Bird Watcher's General Store

06/23/00 - A New Birdbath


Dear Bird Folks:

I want to get a new birdbath for my wife. Do you have any suggestions?"
-Wondering, Chatham

Hi Wondering:

How big is your wife? She might be more comfortable in a new hot tub, though that's up to you.

But seriously, most people like to buy birdbaths that are deep so they won't have to fill them as often. The birds, however, seem to like birdbaths that are fairly shallow. Try to imagine how small a finch or a chickadee is. A six inch deep bath is way too deep for those small birds to use. And remember, birds are drinking and bathing in the same water. Most people, except for my kids, would rather not do that. So it is importaant to keep the water fresh. A birdbath still has to be cleaned regularly, no matter how deep it is. The other thing is that many people seem to like painted or glazed birdbaths because they are easier to clean out. However, most birds seem to like a bath that is rough or that has some texture to it so they can grip it without slipping.

Animals love to knock over birdbaths. Because of this they tend to break, so you may want to just buy a top. Simply place the top on the ground, the birds are used to drinking on the ground (puddles, ponds, etc.) and they would probably rather come to a bath that's low. One more thing to keep in mind is that algae will form in your birdbath during hot weather. There isn't much that you can do about it, but try to scrub it out with a good stiff brush. Don't start going nuts by using all kinds of cleaners. The algae won't hurt the birds, but your cleaners might.

So when you are choosing a birdbath, pick one that is fairly shallow and rough on the inside. Remember to keep the water clean and fresh. Or better yet, get your wife that hot tub and share your cold glass of iced tea with the birds.


Artwork by Catherine Clark


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