Arguably more important than providing food for our garden birds is ensuring they have access to fresh, clean water for bathing and drinking.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that their need for water is met elsewhere, particularly if you live near a river or lake, but these large bodies of water don't always suit smaller birds.
Providing a bird bath is a great way to attract birds into your garden. If you have a water feature or running water, they will thank you all the more!
What type of water is safe for birds?
We are often asked whether tap water is safe for birds. The short answer is yes - generally speaking, if your tap water can be consumed by humans, it can be used in a bird bath. However, if you're still not sure, bottled spring water or filtered tap water will work too.
Birds are attracted to the sound of running water. One of the added benefits of running water is that the water is kept clean and algae-free for longer. If you can't get out to clean your bird bath as often as you think you should, running water is the safest option for your garden birds.
Where should I put my bird bath?
Positioning is important. Birds require nearby bushes or trees to provide cover from predators (such as sparrowhawks or cats) if they get alarmed, yet should still have high visibility when actually bathing, as they are likely to be excited and pre-occupied and therefore much more vulnerable. Bushes and trees also provide perches for preening once they have finished bathing.
To prevent cats using the cover to attack bathing birds, you can place a thick layer of thorny vegetation clippings beneath the bushes. A good idea when placing a new bird bath is to move it around the garden to find the most suitable site - the population of birds using it should soon provide the answer!
How deep should the bird bath water be?
Your bird bath should have stepped access or gently sloping sides so that birds can safely enter and exit the shallow water - 1 to 4 inches depth is ideal. The surface should be slightly rough for birds' little claws to grip on to.
Make sure that the bird bath is easy to clean, and to refill - especially once a flock of starlings have visited, they love to bathe vigorously and can use up a lot of water!
When should I provide water for birds?
Of course, in the dry summer months a source of water is crucially important for the birds, but consider them year-round. In Winter their water sources may be frozen over (especially early in the morning which is a favourite time for bird activity) and you may need to gently defrost your bird bath.
A clever trick is to leave a ping-pong ball in the water - the gentle movement should prevent the water from freezing over.
We stock a large range of attractive and practical bird baths - have a look and see which ones would suit your garden!
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And if a bird bath doesn't suit you, why not consider this hanging water drinker, only £5.50!
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