Bird baths are an extremely important part of any birders back garden. If you want to have an impact on the birds in your garden then providing them with water is one of the best ways. Birds need water just as much as they need food. All birds need water, from the lovely robin to the humble dunnock. Adding water features, bird baths or just a small bowl can bring feathered friends to your patch.
Birds need water for two different reasons. To drink and to preen.
Just like us birds need water to survive, they need to drink water throughout the year and in particular water is hard to come by during the winter months (when water is frozen over) and in the summer (when it is all dried up!). But don’t just limit water to these times of year.
They also use water to preen themselves. Clearing away loose feathers, getting rid of dust particularly in the summer months, removing parasites and sometimes they just like to have a little play!
Birds also use water to cool themselves down, it can help to regulate their temperatures all year round.
Offering water in your backyard will attract more birds than just food sources, since birds that would not normally visit feeders can be tempted by water features.
Moving water makes a big difference to whether they choose your bath or not. Birds are attracted to the sound of splashes and sprinkling of water, but don’t worry it is not imperative that you have a full scale water park in the back garden. If you’d like to have a bit of movement though you could add a sprinkler or a dripper — these needn’t be a highly expensive addition.
Bird baths now come in all shapes and sizes. You can find them in a hanging style, on a pedestal, a bowl for the ground or you could even make one for yourself.
There are a few things to consider when choose a bird bath for your garden:
Size: Small bird baths are easy and convenient, but a larger model can accommodate a greater number of birds without causing territorial conflicts. You have to consider management though, a larger bath can be more challenging to move or clean. It will however hold more water but make sure you have enough gravel or it is shallow so that birds don’t drown.
Bird Comfort: The best baths are designed with birds in mind. A narrow lip is a more comfortable perch for small birds. An ideal bird bath will be 1–2 inches deep, and some models include both shallow and deep areas of the basin to accommodate different birds.
Height: The height of the bird bath is critical for which birds will readily drink from it. Smaller birds are comfortable at taller baths that give them a better field of view. Observe how your birds are using the area they feed from, do they use lower feeders or are they more comfortable at height?
Sometimes the best way to get the things you want is to create a bird bath yourself. Making them is pretty easier and needn’t cost a fortune, infact you can reuse bits and bobs from the garden to make them.
Our low cost bird bath
We put together a bird bath using a few things we had spare in the garden; an old bin lid, some tyres (we use them for growing veg) and stones.
We took 2 spare tyres of around equal size and stacked them on top of eachother. Depending on where you are putting your bath or who might be using it you could go between 2–4 tyres. We chose 2 (they are a fairly decent size) and our birds are pretty happy with it.
We then used the old bin lid, sitting it into the hole of our tyres, it sits quite comfortable and doesn’t rock about. I never measured it when I created this but if you’re pickng up tyres from a local garage you might want to take along you bin lid to see what size you need.
We then used simple garden gravel to create a comfortable space for the birds and placed a large rock (from our dry stone wall) into the middle.
Our bird bath also has a smaller bowl for Blue tits who enjoy a little bit of splashing in a small section of the bath. You could use old drain piping for this, they just like it to be a bit more enclosed!
The great thing about this bird bath is the lip of the bin lid, the little birds love sitting on it and drinking. Sometimes they sit around the edge on the tyres too just for a chill out. The bigger birds dive straight in, or stand on the rock in the middle!
There a lots of different bird baths you can create online — take a look at our Pinterest for some cool ideas.
Where to place your bird baths?
Location is important for your Garden Crowd. Like height, where you place the bird bath will make a difference to the birds that visit it. Siting of the bath is very important — birds will only use it if they feel safe. Birds get excited and pre-occupied about bathing, and tend to be more vulnerable than at other times.
Key things to think about when placing your bath:
- Make sure that birds have good visibility
- Make sure there are bushes or vegetation nearby that they can get to if they need to
- Don’t place it too close to where cats will be able to get to them
You can place it a different points in the garden and see where they birds like the most. They know what they like!