Water has been called the "magic attractant." The addition of water to your backyard will probably do more than anything else to attract more birds and more different species. You will also be helping the birds. Songbirds need a reliable supply of water for both drinking and bathing. Their feathers must be clean for the birds to stay warm and healthy.

For maximum effectiveness in attracting more birds add the element of sound to your water source. The sound of dripping or running water will really help in your efforts to attract more birds.

The use of drippers, either commercial or homemade, is a good way to attract more birds without using too much water. Misters can help birds stay cool on hot days. Hummingbirds and other small species like to leaf bathe. Use a mister to wet a small area in a tree or shrub to attract these smaller birds.


Leaf misters can be used to support smaller species that prefer to leaf bathe.
Place the mister over your birdbath and the sound of the water dripping into the bird from the leaves bath will help you attract more birds.

Q. How deep should my birdbath be?
A. Birdbaths should not exceed a depth of 3-4 inches at most if they are going to be useful for drinking and bathing. You can build up a deeper bath with gravel, stones or flagstone. Creating an area that slows from very shallow to a few inches is the best approach.

Q. Where should I locate my birdbath?
A. Your bath can be located almost anywhere in your yard that is appropriate for you, the style of bath and the time you have available. The birds will prefer an open area so they can watch for danger but with nearby cover. If your bath does not have a circulating water supply you will want to place it in a location with easy access for cleaning and refilling.


In / On ground baths approximate a natural setting and location of the water.
They are very successful in attracting birds.

Q. How often should I clean my birdbath? What can I use to clean my birdbath?
a. How often depends on the amount of usage it gets. If you do not have a filter and re-circulation system then probably no more than once a week is a good idea. Replacing the water once a week, or more often if needed, will keep the water fresh and eliminate the possibility of mosquitoes developing in your birdbath.

If you have problems with algae growth the weekly cleaning should help control the situation or you can use one of several commercial products for this purpose.

If you need to give your bath a good cleaning a popular choice is a 10% bleach and water solution. Be sure to rinse the bath completely after using the bleach solution.

Q. Should I offer water in winter?
A. YES! Several days of below freezing weather can cause severe stress on many species. A variety of heaters can be purchased commercially to keep the water in your birdbath from freezing. Make sure the heater has a thermostat to control the temperature of the water and the electric bill. Most heaters will cost a minimum amount to operate as they will only be needed when the temperature goes below freezing.

There are also several birdbaths with heaters built-in and at least one manufacturer produces a solar-heated watering station.

 


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