In the summer, when food supplies are abundant, what birds need most is fresh, safe-to-access water for drinking and bathing. Traditional birdbaths look good in the garden, but are not necessarily the birds’ first choice. In natural settings, birds drink and bathe in puddles and in shallow areas of ponds, streams and creeks.
Providing a More Natural Water Habitat
- Avoid birdbaths with a glazed basin. The glaze is too slippery for the birds.
- Containers should be shallow: 1/2 – 2 inches deep
- Place the container on the ground—mimicking natural puddles
- Keep the container a safe distance from shrubs and other vegetation that may conceal prey—such as the neighbor’s cat.
- If possible, place the container in the shade to keep the water cooler on hot days.
- Replace the water daily.
Never use bleach, soap or detergents to clean the birdbath. A few swipes with a stiff brush each day and clean water will keep the container free of algae and mold.