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What Should I Consider When Buying a Birdbath?

Article Details
  • Written By: Brendan McGuigan
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Birdbaths are an excellent way to attract birds to your property. When used in tandem with bird feeders and shelters, they create the perfect environment for birds to come and take up residence. Water is important to birds not only to remain hydrated (particularly during warmer months), but also to keep their feathers in good condition. Birdbaths have an advantage over bird feeders in attracting birds, in that they tend to attract a much wider range of beautiful song-birds, many of which eat fruits and insects, and therefore have little interest in a seed feeder.

When buying a birdbath, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you provide the ideal situation for the birds you are trying to attract. The primary concerns are size, heat, texture, and height.

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The size of your birdbath will determine the size of birds that can use it, as well as the number of birds that can comfortably splash in it at any given time. Birdbaths can be up to four feet in diameter (120cm), providing a splashing pool for whole groups of birds. The depth of the pool is a very important, and often overlooked, factor in attracting bird types. Most song birds will not settle in a pool more than two inches (5cm) deep, as they feel uncomfortable in water that rises higher than their midsection. Therefore, if you are hoping to attract a range of songbirds, try to find a basin no deeper than three or four inches (8-10cm).

Heated birdbaths are becoming more common and affordable, and in colder climates will ensure that your birdbath quickly becomes one of the most popular spots for birds of all types. In the cold winter months it is crucial that birds have a place to keep their feathers clean. To protect themselves from the cold, most birds fluff up their feathers to create small insulating air pockets, and the efficiency of their fluffing is directly related to how little debris is built up.

Many birdbaths sold today have slick interior surfaces. While this may look nice, most birds find it very difficult to keep their footing on such surfaces, and as a result are less likely to bathe in the water you have provided. If you can't find an ideal birdbath with a rough interior surface, you may want to use sandpaper to create more texture, or fill the bottom of the birdbath with pebbles and small stones; this may also be a good way to make a deep birdbath more accessible.

Finally, you want a birdbath which remains elevated enough that thirsty mammals won't be polluting or drinking all of the water, and one which keeps the birds at a safe height from predators. In most areas dogs, raccoons, and deer are the largest animals one need worry about, though in some places bears may also be a concern. Placing the birdbath on top of a pedestal — either by using a single-piece birdbath which includes a pedestal, or by attaching your basin to the top of a pillar of some sort — is one way to address the height concern. You may also wish to suspend your birdbath from a tree or eaves of the house.

Ultimately, no matter what you choose, you will undoubtedly receive some winged visitors to your new installation. By providing the ideal environment, however, you help to ensure that the guests you get consist of a wide range of species and provide for endless excitement upon arrival.

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