbath

How to choose a bird bath your birds will love!

Birdbath PhotoThe best birdbaths are:

Shallow - A good birdbath is less than three inches deep at the center. It should be even shallower near the edge to allow a bird to ease its way in. Many birdbaths on the market today are too deep. If you already have a birdbath that is too deep, you can put rocks in it to raise the bottom, although this will make it a little harder to clean.

Drippy - The sound of falling and splashing water is a pure invitation to birds. It dramatically increases the number and variety of species that will visit your birdbath. For example, a hummingbird would never wade into a birdbath like other birds since they only bathe while flying. But they zip back and forth through the drips, timing their flights so that they can catch a drop of water on their backs on each pass.

There are several ways to create a drip for your birdbath. You can run a small hose so that a small trickle of water splashes into the pool or install a spray fountain specifically designed for birdbaths. Alternatively, you can hang a bucket with a 1/2-inch hole in the bottom with a piece of cloth stuffed through the hole as a wick over the birdbath. If you like a fancy birdbath, you can even purchase one that has a dripper already built in.

Rough bottomed - Birds don't like to lose their footing. They will hesitate to enter a birdbath with a slippery bottom. The best birdbaths are constructed of rough cement. If you already own a slick birdbath, you can apply the non-skid stickers like you buy to put in your own bathtub.

A birdbath should be located:

Not where cats or other predators can hide - Cats like to lie in wait in shrubbery or behind an object and then pounce on the birds after they get wet and are unable to fly very well. So place your birdbath at least five to ten feet or so from such hiding places. Allow the birds to see the cat coming.

With a ready escape route - The ideal place to put a birdbath is under a tree where some branches hang down within two or three feet of the bath. A wet bird can easily flutter the few feet up to the safety of the tree.

On a pedestal - A pedestal makes the birdhouse easy to see from inside your house. It also makes it easy to clean and provides extra safety from predators. If you prefer, you can choose a birdbath that is designed to hang from a tree.

Within easy reach of a water hose - Your birdbath should be easy to clean and refill. But don't place your birdbath near your birdfeeders because seeds and bird droppings will quickly cloud the water. Change the water often, or even daily during hot weather. Just dump it out or siphon it out with a hose. You can also keep a scrub brush handy along with your gardening tools so that you can brush out any algae and debris that may be in your birdbath.

In view from a window - Locate the birdbath where you can see it from inside your house, for example from your desk, living room, dining room, or kitchen sink.

Watching a bird enjoy a splash in clear, cool water is a marvelous sight to behold. If you carefully select a good birdbath and install it properly, you can have many years of enjoyment and relaxation with the birds!
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