Birdbath Basics: Installation and Maintenance
A garden just isn’t quite the same without a birdbath or two. Well maintained birdbaths placed in inviting locations for wildlife entice a plethora of native birds and other thirsty woodland creatures to garden areas, providing endless hours of quiet entertainment and enjoyment as well as allowing for plenty of photo opportunities and observations worthy of recording in bird watching notebooks. Read on for helpful birdbath tips to keep your garden or backyard in tip top shape for our fine feathered friends.
1. Choose a location near trees and woods or areas that are known nesting locations and/or reliable food sources for birds, such as close to berry trees, suet feeders, thickets and bird feeders.
2. Do not place the birdbath in an area that gets full, hot sun as the water will become too warm to cool the birds off and it may evaporate altogether.
3. Choose a Bird bath that is medium to large in size and at least 4 inches deep so that there is plenty of water for a few birds to splash in together (communal bathing is something many species of birds prefer to do, and it is fun to watch) medium and large bird baths allow for evaporation and spills throughout the day too.
4. Change the birdbath water daily. Birds are known to frequently use birdbaths as toilet as well.
5. Clean your birdbath at least once a week, more if needed. A simple wash out and refill from the garden hose is usually sufficient. If further cleaning is necessary, empty the dirty water and fill the bath basin with clean water from a hose or rain barrel. Add 1tsp. of household bleach to the water. Let the bleach sit for at least 5 minutes and then scrub with an old toothbrush brush before rinsing thoroughly and refilling.
*IMPORTANT NOTE* Do not leave the birdbath unattended while the bleach is sitting-bleach in the water is toxic and even deadly to birds and other animals!
6. At the end of the season, before it freezes, move terracotta or concrete birdbaths out of the elements and into a storage shed, garage or basement for the winter to avoid cracks and breaks- unless you plan to purchase a winter bird bath heating device that will keep the water in the bath free flowing for birds and other wildlife species to drink when needed. Such devices may be purchased at garden centers or home improvement stores nationwide.