A birdbath in the yard will attract many different types of birds. You can provide a healthy safe environment for birds by avoiding common birdbath problems.
Dirty Water in the Garden Birdbath
Birds will not use a birdbath that is dirty. Stagnant water in the basin will cause mold, algae, mosquitoes and bacteria to grow. Feathers, droppings and leaves can accumulate in the outdoor birdbath. Change the water daily in warm months to reduce filth and algae.
Birdbaths should be regularly cleaned—especially if there is buildup of mold and algae—to protect the birds against diseases. Make a solution of ¾ cup bleach with one gallon of water in a bucket. Empty the birdbath water, remove any debris and spray with garden hose to loosen gunk. Fill the basin with your bleach mixture and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Then pour out the bleach solution and scrub the area with a brush. Rinse with clean water from the garden hose and allow to dry before you refill with clean water.
Be very careful when using bleach to clean a birdbath. Always use the correct amount of diluted bleach and be sure to thoroughly rinse the basin as bleach residue can be harmful to birds. If you wish to make a nontoxic solution, just substitute white vinegar as the cleaning agent.
Outdoor Birdbath Location
It may take a while for birds to start using a new bath. They are cautious creatures and will take time to observe the area before feeling comfortable. Place your birdbath near high shrubs or low-hanging tree branches. Birds need a place to escape to in case of a predator.
Keep the birdbath away from low bushes, underbrush or any objects where neighborhood cats can hide. Don’t be tempted to put your bath out in a clear opening where hawks and bigger birds can see it.
Birdbath Surface and Depth
Birds dislike slippery surfaces, so choose a model with a rough surface, like concrete or stone. There are also new resin birdbaths made with textured surfaces.
A large lip area is ideal for birds to perch. Birdbaths should not be deeper than 3 inches in the center because small birds can drown. If you do have a birdbath with a deep middle, fill it only partway to keep the water shallow.