Tips on Using Water To Attract More Birds to Your Backyard
There is no better way to get birds flocking to your yard than a good source of freshwater. A bird's need for water through every season is so strong that even species that you would never expect to see will be attracted to a strategically placed water source. And birds are always on the lookout for a dependable water source; they are constantly listening for the sounds of moving water. Having a birdbath is an advantage to anyone who enjoys observing nature, particularly bird behavior.
The most natural spot for a bath is close to the ground, but water at higher levels not only appeals to some species, it reduces the bird's exposure to cat attacks. Soaking wet birds are no match for feline agility. Putting a birdbath near trees improves security against raptors. Plus, tree branches are an easy perch from which to preen in safety.
When purchasing a bird bath, look for one that is only 1" deep with gradual sloping sides or a centre raised area that birds can hop to. This is the perfect depth for small birds to bath, any deeper may result in casualties from drowning. If your bath is deeper, place objects inside the bowl to create shallower "pools" for the smaller birds and leave the deeper areas for large birds like robins and jays to enjoy.
Locate your bath in a shady part of your yard. This will keep the water at a cooler, more refreshing temperature in hot weather. To get birds accustomed to the bath, try placing a feeder within five feet of the it. Birds will notice the water as they go to the feeder. Birdbath water should be changed every few days to insure a fresh, clear supply. To prevent algae buildup, you can add a non-toxic enzyme to the water and use a stiff brush when cleaning.
You can choose from a variety of materials and colours for your bird baths, such as concrete, metal, ceramic, or plastic. All work well, it just depends on your personal taste and your yard. If a large bath will not fit into your lifestyle, you can also get deck baths, hanging bird baths, baths that can be either screwed or clamped onto your railing, or other smaller watering devices.
Glass Hanging Bird Baths
Erva Hanging Bird Bath(left) and Holscher Hanging Bath (bath tray included)
The metal bird baths by Innov feature classic lines, sturdy cast iron bases that prevent tipping, and shallow bowls to appeal to smaller birds. They are light weight and easy to move around your yard. Unlike concrete baths, these ones are screwed together, preventing mischievous raccoons from knocking the basin off and breaking it.
Innova Classic Bath (left), Innova Reflexion Bath (right)
Innova Sunflower Bath (left), Innova Vintage Tuscany (right)
You can also get bird baths that are on a stake or low ground baths that are perfect for a deck or small area.
Erva Stake Bath (left), Erva Ground Bath (right)
Erva Clamp Bath
Do these things and your birds will "flock" to your community pool!
Add Motion To Water To Attract More Birds
Motion on the water's surface or the noise of falling water is like a magnet for birds. Drippers, misters, or small pump-driven fountains that keep the water moving have the added benefit of preventing mosquito eggs from hatching.
Hummingbirds love to zip through the "mist" created by a mister. Besides hummers, you can also attract warblers, finches, chickadees, sparrows and many other birds to your bath for a refreshing dip. You may be lucky and have your bath turn into a community pool; watching a flock of bush tits or sparrows taking a bath at the same time makes for a great memory.
The water wiggler is a great way to get water moving in any bath and uses 2 "D" batteries. Most other misters and drippers need to be hooked up to an outside water source and some have a regulator so you can control how fast your water drips.
Click on the link below to see how much birds love moving water!
Water In Winter
What's a sure way to attract birds to your feeders? Offer water...especially in the winter! About 70% of a bird's non-fat body tissue is water that needs to be maintained to avoid dehydration. Birds find some water in natural food sources, like berries, insects, and even snow, but when those supplies dwindle, the water that YOU supply is even more vital!
Open water in freezing weather will attract as many birds as a well-stocked feeder! Birds use water to help keep themselves warmer in winter. By cleaning their feathers and grooming them with natural oils, our feathered friends are able to help insulate their bodies from the cold.
You can keep water thawed with a submersible heater placed in the water....it's economical and safe, as long as you use a high-quality, outdoor extension cord to plug the heater into an electrical source. You can also use bird baths that have built-in heating elements in the base of the bath. These are available in pedestal, ground or deck-mount models.