Water is super important for birds, especially in areas with hot summers and low rainfall amounts (PEI is getting to this very condition over the last several years). Fresh, clean birdbaths are a valuable asset for any bird-friendly backyard, and will attract birds that won’t visit feeders or take over birdhouses. It IS vital; however, to have a birdbath that’s placed properly and taken care of.
What happens when birdbaths are improperly placed?
When placed under a tree, feeder or bush, they can quickly become filled with dirt and debris that can foster mold or bacteria growth that can cause disease. Bird baths too close to windows could result in collisions and injuries, and a bird bath that is accessible to predators puts birds in a very unsafe situation. Don’t worry though; it’s easy to find the right spot for your bath!
Where do I put my birdbath?
Every background is different, but use the following factors to decide where to place your birdbath for maximum use and minimal dirt!
- Size: The size and weight of the bath are critical when choosing placement. Use your judgment; a heavy concrete bath is hard to move and can sink into soil. A small, lightweight bath; however needs a bit of shelter to avoid being knocked over.
- Climate: Local climate and seasonal changes will influence the best place for a bath. In northern areas, a sunny spot may be the most beneficial so sunlight can help keep the water warmer on cool days and even help keep water liquid in winter.
- Stability: Bird baths should be placed in level, safe areas where they are not likely to tip, fall or spill easily. Keep the basin level to keep it stable and maximize water capacity. Use gravel or a patio stone underneath if necessary.
- Visibility: Birds are not going to use a birdbath they don’t see; make sure it’s visible to the backyard visitors! Choose a location that’s visible to you for your viewing pleasure as well.
- Cleanliness: This is tremendously important; keep your birdbath clean in order to avoid disease etc. Avoid putting baths under trees or shrubs, and keep them several feet away from birdfeeders.
- Water Source: The closer a bath is to a hose or spigot, the easier it will be to keep clean, fresh and full.
- Shelter: Birds are nervous, jittery creatures, and can be especially nervous when drinking or bathing; if they feel too exposed they will not use it. Position the bath near a bush or tree (but not underneath) where they can quickly escape if they feel threatened. However, don’t put it so close to a tree where predators can easily attack the bath.
All of these factors may be daunting, but do your best to find the best place possible for the birdbath; trust us, it’s worth the show!
Additional Tips for Placement:
- Place a bath in a garden or flowerbed where splashes and spills can help keep plants watered and conserve water use.
- Opt for partial or dappled shade to help regulate the water temperature.
- Keep the bath out of reach of pets and children, not only to keep the birds safe, but to prevent exposure to feces, bacteria, algae and other materials that may be dangerous.
- Use multiple bird baths in different locations to meet birds’ different needs for bathing and drinking and attract even more backyard species.
Above all, be patient. It may take awhile for birds to know your birdbath is there!