Birds often struggle through our cold winters in the UK and the USA. I guess that is why some of them migrate. However in the early spring they will be hatching and fledging so they need access to water and the gardener’s answer is a bird bath and a pond.
Where to Locate Your bird Bath
• Birds will use a bird bath if they feel safe and have an escape route into cover.
• Locate the bath near suitable hedges or trees
• Make it hard for cats to lurk near the bath using vegetation as cover
• Place the birdbath where the birds can see the area around it and where there are no hiding places for predators
• Place away from direct sun as this prevents algae growth in the bath.
What Features are Needed
• A shallow bath is adequate and a deep bath dangerous. Birds can drown so cover deep water or bridge the water with a plank or similar.
• The birds need a place to stand and a perch or twig may help.
• Bird baths on a pedestal are most popular.
• A small diameter bath allows birds to see over the edge and be prepared for danger.
Other Tips for Bird Baths
• Ensure good hygiene by cleaning out every week. Dirty water can spread disease.
• Ensure water during frosty times – this is when birds need it most.
• Nature provides bird baths in ponds and puddles. They are not accessible in freezing weather so like your fish pond it is worth keeping a space ice free.
Design of Bird Baths
- A good bird bath has a sturdy construction that will not wobble or fall.
- The bath should be accessible so it is easy to fill and clean.
- Birds appreciate shallow sloping sides with a shallow approach to water.
- To allow different species to bathe the water should be 1-4 inches deep.
- Make sure the surface of the bath is rough so birds can grip it with their claws, and not slip.
- The vigorous bathing of a flock of starlings can use up a lot of water, so make sure your bird bath is big enough!
- Whilst you are in DIY mode to help your birds why not add some more feeders and nest boxes.
RSPB advice on Bird Baths
- The simplest bird bath is a plant saucer with textured finish and a stone in the middle You could set several of these around your garden., but is light enough to make it easy to clean and refill.
- You could use a dustbin lid sunk into the ground,or supported on stones or posts. If the lid is shiny or slippery, a thin layer of gravel on the bottom (this makes it more difficult to clean though).
- A shallow stone in the middle will help birds get to the water in comfort.
• Bird Baths from Amazon