There are several things you can do to encourage birds to come and have a drink at your birdbath! To have those feathered friends flocking, you should...
Ensure the water isn’t too deep - the very center of the bath, its deepest point, should have no more than around two inches of water
Pop it in the shade - this will entice the birds to come by and then stay, cooling off away from the heat of the sun.
Offer a “perch” - by positioning a stick nearby to the birdbath, you’ll offer a clear place to land, therefore making your birdbath more attractive to birds that are sensitive and easily spooked, as well as providing a place to preen those feathers after a thorough wash
Position it close to the floor - so as to mimic a natural water source, so birds feel safe swooping down and having a sip!
Avoid any frozen water - particularly in the colder months, you should regularly swap out your water, and can even pick up a “heater” that keeps the temperature at the same level for the entire year
Keep it neat and tidy! - just like you wouldn’t want to freshen up in a dirty bathroom, birds will avoid your bath if it becomes full up with
Add some (clean) pebbles to the bottom - this will give the birds something to stand on - other than the rim - whilst they use the bath
Stick to plastic over concrete - whilst the stone variety are more attractive, they are also usually too deep, as well as being hard to maintain and easily cracked if they freeze up
What color attracts birds to a birdbath?
That depends! Any bright one is good, because birds are attracted visually to loud, strong colors, as they usually indicate either plants and shelter, possible sources for nest materials, food, and opportunities for mating, amongst other things.
Depending on the color you opt for, you’ll attract different species.
Blue birdbaths tend to attract, funnily enough, bluebirds, as well as jays, whilst the neutral earth-toned baths are more likely to attract birds that are easily frightened.
Hummingbirds are attracted to just about anything, particularly oranges, reds and pinks, which will also bring in goldfinches and warblers, as well as orioles.
Staying towards natural greens and browns brings ground feeders like doves and thrushes.
It’s worth noting that as long as birds can easily spot the water, it’s likely they’ll come regardless of what color it is. If they’re hot and bothered, thirsty or dirty, it won’t matter what shape, size, or style you’ve got!
Does running water attract birds?
It sure does! Not only are you making your birdbath look like a natural water source that moves, such as a river or lake, but moving water is also great at catching the attention of birds, even those that are far above your garden.
Glinting and sparkling in the sunlight, adding a dripper, mister or fountain element to your birdbath is a surefire way to increase the number of birds that visit.
Some of these are also designed with integrated filters to clean off the surface water, too.
Likewise, not only will you encourage your feathered friends to visit, but you’ll also detract attention from winged insects, specifically mosquitos, who might have tried to use your birdbath as a place to reproduce and make some babies.
Unfortunately, only still water makes a good spot for bugs to hook up, so that’s even more reason to get a fancy attachment for the bath.
Plus, it really adds some class to any garden, as well as the soothing sound of running water in the background.
Where should I place a birdbath in my garden?
There are a couple of things to consider when deciding the best place for your birdbath:
- Make sure that birds can see it! You’re not going to have any visitors if it stays tucked in a corner, and you won’t get the joy of watching them come for a drink or a bath if the whole thing is hidden away
- Keep it towards, but not entirely, in the shade, as this helps in offering some respite so your bird buddies can hide from the hot sun and also prevents the water from evaporating after exposure to direct sunlight
- Check that the ground you’re placing the bath on is level and secure, so there’s no possibility it could be tipped, knocked over or easily spilled, as well as keeping the depth level
- Position the bath somewhere you can easily see it from the house, so you can keep an eye on whether it needs cleaning or refilling, though avoid putting it right by a window or glass door as birds have a tendency to scare easily, especially by their own reflection
- Avoid areas where children or animals play or could possibly knock it over when moving through the garden, though this is not always possible in small spaces, so you’ll just have to be careful if your garden is limited
- Ensure it is close enough to other plants or trees that birds can flee if they feel threatened and want to hide, but not so close that potential predators like cats could hide in any thick shrubs or bushes and wait to pounce
- Steer clear of placing directly underneath trees or feeders, as this can cause the bath to become full of dirt, dust, and debris that very quickly encourages the breeding of mold and bacteria, which are potentially fatal to birds
- Size-wise, if your bath is small and light, you need to make sure it won’t be knocked over by strong winds, whereas a large and heavy bath could cause damage to soft soil by sinking in and crushing nearby flora and fauna
- Consider your source of water: the easier it is for you to fill your bath with a hose or outdoor tap, the nicer it will look and the less effort you’ll have to make to keep it full