September 12th, 2014
Bird baths are a simple and attractive ornament on your list of bird-scaping efforts. Don't let your feathered friends stay dirty and thirsty, host a year-round bird bath in your backyard. Bird-watching is even more fun to watch when birds are bathing. Once birds find your bird bath and realize that it's a reliable and clean source of water, they'll return again and again. Almost all bird species will use your bird bath for either drinking or bathing. Bird baths are simple, fun, easy to maintain and will serve as the most attractive ornament in your bird kingdom. The styles range in functionality, durability, portability and aesthetic appeal. The construction materials range from concrete to plastic but may also be made from copper, aluminum, resin, ceramic and plaster.
Attracting birds to water is very easy. Basically, any container that will hold water will attract birds to the water that is contained in it. For the most part, birds will not locate your bird bath by their sense of smell because most birds do not have well-developed olfactory glands like humans, or the ability to sniff out things the way other animals can. Rather, they will most likely find your bird bath by sight and instinct. By sight because birds have good eye-sight, and by instinct because they are familiar with specific shapes that they have become very familiar with over many years of evolution. In other words, they are born with the ability to recognize certain shapes in nature, and your backyard, that are related to survival. Man-made objects are no exception, as bird baths, bird feeders and birdhouses are backyard items that they know are intended to help them.
Bird Bath Placement
Birds won't use a bath they can't see, so by simply placing your bird bath in an open area will attract birds looking for a free bath. And they are even more likely to use it if they see other birds enjoying it. You will enjoy watching birds splashing around if it's visible to you too. Choose a location that offers great views for bird-watching so that it's easily visible to birds, and you, in other parts of the yard.
Low and Shallow
There are a few other simple things to consider when placing your bird bath.
Providing traction to the bottom of the basin will allow steady footing for the birds as they flap their wings in the water. A slippery surface at the bottom will not make the bird feel confident, as they need traction to go through the motions of taking a bath. Cover any smooth metal, plastic or ceramic surface with pebbles or gravel.
Fresh water attracts more songbirds to your yard!
Whether it's a songbird or a noisy blackbird, you'll want to welcome them all! So make sure to add fresh water to the bird bath basin every day or two.
Using Solar Power
Solar powered bird baths are available and are designed to circulate water. There are no running costs so you don't have to worry about running up electricity bills. The water circulates from a pump that uses free energy harnessed from the sun. Just place the solar panel in the sun and watch your fountain flow. Then relax and enjoy birds in your yard.
Solar fountain style bird baths offer the same function, although often the water cascades down a series of tiers. Another nice aspect of cascading bird baths or fountains is the way they provide the soothing sound of moving water. In summer, mosquitoes will not be a problem either. The circulating water inhibits their reproduction, since mosquitoes need stagnant water to lay their eggs.
In winter, choose a year-round bird bath and make sure it is frost resistant for lasting durability. Some styles provide heated water and are equipped with a heating element which will keep water from freezing. They plug into outdoor outlets and are constructed with exterior grade electrical components. Winter birds will appreciate fresh warm water during freezing weather when survival is hardest.
Hanging Bird Baths
Another approach to bird baths are hanging bird baths. Some designs you will see are the typical bowl shape but other imaginative designs include folded hands, bird wings, leaf shape and others. They typically hang from three chains, which can interfere with your view of the birds and with the bird's wings as they dive in and take off. However, some companies have solved the problem and created a design enabling only one chain or rope to suspend the bird bath by a looping arm that is fastened to the base with a loophook at the top where the chain connects.
More traditional shapes concentrate on aesthetic appeal and don't include solar panels, electrical wires or water pumps,.. just a basic, attractive design. Some designs lean away from the conservative feel and include a complimented feature attached to the bath area itself combined with wildlife figures such as frogs, swans, peacocks, cats and others.
Some birds will not choose to live in a birdhouse. And not all birds will be attracted to bird feeder either. But when it comes to attracting a plethora of birds to your yard, a bird bath is a sure thing. Try dressing it up a bit with misters, drippers, bubblers, fountains, over-hangs, planters and water wigglers. Regardless of style, make your backyard an oasis for birds looking to cool off during the summer months.
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